September 23, 2012

The New Prohibition: NYC’s Ban on Super-Sized Soda. ~ Samantha Caplan

Photo: Mike Licht

It happened.

New York City’s Board of Health has passed a rule banning the sales of big sodas and other sugary drinks.

Some of the details are covered here in NYC Bans Sales of Sugary Drinks. This article by ABC news references a “war on diabetes.”

I’m noticing a trend. We, as a species, appear awfully gung-ho to declare war on things and increase regulations. I wonder: was this “soda ban” really a step in the right direction?

I completely agree that our nation’s sugar intake is a concern. Decrease our sugar intake and a host of health concerns would literally disappear. But that’s a whole new blog entry. This new regulation on sugary drinks is designed to decrease intake and promote health, right?

Prohibition is my first thought. Prohibition was successful in decreasing liquor sales and intake, but criminal activity drastically increased, which brings me to a key point: for every yin, there will be a yang. What will the yang of this new ban on sugar drinks be? Will it be positive or negative? And more importantly, is there something else we could try? Seriously, how much money will be spent enforcing this ban and are those dollars well spent? I’ll come back to that.

Decreasing the sale of soda would be amazing. I am totally game. It’s exciting to me that health has become such a focus that our leaders are turning to ban unhealthy food. More attention on the promotion of healthy food choices is long overdue, and political attention is absolutely needed if we’re to make any headway.

I don’t entirely disagree with this ban; I simply want to call attention to another, perhaps more effective, way to approach all of this.

What if instead of spending anything on a new regulation we subsidized yoga centers and juice bars? This would make it cheaper and easier to drink the good stuff and get your sweat on. Whoa. Holy revolutionary idea!

I’m being idealistic, but spending trends have already proven the obvious: the less expensive, more bountiful, and more accessible something is, the more it’s purchased. Isn’t the goal here to promote health? So let’s promote the purchase of every healthy item we can think of, and not ban the crap out of the bad stuff. Move the money and we’ll all watch as soda falls to the wayside.

I propose a new tactic to the “war” on diabetes: More. Good. Stuff.

Let’s make it easier to put healing and nutritious food in our bodies. Let’s demand that from our political nominees. The idea isn’t novel. We want functioning communities? Then we need functioning bodies. In the midst of all  the racket around politics, healthcare and international terror, perhaps it would do us all some good to just ask for, well, some good.







Samantha Caplan is a product of her environment. With a mother who specializes in end-of-life care (that is, assisting families and loved ones with their final moments on this earth), and a father whose passion  is the homeless and less advantaged, her love is of people and our mother earth. A graduate of the University of Vermont, she is a health-obsessing, running, yogi-ing, big-picture thinking, chocolate-loving, martini sipping, writing, tweeting, purpose-searching woman…who is occasionally too stubborn for her own good. Some of her work includes cancer-care and research, online education, and personal health coaching and nannying. Diverse, if nothing else.
If you want to find out more (or just say hello) feel free to email her at: [email protected]

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