July 14, 2005


According to a recent study, 65% of Americans are overweight or obese. In response, a consumer advocacy group is lobbying to have warning labels put on soda because this group believes soda consumption is largely responsible for the thickening waists in this country. The average soda contains eight and a half teaspoons of sugar. So, yeah, if you are a person who drinks a lot of soda, it's probably not helping you stay thin. However, putting a warning label on soda is not going to solve the problem. What irritates me about this is that somehow it's not the individual's fault they are overweight, it's the soda industry's fault. I mean, give me a break. If you really, really believe soda is a healthy beverage, you're stupid and getting fat from drinking soda is probably the least of your problems. You're stupid if you think eating at McDonald's is healthy. You're stupid if you think eating a bowl of ice cream every night won't cause you to gain weight. It's about action and consequence. I don't buy soda specifically because it is an unhealthy drink. I have a water service that delivers bottled water (reverse osmosis, which I think is tastiest) and that is what my family largely drinks. Soda is kind of a treat for my daughter because she knows the only way she's getting it is if we happen to eat at a restaurant, which isn't often. Besides water, I buy 1% milk. I used to buy juice for my daughter, but she really prefers water so I don't even buy that anymore. And I only bought 100% fruit juice. None of this fake juice stuff. But water and milk is about it at my house now. If I throw a party, I'll buy a couple of liters of soda for that, but that's about it.

If these consumer advocacy groups are really concerned about overweight Americans, lobby employers to allow workers exercise time during the day. I'm sure letting employees have an hour to exercise during the day still wouldn't cost as much as is lost to absenteeism due to weight-related health problems. Lobby to make sure the food that goes into school lunch programs meet certain nutritional standards. Don't feed the kids french fries and pizza. Give them lean turkey sandwiches on whole grain bread with lettuce and tomatoes. But don't waste time trying to put warning labels on soda. That's just time and money poorly spent as far as I'm concerned.

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