A few weeks ago Mayor Bloomberg of New York City passed an unprecedented ruling that bans the sale of large sized sodas across the city (larger than 16-oz). Mayor Bloomberg has been fighting for this issue for a long time now, along with many other public health challenges like smoking and posting calorie counts on menus. His motivation behind the ban is to improve the health of his city and decrease the rates of disease and obesity that are related to soda. According to the New York Times, the city health department says that more than half the residents of NYC are obese or overweight, and thousands of New Yorkers die each year of diet-related problems.
In the same NYT article Mayor Bloomberg is quoted as saying, “This is the single biggest step any city, I think, has ever taken to curb obesity […] It’s certainly not the last step that lots of cities are going to take, and we believe that it will help save lives.” Many studies have found that liquid calories (whether from soda, juice, or pumpkin spice lattes) are detrimental to our overall health by messing with our natural hormones that control hunger. Rather than displacing the food calories, the liquid calories are additive. Worse, a high intake of sugar makes us crave MORE sugar, and dulls our taste for real food flavors. And soda is an issue for lots of us; according to the below infographic from Everyday Health, Americans drink 50 gallons of soda each year. Imagine how many sugar calories could be displaced with apples, kale, and herbal tea?
If you are just beginning your healthy journey and becoming more proactive about your health, giving up soda and other sugar beverages might just be the most important thing you can do for your body. Not only can giving up the bubbly improve your health by decreasing the amount of calories and sugars in your diet, it can also limit your exposure to chemicals like BPA. And you can save money! And reduce waste! And begin to taste real food! Doesn’t that sound exciting?