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DEBATE: Should Sweet Drinks Be Governed? — an article on the Smart Living Network
September 17, 2012 at 7:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

DEBATE: Should Sweet Drinks Be Governed?

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If you have watched any sort of national news coverage in the past few days, I am sure you caught sight of the latest health drama taking place in New York City.

Health officials recently voted in a new ruling which will prohibit the sale of sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces from food carts, restaurants, delis, and movie theaters starting March 12. 58% of adults in New York are already considered obese and their aim is to curb the rising obesity trend - but will it work? Or more importantly,

Is It Fair?

In the few days since the announcement was made, I have witnessed an array of responses from the very positive and to absolute outrage. Health experts are like-wise divided. Some believe this is needed to reduce our insatiable sugar intake, while others say it's government overreach and takes away our right.

My response - "Our right to what? Sugar?"

Pros and Cons of the Ban on Sugary Beverages

Pros: Perhaps this will help people will reduce their added sugar intake, and, thus lose excess weight. If nothing else, at least a bit more attention may be paid to beverage decisions.

Cons: If government is allowed to ban large sugary sodas in public facilities – what will be next? What is really to stop anyone from simply ordering two drinks or picking up the larger size in New Jersey and bringing it into the city? The ban will certainly make it more difficult to sip on bigger beverages, but will it actually stop anyone from getting the sugar they are craving?

Is Sugar Really That Bad?

While many Americans have been on the fat-free bandwagon for decades, the latest nutrition research has found that sugar is the true troublemaker. Excess sugar intake can cause inflammation, high blood sugar, and fatigue.

If you watch the news, you probably saw one major study which deemed sugar as TOXIC being broadcast this April. If you missed it, check out this video from CBS. 

Oh, and as for fat?

While trans and saturated fat are certainly unwelcome in our diets, unsaturated fats have actually been found to improve our health and reduce inflammation – a known marker for multiple types of chronic disease!

What Should We Do?

Okay, so angel food cake is more devilish than previously thought. What should we do? Do we really need to change our diets? I mean, how much sugar are we actually eating?

Perhaps far more than you may realize.

With sugar being added to nearly every category of processed food, including condiments, bread, cereal, canned produce, nuts, dried fruit, frozen entrées, deli meats, yogurt, and milk, it is no surprise that we are taking in more sugar than ever. All of this added sugar is causing us to pack on added pounds, pushing our overweight and obesity statistics through the roof.

The American Heart Association encourages people to limit daily sugar intake to:

  • 5 teaspoons for women.
  • 9 teaspoons for men.
  • 3 teaspoons for children.

However, the average sugar intake is believed to be 22 teaspoons per day – and that is only the average, which means some people are consuming far more!

What Does a Teaspoon of Sugar Look Like on a Label?

Each teaspoon of sugar weighs approximately 4 grams, so the next time you are reading the nutrition facts label and you find that your Kellogg’s® Frosted Mini Wheats® contain 11 grams of sugar, you will know that there are nearly 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving.

You now also know that if your daily sugar intake is recommended to stay within 5 teaspoons or less, that you have roughly 20 grams to work with.

Back to The Ban…

What may surprise you about this particular ban, is that the size is not exactly outrageous when you consider the ‘big gulp’ alternatives (which are shockingly excluded from this ban).  

The 16 ounces measure in at 2 cups, the equivalent of the ‘grande’ size at Starbucks. Yet, in that seemingly small serving of soda, you can will find a whopping 54 grams or 14 teaspoons of sugar - three times the amount women should be having in the entire day!

By The Way: Think juice is a better choice? When it comes to sugar, I am sorry to report that the answer is no. The same size serving of apple juice contains just as much sugar as soda!

In Conclusion

As the majority of us live in the world of endless sizes, I hope that you are now at least a bit more conscious of what you are sipping on. Remember, a single teaspoon of sugar may only possess 15 calories, but when you consider sipping on the 14 teaspoons found in your 16 ounce drink, you could be taking in 200 plus calories.

The reality is that it only takes an extra 500 calories each day to add an extra pound per week to our hips!

What do you think?

 I would love to hear your opinion on the matter. Are you in favor or against the ban on sugary beverages? Why or why not? 

Photo Credit: Tom Gazpacho

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