“Nanny state in NYC”—for banning giant sugary drinks?

So what’s wrong with that? Nothing, in my opinion.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is already famous for banning smoking in bars and trans-fats from restaurant food. He’s also created more biking lanes in his administration than all others combined and has forced the posting of calorie counts in fast food restaurants.

On CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose, the mayor chuckled about his “nanny” image, calling it just the story of the week that will soon fade away.

In a city that leads the nation in type 2 diabetes, he’s simply doing what he can to force some positive change. It’s still a free country—you can still feed your child 32 ounces of soda at one sitting, you just can’t buy it in one bottle or cup. He’s simply making it a little more difficult to consume empty calories—devoid of all nutrition. Mark Bittman weighs in (New York Times, 6-5-12):

If you believe government has no role in helping people — including encouraging us to act in our own best interests by doing things like not smoking, wearing seat belts and getting exercise — you’re probably no fan of New York’s mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

The arguments against this ban mostly come from the “right.” (There actually is no right and left here, only right and wrong.) We’re told, as we almost always are when a progressive public health measure is passed, that this is “nanny-statism.” (The American Beverage Association also argues that the move is counterproductive, but the cigarette companies used to market their product as healthful, so as long as you remember that, you know what to do with the A.B.A.’s statements.) On a more personal level, we hear things like, “if people want to be obese, that’s their prerogative.”

Certainly. And if people want to ride motorcycles without helmets or smoke cigarettes that’s their prerogative, too. But it’s the nanny-state’s prerogative to protect the rest of us from their idiotic behavior. Sugar-sweetened beverages account for a full 7 percent of our calorie intake, and those calories are not just “empty,” as is often said, but harmful: obesity-related health care costs are at $147 billion and climbing.

Where does it end? As long as someone makes it, Americans will buy almost any size drink—as long as it’s got a lot of sugar in it.

I seriously doubt that Mayor Bloomberg knows much about true health-promoting nutrition, but he does know that sugary drinks are not good for anyone and he’s just trying to make it a little less convenient and maybe a little more expensive for his citizens to buy them. In that regard, I applaud all of his efforts.

The mayor appeared on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose on 6-13-12 and had this to say when Charlie challenged him about imposing his health ideas on the public:

“If government’s purpose is not to improve the health and longevity of its citizens, then I don’t know what its purpose is.”

As for adopting a truly healthy diet, I am convinced that most people will eventually need to to be forced to make the change. And that force will happen someday–but not by legislation. Either they will not be able to afford the unhealthy meat, dairy, eggs, highly processed carbs AND sugary drinks—or those foods will no longer be available.

Taming the health care monster all boils down to just two words: WHOLE PLANTS. Click on the image to check out our new stand-alone website at http://www.4leafprogram.com

The Bottom Line. As for doing what we can to force change now, I am all for it. My feeling is that our $2.7 trillion cost of health care is everyone’s business—that’s because everyone is being forced to pay for it. Check out this new data released this week by Medicare:

By 2021, government spending at all levels for health care is projected to reach nearly 50 percent of total national health expenditures, with the federal government accounting for approximately two-thirds of that share.

That’s right, the government will soon be paying for a full one half of all our health care costs. Even us 4Leaf eaters who never go to the doctor and rarely get sick—are charged outrageous premiums for health insurance. We’re being forced to pay for all those people who think it’s their business if they choose to be obese.

Mark Bittman’s article: What Is Food? – NYTimes.com.

If the mayor really wants to promote health for his citizens, maybe he should have the city donate the following package to every single household in all five boroughs of the great city of New York.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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2 Responses to “Nanny state in NYC”—for banning giant sugary drinks?

  1. MikeR says:

    Michele Simon, author of Appetite for Profit, posted on her Twitter feed an interview with a Coca-Cola exec. Read it for a good laugh or cry when you realize she (the Coke exec) is serious. Bloomberg is onto something.

  2. Leo S. says:

    Until people learn what real food is they will continue to waste money on “items of commerce” and have to keep paying for ill health the rest of their lives. We vote every time we eat. We don’t have to wait for legislators to pass laws to “protect” us.

    Aspartame is being added to more foods all the time and many are not aware of its effect on the huan body. Following are excerpts from a lenghty article.
    The real problem is that aspartame easily breaks down into its (toxic) component parts. Heat will cause this, and at only 86 degrees Fahrenheit the breakdown process accelerates. This temperature is easily attained with baked goods, in warm weather, and certainly inside the human body. In fact, the National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) protested to congress about the approval of aspartame. (Congressional Record of May 7, 1985) The NSDA was concerned about heat instability, and the toxins that result from aspartame breakdown. After a few weeks in a hot climate, most of the aspartame in a can of diet soda will have broken down into these chemical components–that’s why the NSDA wanted it outlawed from soda pop!

    Another group experiencing aspartame complications is * pilots. The World Wide Pilot Hotline reports that many pilots have experienced vision problems from aspartame. At least one commercial airliner crash is suspected to be the result of aspartame toxicity. Some pilots have even experienced grand mal seizures in the cockpit, while flying! In May of 1992, the U.S. Air Force warned all pilots against aspartame in the journal “Flying Safety.” The Air Force warned that pilots could suffer sudden memory loss, dizziness, and gradual loss of vision. The Navy followed suit in its journal “Navy Physiology.”
    The full text of the article is in the following link:


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