If you haven't heard this news, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a ban on sodas larger than 16 ounces in NYC, as a response to the obesity epidemic.
I'm not a big fan of laws designed to save us from ourselves. I appreciate the smoking bans, because I've been in restaurants where I couldn't enjoy my meal because there was smoke being blown on my face, but it doesn't keep me from enjoying a movie if the guy next to me is drinking a 20 ounce soda.
I know I've written a few posts here that make me seem like I'm some kind of champion of bad health, so I'd like to do the opposite today. I'd like to ask that instead of making laws to save us from ourselves, like no large sodas, they should make laws to help us be healthy.
A few years ago, I gave up soda. I used to drink one can of Coke every evening with dinner, and I decided I wasn't going to do that anymore. Now I mostly only drink water (or Gatorade when I get very dehydrated). I do think soft drinks are pretty unhealthy, although I mainly stopped doing it because I wanted to eliminate caffeine. Thanks to my example, my husband stopped drinking soda at home too. And my daughter drinks mostly water or milk.
On a recent road trip, we stopped at a McDonald's off the highway. I got a chicken sandwich and I wanted a water to drink. Was it actually possible to get tap water to drink in a cup? No. I had to purchase a bottle of water.
Then when I went to fill the bottle up with more water later, there was no "water" option at the soda station. I could have gotten any sugary beverage I wanted, but not water. So I went to the counter, hoping they could help me:
Me: "Can you fill this bottle up with tap water for me?"
Me: "Really? You mean there's no way I can just get plain water?"
Cashier: "Nope, sorry."
I finally filled it up in the bathroom. Still, it's an outrage that in mall food courts and many chain restaurants (ranging from McDonald's to Chipotles), you can't just get plain water to drink. This happens to me all the time. I'm at the mall food court and I ask for a cup of water with my food, and they look at me like I'm crazy. I've been refused or I've been given a tiny cup that contained three swallows of water. Even if I offer to pay for price of the cup, sometimes they won't give it to me.
Instead of trying to save us from ourselves and banning 20 ounce drinks, I think Mayor Bloomberg et al. should make it easier for those of us who want to avoid sugary drinks to do so! Whatever else you can say about the health value of these foods, soda is certainly tons of empty calories. If you agree, urge local vendors to make water more readily available!