08
Jun
12

Why not ban sodas?

Mark Bittman, being his gloriously arrogant, elitist, condescending, ignorant self, comes out in favour of Bloomberg’s restriction on high-capacity assault soft drinks:

They are not food. Added sugar, as will be obvious when we look back in 20 or 50 years, is the tobacco of the 21st century. (The time frame will depend on how many decent public health officials we manage to put in office, and how hard we’re willing to fight Big Food.) And if you believe that limiting our “right” to purchase soda is a slippery slope, one that will lead to defining which foods are nutritious and which aren’t — and which ones government funds should be used to subsidize and which they shouldn’t — you’re right. It’s the beginning of better public health policy, policy that is good for the health of our citizenry.

(Emphasis added.)

Look.  You can reasonably oppose a given public policy on (at least) three grounds: Moral, effectual, and technical.  For example, I oppose the death penalty on the moral grounds that the government has no more right to use lethal force against an individual than I do.  If I electrocute someone who’d been tied to a chair — even if that someone is very bad — I’m committing murder, and government gets no special exemption just because people have always wanted to have large impersonal organizations murder folks they don’t like on their behalf.  I also oppose the death penalty on the effectual grounds that it doesn’t serve as a particularly effective deterrent; Indonesia has killed a lot of drug smugglers while drug use in that country went up.  (That article shows that if you’re willing to go full police state, Singapore-style, you can eventually produce greater levels of compliance.)  And finally, I oppose the death penalty on the technical grounds that I don’t trust the government to catch and convict the guilty, or even to free the innocent once they’ve been identified as such.

Similarly, I think it’s morally reprehensible for the New York City government to tell vendors how much Coke they’re allowed to serve at a time.  I doubt the effectiveness of a rule that forces the thirsty to buy two sixteen-ounce drinks rather than one twenty-ounce drink.  (A Pigovian tax on soda would be more effective, but those have their own problems.)  And, because this is Mark Bittman we’re talking about, there is no way in hell that I’d trust any single authority to define “which foods are nutritious and which aren’t” on order to create “policy that is good for the health of our citizenry”.  If you made Mark Sisson the World Food Overlord today, I’d be buying little baggies of whey isolate from Hell’s Angels tomorrow because fuck you gimme protein.  Nutrition is far, far harder than the food nannies are willing to admit.


6 Responses to “Why not ban sodas?”


  1. 1 perlhaqr
    June 9, 2012 at 06:18

    I have nothing actually useful to contribute tho this comment section, so, have some bile instead.

    Fuck that guy. Fuck him right in the ear with a sharpened candy cane.

    • 2 perlhaqr
      June 9, 2012 at 08:28

      The thing that pisses me off the most about this whole thing, I can only explain in programming terms. If you’ve got software with a bug, you really shouldn’t write something that covers up the behaviour of the bug, you should fix the fucking bug.

      So if “you have to pay for my health care” means that you’re going broke because I’m a chunky couch potato, the answer isn’t “ban soda and chips and mandate exercise”, the answer is “make me pay my own goddamned bills”.

      If the wallboard in your house is cracking because the beams holding up the roof are buckling, don’t just spackle over the cracks!

  2. June 9, 2012 at 22:12

    I find it particularly galling because I’m having to completely relearn a new idea of what is “normal” eating over this last week. I don’t need big sugar infusions, but the general idea of “The proles need all sources of available calories cut back! No snacking! All sources of calories are suspect until neutered!” is, apparently, an idea I absorbed so effectively that when I actually logged and dissected what I was eating, it was less than half of what I need for maintenance level intake.

    No one ever asks those with fat to lose if they’re eating enough.

    • June 9, 2012 at 23:28

      Oh boy, there lies a rant that I have about 20% researched and maybe 5% written up in my head.

      I’ll say this: Earlier this year I decided to drop some fat and cut back to maybe 2000-2500kcal/day, plus EC stack and slow fasted cardio and the like. That lasted about eight weeks before I was done, and getting back up to circa 3000kcal/day took effort. Since then I’ve been bulking on Big But Boring, and I’ve had to resort to things like dropping sticks of butter into my coffee in order to get enough kcal in that I don’t feel like I’m going to die. Metabolic rates don’t like to change, and it takes huge swings in caloric intake to nudge them in the right (one hopes) direction.

  3. 5 Bo
    June 10, 2012 at 08:33

    Want to cut our consumption of unhealthy sugar beverages without violating anyone’s constitutional rights? Eliminate farm subsidies. Simple.


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