Improving Health Starts With Reducing Soda Intake
The fight against obesity is starting with soda. As of September 2012, any sugar-sweetened beverages like soda that are ordered in New York City restaurants can only be served 16 ounces at a time. This makes New York one of the first cities in the country trying to reduce the money spent on health care costs by reducing peoples’ empty calorie intake.
You can still get refills, and you can still go to the store and buy as much soda as you want. You just can’t get as much in restaurants anymore.
Taking a cue from New York, the city of Richmond, CA is deciding whether to pass the nation’s first penny per ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks. Think of it as a “soda sin tax.” What happens with the money will be the interesting part. Using it to help treat obese people will be better than using it to improve roads or increase the wages of government officials.
Two Sides To Consider
As a chiropractor, I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it’s another example of how the government is regulating more of peoples’ rights. It makes me wonder what else they will say you can and can’t do.
However, on the flip side, I have to pay high health insurance costs from my own pocket not because of how I take care of myself but because of the way others don’t take care of themselves. It’s not really fair that insurance premiums go up for me and my family because 80 percent of Americans are overweight and I’m not.
Unfortunately, there’s not an easy answer. Some people say it should be like auto insurance, where you have the opportunity for lower rates based on the way you drive. With health insurance, it’s not that simple. How much lower would our rates be if only 20 percent of Americans were overweight? Who knows?
Even though you can’t track it, the decrease would probably be amazing. We do know that at least 60 percent of heath care issues are linked to obesity, including cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and joint problems. I see many people in my practice who are overweight and have resulting joint issues, and it’s hard to see them come in drinking a Big Gulp.
Soda Companies Join The Cause
Soda companies are jumping on the bandwagon, but not necessarily to make Americans healthier. They know they will get hurt financially if they don’t make some changes, and they’re already getting pinched with the newer, low-calorie products like flavored waters with added vitamins. So their research efforts over the next few years will be to give consumers the taste they want without the high calories.
Since the artificial flavors in diet soda have been linked to cancer in lab rats and there’s the equivalent of 50 pieces of sugar in a can of Coke, soda companies are trying to use natural flavorings like Stevia to produce sodas with about half the calories of current brands. They’re offering these now in selected cities to gauge consumer response.
A Great Place To Start
While neither of the scenarios in New York and California will be a big deterrent in soda intake, it’s a fantastic start. Based on the sedentary lifestyle of the average American, 1500 calories per day is all that’s needed unless you have a strenuous job or work out. Drinking two to three sodas a day is about 600 to 800 calories which means 30 to 40 percent of calorie intake comes from something that has absolutely no health benefit.
Reducing soda intake is one of the easiest ways for most people to start losing weight, which can improve several other aspects of health, including joint health.
If you’re looking for a Virginia Beach chiropractor, I offer a wide range of options, including nutritional consultation in addition to your chiropractic treatment plan. Call me today at 757-473-9900 and start on the road to better health.