Not only is the chronic illness costing billions of dollars, but it’s a threat to the advancement of our country and national security. And of course, obese people often die earlier and live a lower quality of life. One study projects 42 percent of our population will be obese by 2030.
A large portion of the series focuses on sugary drink consumption, along with other unhealthy foods. The problem is not so much soda itself, but the amount of soda, or processed and deep-fried foods that people consume. We don’t need to eat that much, but drinking soda and juice is pointless — it’s empty calories, zero energy.
According to an article on CNN, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to ban 44-ounce sugary drinks in the city’s eateries. I know a lot of people think the government shouldn’t intervene on what its citizens eat, but it’s clear that we cannot solve this multi-pronged problem on our own, especially with food companies eager to continue cashing in by harming their consumers.
Our generation likely grew up drinking a little — or a lot — of soda. At my house, we drank it when we had pizza or Chinese takeout (nice combo, right?) My mom was careful not to allow us to ruin our teeth with soft drinks, but we still drank iced tea and juice, which have about as much sugar as soda. We should’ve been drinking water, all the time, no buts about it.
I stopped drinking soda when I was 18 years old when I realized I’d down two or three while working at my parents’ restaurant. I had no idea how many calories I was putting into my body. I switched to diet, but now, I don’t even trust that, after recent reports that it could still contribute to diabetes and cancer.
I made that decision on my own, along with many others, to improve my health, as I’m sure many people have. But a large portion of our population needs help and education about what’s causing obesity, and not everybody is going to seek that information. For a start, let’s cut gigantic portions at restaurants, especially sugary drinks. A 44-ounce pop equals 513 calories and 143 grams of sugar, 50 percent of a person’s daily carbohydrate intake. That’s just ridiculous.
Kudos to Bloomberg for taking a step forward rather than wallowing on depressing stats about rising obesity rates and heralding a dark future. Hopefully, other cities catch on.