Willett Weighs In: The Ban on Sugar Drinks

I’ll admit to loving the extremely funny photo of Mayor Bloomberg dressed as a nanny that appeared on page 5 of today’s NY Times in response to his decision to ban large, sugary drinks in NYC.  That said, the proponents of “choice,” who go on in the ad to suggest that MB (Mayor Bloomberg) may one day limit burger sizes and pizza slices and cream cheese on a bagel, miss the point utterly.

This isn’t about a “nanny” who as acting mayor tells the children or citizens what they can or cannot eat.  It’s about information creating legislative change.

William Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, weighs in: In a letter to the editor in today’s NY Times, Willett, who is the nation’s preeminent academic on nutrition, and a leader who helped document why trans fats ought to be banned, noted that “high intake” of sugary beverages leads to major medical diseases.

Specifically, Willett notes, the “standard 20-ounce soda contains 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar” which “increases the risks of obesity and diabetes and is clearly unsafe for anyone.”

I love Willett’s use of the word “unsafe” here.  It helps make the link between the effects of the sugary drinks  to their consequences.  Why allow unsafe products on the market?  Wasn’t that one of the purposes of the FDA and, more broadly, of government?  To protect people from products that will harm them.  Who benefits from sugary products?  The producers, not the consumers.

The same folks who misleadingly say that they are consumer advocates are really industry shills.  I suppose that they are against seat belts, cigarette bans, and food safety regulations.


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