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Aggressive Anti-Obesity Campaign Kicks Sodas to the Curb

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Aggressive Anti-Obesity Campaign Kicks Sodas to the Curb

New York City is no stranger to food controversies. Especially when these controversies are concerning (what is perceived as) government meddling in how and what people eat. There was the trans fat ban, then the proposed sodium ban, and before that there was the compulsory calorie confessions from chain restaurants throughout the city (note: all of these efforts have come during Mayor Bloomberg’s administration). Needless to say, these controversies are extremely contentious largely because New Yorkers (like most hot-blooded Americans these days) tend to dislike being told that their unhealthy and unsustainable diets are not such a good thing. The latest campaign to clean up the eating habits (or in this case, the drinking habits) of New Yorkers holds a different tactic, and will likely yield another brand of controversy altogether.

Mayor Bloomberg, along with Governor Patterson unveiled an ambitious initiative last week to exclude sugar-sweetened beverages, the largest single contributor to the obesity epidemic, from the list of allowable purchases through the nation’s food stamp program. This would effectively maintain the current government-funded food stamp benefits for NYC residents already receiving assistance, but the change would be that these recipients would no longer be able to purchase sugary-sweet sodas with these food stamps, as they were able to do once before.

While this may seem punishing, and somewhat arbitrary to some, there is good reason to bring the hammer down on the soda can with these perceived” fat taxes.” According to an NPR report on the subject, more than 1.7 million people in New York City receive food stamps. Data from the Agriculture Department, which administers the food assistance program, show that sugary drinks account for about 6 percent of food stamp use across the country. In New York City that would translate to $75 million or more of subsidized sugary drinks a year.

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

108 comments

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3:26PM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

So wrong! Since when is it OK to patronize the poor?

6:56PM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

L'ingresso per il resto della piumino Moncler 3% al 7% dei dati delle vendite ogni anno per la progettazione e lo sviluppo a partire dall'inizio del 1996. La proporzione è alto quanto l'input allo sviluppo di industrie high-tech. Ha una forte attività di sviluppo di resistenza DuoNian Piumini Moncler. Moncler rende un vantaggio unico. Aperto Moncler Giacche esportare in tutto il mondo. Le donne amano indossare l'abito in questo momento speciale, feste, matrimoni, ecc Quasi tutti i negozi si trovano tutti nel mondo di piumino Moncler. Ora, questi abiti possono anche acquistare on-line attraverso. Moncler Giubbotti vendita Il prezzo di questo tipo di materiale è differente in base al loro design e tessuti.

3:45AM PST on Nov 16, 2010

I like sodas but stay away as much as possible.

3:03PM PST on Nov 9, 2010

Obese people are the victims of bigotry and hatred by the left. Leftists are obsessed by fat. Mind your own business!

3:00PM PST on Nov 9, 2010

Lika S. Cut out the carbs. No crackers of any kind, grains, rice, potatoes, corn, pasta, grapes, very few legumes. Animal protein is your friend, and eat lots of veggies. Fruits--berries and cantelope are the best. Check your glucose before breakfast and before dinner. Over time, you will see it decrease slowly. You may have to go on meds--not necessarily insulin. Take care of your feet. You can injure them and not know it and get infected and loose a foot. Use a mirror to see the bottoms. Get your eyes checked regularly. Have your kidneys checked with a blood test.

3:17AM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Sodas are truly awful anyway.

9:41AM PDT on Oct 25, 2010

Laura S., Some sodas contain Vitamin's like Hawiian punch for an example. Conventional (refrigerated) OJ does not contain much fiber anywhere between 1 to 2 grams, unless you get high pulp (most people don't like) if anything you would folks to eat the actual orange and not drink the juice of four compressed oranges.

Over the shelf (non-refrigerated) OJ contains perservatives. These are typically cheaper.

9:22AM PDT on Oct 25, 2010

This is what I am trying to figure out, OJ has more sugar than any soda and cause GI reactions. Why not ban OJ?

1:19PM PDT on Oct 21, 2010

I don't care. What I do care about is the precedent this action creates and all the precedent setting actions before it. At least now I know that Gov Chrissy of WA State didn't think of this stuff. She stole the ideas. I knew it was beyond her capabilities. So, just how much intrusion should "Big Brother" have into our lives? The argument is that since they are paying the bill for this, they have the right to set the rules. I agree, but then it should apply straight across the board, even to those countries that we give financial aide to as they should do exactly as we say or no money. Little or small, same idea.

7:20PM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

We give food stamps to the needy in order to nourish them, not to subsidize junk, which is worse than useless as a help to food stamp recipients. If they want to wreck their health, let them do it on their own, not on the public dime.

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