Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mark Bittman: "Is Soda the New Tobacco?"

Mark Bittman wrote an article in Sunday’s New York Times asking if “soda is the new tobacco.” Should there be a special tax on soda, like there is on tobacco?

This question circles back to our discussion last week regarding personal responsibility. Do we need the government to help us make eating and food purchasing decisions?

Judging from the percentage of Americans who are overweight (about two-thirds of adults and one-third of children), the terrible food choices available to many of us and the amount of money spent on marketing by Big Food, I am a strong supporter of government intervention.

As we have become the prey of the multinationals, the costs to our physical and financial health have skyrocketed. It would be outlandish to think there isn’t a link between our exorbitant health care costs and the edible foodlike substances we are being fed.

Left to their own devices, the soda makers will continue their nefarious marketing, similar to tobacco’s incendiary schemes.

In Bittman's article, Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said:
“There are aspects of the food industry that are reminiscent of tobacco—the sowing of doubt where there’s no reasonable doubt, funding of front groups, use of so-called experts, claims that new products which are safer for consumers are available, and the claim that they are not marketing to children.”
I’ll further discuss governmental control tomorrow. In the meantime, what are your thoughts?

2 comments:

Zia said...

As a kid I wasn't permitted sodas. As an adult, I find their sweetness revolting and do not drink them by choice. My dentist preaches against sodas and sweetened drinks (here in Dallas that would be sweet tea). I do know people who drink an entire 12-pack of Dr. Pepper each day. Not all of them are obese. People tend to associate obesity with lack of self control as opposed to a type of addiction. I suppose it would make a more powerful argument to show a link between certain foods or ingredients and specific illnesses.

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