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Are soft-drink rules just the beginning?

June 18, 2012 by Mark McGlothlen 

Everyone complains that the government has too much power. Everyone seems to get upset when new laws or regulations come out that seem to hamper our “freedoms” as Americans. Isn’t that what being an American is all about? Being able to make your own decisions and basically do what you want (within reason of course).

The government has taken a bad rap lately. Most of it deserved, but not all. You can’t make everyone happy all the time with the decisions you make. For me, even if decisions that are made are not to my liking, if I can see the rationale behind it, I tend to accept it and move on.

Every once in awhile a governor, political party or otherwise, rolls out a proposal that makes you stop and say “you have got to be kidding me!” But at the same time you say, “well, that kind of makes sense.”

That is how I felt when I heard about what New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing. Bloomberg wants to ban 16 ounce and larger sodas. Bloomberg told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell that the ban would not limit the selling of soft drinks to people, but instead it would force the vendors to offer smaller portions. If the customer wants more, they can buy more.

Bloomberg goes on to say that “we’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things, we’re simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup.”

Citing sky-high obesity rates, Bloomberg feels that if you are given more, you consume more. If you have a smaller portion, you eat less.

Well that makes sense, I suppose. Saying that this is not the perfect or only answer to the obesity problem in the United States and this is not the only cause of people being overweight, but he feels this is a good start, because “we’ve got to do something. We have an obligation to warn you when things are not good for your health.”

Bloomberg did say that while he wants to ban the larger portion sizes, there would be no limits on the sale of the beverages. The ban of the large drinks would pertain only to restaurants, stadiums and street vendors. Large drinks that are at least 50 percent milk or natural fruit juices are exempt.

Like I said, I see the bigger picture in this initiative. But if you go to a restaurant like McDonald’s, right now, you pay $1 for any size drink. And as we know, you can refill your cup as much as you want. Even if I buy a small cup, I can fill it up several times before I am even finished eating. Is there going to be a ban on that as well?

The New York City Board of Health approved the measure from Bloomberg, but questioned why large tubs of popcorn and even the 100 percent fruit juices and milk products because of the calories they contain. So as you can see, the ball is rolling toward other areas as well.

What do you think about these proposed rules in New York? Do you think that this is just the beginning? Is it the right thing to do? I would love to hear your comments.

And what do you think of Burger King’s new bacon sundae? Sound good?

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