In an effort to stem the obesity epidemic, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing a ban on the sale of soft drinks larger than 16 ounces. The idea has yet to be voted on, but the people who will be deciding the measure, the New York City Board of Health, are all appointees of the mayor.
Furthermore, the city has already made it illegal for restaurants to prepare foods using trans fats. So it's likely the measure will pass.
Is that a good idea? The answer is the same as it is in so many questions America is grappling with these days: it depends on how you view the role of government. Does the government have the right to take away a person's freedom to choose if they don't make the right choice? Many would say yes, in some cases. So where do you draw the line?
There is no doubt that sodas are arguably the worst thing you can put in your body on a regular basis. They have been directly linked to obesity. The main ingredient in soda is high fructose corn syrup, which has been labeled by many health experts as the chief source of the obesity problem in our country.
Those experts say high fructose corn syrup is addicting, and as such, the consumer always wants more, never reaches a point of satisfaction, and craves other highly sweetened foods.
Sodas are just empty calories. That means they have no nutritional value whatsoever. They really are awful. People should not drink soda, especially the large ones.
But does that mean we should make them illegal?
According to research conducted by Yale University, people will eat or drink what is put in front of them. They will not only consume that item, but also the quantity of the item served. So the thinking is, if it's out there, people will consume it.
But again, does that mean the government should pass a law saying we can't have it?
And here's the really big question: where does it stop? Just think about doughnuts, candy bars, pork rinds, sugary cereals, the list goes on. Where do we draw the line?
Of course, if someone wants to drink more than 16 ounces they can just buy more of the smaller containers, so if a person wants the stuff badly enough, they'll get it.
There is no debating whether these large sodas are bad for your health. They're terrible. The debate then centers on whether people should educate themselves and, utilizing self-control, avoid soda voluntarily, or whether the government assumes a parental role and deprives its citizens of the right to choose because the government leaders believe citizens don't have the intelligence or self-discipline to make proper decisions on their own.