Wednesday 7 July 2010

Soda wars

It's an old favourite of mine, so let's see that marvellous Stanton Glantz quote again:

"The 'slippery slope' argument is one that the tobacco industry has routinely raised to oppose policies against its interests, including smokefree policies, decisions by arts and cultural organizations not to accept tobacco money, advertising restrictions, and other policies. These predicted subsequent problems simply have not materialized"

Sure they haven't, and especially not in Stanton Glantz's stomping ground of San Francisco...

Coca-Cola is out, and soy milk is now part of San Francisco's official city policy.

Under an executive order from Mayor Gavin Newsom, Coke, Pepsi and Fanta Orange are no longer allowed in vending machines on city property, although their diet counterparts are - up to a point.

Well, I'll be damned.

That includes non-diet sodas, sports drinks and artificially sweetened water. Juice must be 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners. Diet sodas can be no more than 25 percent of the items offered, the directive says.

There should be "ample choices" of water, "soy milk, rice milk and other similar dairy or non dairy milk," says the directive.

"Ample choices" of the same restricted and not-very-popular products. Ain't choice great?

There is the usual dubious epidemiological study which ignores reverse causation...

The mayor's administration points to studies linking soda to obesity, including a UCLA one released last year that found adults who drink at least one soft drink a day are 27 percent more likely to be obese than those who don't...

And the usual, equally dubious, passive obesity argument...

...soda consumption is fueling the state's $41 billion annual obesity problem.

And here comes Mr Disingenuous...

"This is not about the soda police or a crackdown on soda," Winnicker said. "People absolutely remain free to choose to drink unhealthy sugary sodas anywhere they want."

Why does this remind me of John Banzhaf back in 1979?

"Bill, this isn't prohibition. You know it and I know it. We have no objection whatsoever if you and the other folks who want to smoke want to go into smokeasies and smoke all day long. We just object that you do it around us."

The San Francisco spokesman is right about one thing. You remain free to drink Coca-Cola wherever you like, even if you are no longer free to buy it anywhere you like.

But if giving people an ample choice of water, fruit juice and soy milk somehow fails to beat California's "$41 billion obesity problem" do you think that will be the end of the matter? Or do you, in fact, think that campaigners will complain about the "loophole" that allows vending machines on private property to sell these killer drinks? Is there any reason at all to believe that the war on "unhealthy sugary sodas" will end here? I suspect it has barely begun.

And let's not forget :

Even with no sugar added, fruit juice contains about the same amount of sugar as the same amount of soft drink. Because apples, oranges and grapes are naturally full of sugar. (No surprise there: Processed sugar comes from plants, usually corn or sugar cane or sugar beets.) The table below compares the sugar in 12 ounces of juice (no sugar added) with 12 ounces (one can) of Coca-Cola. If you look at the nutrition label on a can of Coke or fruit juice, the “carbohydrate” is mostly sugar. Four grams of sugar carbs equal approximately 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Click on the image below to enlarge:


Dick Puddlecote said...

Oh, fruit juices are next on the list, of that there is no doubt. I wrote about it in November.

Anonymous said...

My sister's dentist told her to drink beer rather than fruit juice.

Anonymous said...

Amazin ennit. Yesterday fruit was the hero of the hour. It is GOOD for you. Over half of the sugar in fruit is fructose, this is why it is called fruit sugar. Good for you, better than the devil sucrose yeah. Except that the food processsing industry (the real villans, boo, hiss) discovered that a byproduct of corn processing was high fructose corn syrup. Using it as a sweetner meant using a sugar that was supposedly better than the devil sucrose whilst at the same time turning a waste material into a useful food ingredient. Good for people, good for the environment, good for the pocket. OOOh NOOOOOO. Now the bunny huggers have decided that fructose (yesterdays hero) is baaaad. Tell me what happens when the five a day brigade have to admit that they now believe something they said was good for everyone is bad for everyone?

Anonymous said...

This is insane! I understand adding other healthier options but no one should be able to tell you what you can and can't consume. Why are the big soft drink companies not doing anything?! I gave up soda ages ago but I am not running around telling everyone else to quit it. Since this blog is about our civil liberties I thought I would include a comment about the Arizona law that no one seems to have noticed. Why should we give the police so much power? Today it's non-US citizens tomorrow it's US citizens this is how it starts. They are doing it in the name of protecting our borders but tomorrow it will be us. Let the Federal government take care of immigration. This is scary people need to wake up there is a bigger agenda behind the Arizona law.

Anonymous said...

Why are the big soft drinks companies not doing anything? Artifical sweetener is cheaper than sugar. And water with a bit of artifical flavour is cheaper still. Simples.

Anonymous said...

Banning fever is gaining pace. In San Francisco, there are proposals afoot to ban the sale of all pets, other than fish: