Musings

1 calorie, 2 calorie, 3 calorie, 4…

The posting of calories on menus is a relatively new thing. I think McDonald’s has actually had it for some time (shiver..that’s a horror show if ever there was one) but it certainly wasn’t prominently displayed and you had to hunt for it if you even were, for some bizarre reason, interested in that information. Right, standing in line at McDonald’s…someone is going to look for a calorie/fat count poster. At McDonald’s (stifling gafaw).

Some friends and I were discussing this topic of labeling briefly the other night, ironically  over dinner. The Mayor of New York is on a quest to stomp out oversized sweetened drinks in an effort to help the city’s obesity and health problems. On March 12th of this year, sweetened drinks over 16 oz. could be a thing of the sweetened past in the Big Apple.

There is also a petition circulating on Facebook right now asking for signatures. By signing it, you are asking the FDA to say no to a big dairy lobby that wants to start putting aspartame into milk and other dairy products. By sweetening these products, they will become tastier to children, therefore leading to a craving for more of these (awful) sugars and then leading to more consumption and more profits for them. What we will be left with are unhealthy bodies that are also growing wider than they are tall. Tell me how this makes sense to anyone. And when you get the chance, sign the petition.

http://action.sumofus.org/a/aspartame-milk/6/1/?sub=fb

Sneaky, bully-esque lobbies aside, do I agree with labeling and censoring?

Some Pros:

-It may, indeed, help with health issues and obesity due to the fact that these large drinks will not be offered at many eating establishments (in NYC) and information is now becoming more readily accessible about foods in restaurants, where once it was a mystery
-The banning of large, sugary drinks could increase awareness of health matters, because if this actually happens, people sure will be talking about this initiative!
-Banning of the large drinks brings to the light the question…do we REALLY need drinks that big? How has moderation taken such a back seat in society these days? Will we ever extinguish the Supersize-mentality in our country?
-Labeling works to make people just plain aware of what they are actually putting in their bodies when nutritional information is in plain view. Awareness is a good thing…how many people know that a Bloomin’ Onion at Outback is 1959 calories, has 161 grams of fat and 4102 mg of sodium (holy water retention, Batman)?

Some Cons:
-The biggest con being that essentially the government could control our plates (mildly).  Yikes! What could be next?
-Banning large sugary drinks ultimately removes options for people. Let them eat what they want to eat and be in control of their own choices. Hello, Amendments.
-Labeling and banning, some may argue, will just seriously take the fun out of eating, to just be blunt. Eating is as much about being social as it is about sustenance. Who wants to really know about that Bloomin’ Onion?

This is a tricky one, without a doubt. For my two cents, I don’t see a problem with either the labeling or the banning of the super-large sugary drinks. Our country has gone off the rails in areas of health and food and could stand a recalibration before we reach the point of no return, which we seem to be approaching at warp speed. The banning is, admittedly, a very bold move on the part of Bloomberg that could start us on a slippery slope, but really and most simplistically, do we need those crazy-large drinks in the first place? No. Sugary drinks will still be here in all their glory. Frankly, I give him credit for finally addressing the big, white elephant in the room and just saying that enough is finally enough. As for the labeling, knowledge is never a bad thing and it is imperative this day in age. Cigarettes and condoms are labeled, too, so why should calorie counts be any different? They are all matters of health.

This argument could go on for a loooong time and I’m sure I’ll revisit it as well. It’s a big one (pun intended) and a crucial one. I’m currently reading a book right now called Foodopoly, by Wenonah Hauter. It goes further up the food chain to uncover the mighty problems with our food sources in this country, but one quote early in the book jumped out at me…”We must address the major structural problems that have created the dysfunction-from the failure to enforce antitrust laws and regulate genetically modified food to the manipulation of nutrition standards and the marketing of junk food to children.”

Good food for thought, pardon the overused pun.

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2 thoughts on “1 calorie, 2 calorie, 3 calorie, 4…

  1. This is such a tough topic. Like you, I struggle with the pros and cons. I think the big sugary soft drinks are ridiculous, but hesitate to think the government should step in and ban them. At what point do we step in for the good of our children (and ourselves)? But aspartame in milk? No thanks!

    1. I totally agree, it’s a slippery slope, but for how long do we just stand around and watch our nation’s health decline, our health costs climb etc.? Tough indeed. Guess we’ll have to see how things shape up in NYC minus the 16 + ouncers. And how scary is the thought of aspartame in milk?? Yikes. Do pass that petition along if you can…
      Nice to meet you, by the way, and thanks for checking out (and following, did I see?) my blog 🙂

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