In 2012, the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, presented a proposal to enact a ban on the sale of large sodas and several other sugary drinks because of their high levels of sugars. If passed, the ban would apply in restaurants, street carts, and movie theaters. The move was an effort by the Bloomberg administration to mitigate the destructive effects of obesity on the lives of city residents. The proposal had far-reaching financial repercussions because it would affect the sale of energy and sweetened drinks in entertainment spots that are big business in New York City. The ban would however exclude fruit juices, diet sodas, alcoholic beverages, and dairy-based products. This paper will give convincing arguments as to why extra-large sodas should be banned in efforts to fight obesity.
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Increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
Sodas contain high amounts of sugars and other ingredients such as caffeine that have been shown to have negative health outcomes if consumed in large amounts. A study conducted over 20 years established a relationship between increased intake of sugary drinks and an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes (Malik et al. 272). The study revealed that participants who increased their daily consumption of sugary drinks by one 12-ounce serving gained more weight than those who did not. Other studies have shown that increased consumption of sugary drinks among children results in weight gain. The intake of soda increases the risk of developing type-2 diabetes because of the high amounts of absorbable carbohydrates contained in the soda (Malik et al. 273). Studies have shown that the absorbability of carbohydrates contained in soda such as HFCS has an effect on blood glucose that is a predisposing factor for diabetes. High consumption of sodas contributes to a high glycemic load that leads to poor glycemic control (Malik et al. 274). The intake of rapidly digested and absorbed carbohydrates increases the risk of diabetes by compounding the action of inflammatory biomarkers.
The hardest part of the fight against obesity and poor health is the role played by manufacturers of sodas and sweetened drinks. For example, Coca Cola has released several reports stating that its soda does not cause obesity even though scientific studies have shown otherwise (Nestle par. 6). Science has linked habitual consumption of soda to poor health outcomes such as obesity and diabetes (Malik et al. 278). Annual reports presented to the US Securities and Exchange Commission by soda manufacturers list obesity as the greatest risk to profitability. These companies counter these risks through massive marketing and spending a lot of money to fight campaigns to tax sugary drinks (Nestle par. 8). Moreover, they give researchers millions of dollars to change their stands on sugary drinks.
The stomach contains a hormone known as ghrelin. Ghrelin signals when ones hungry. Increased secretion signals hunger and reduced secretion signals satiation. The hormone only works with food. Therefore, it does not release any signal after the consumption of drinks. In that regard, one can drink hundreds of calories and not experience any signal of satiation. Consumption of soda does not end hunger and therefore, individuals consume empty calories (Malik et al. 1356). These empty calories accumulate over time to pounds of fat that cause weight gain and obesity. For example, an individual who consumes three sodas daily consumes 450 calories daily. Over one year, the individual will consume an extra 164250 calories. These calories will translate to 47 pounds of weight gain. It is hard to improve the health of people who consume high amounts of sugars in sodas. For instance, a 20-ounce bottle of soda contains 17 teaspoons of sugar, artificial flavors, and caffeine. Together, these ingredients add up to 250 calories. The problem of poor health is worsened by the consumption of high amounts of soda daily especially in schools where vending machines are at every corner (Malik et al. 286). There is strong scientific evidence that a large percentage of calories consumed in sodas turn to fat over time.
In the past decade, the prevalence of obesity has increased significantly owing to poor lifestyles. One of the major causes is the consumption of foods and drinks that contain high calories. Sodas contain high amounts of empty calories that have no nutritional value. Studies have shown that prolonged consumption of soda and sugary drinks increases the risk of developing diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. In that regard, the government needs to ban extra-large sodas that encourage the intake of high amounts of calories that lack nutritional value. Consumption of sodas should be limited to a certain amount of daily calorie intake. Soda companies spend millions of dollars to convince researchers to change their stand regarding the health effects of soda. However, science has proven beyond doubt that soda and sweetened drinks pose several health risks to children and adults. Banning extra-large sodas will reduce the daily intake of calories and encourage healthy lifestyles.
Malik, Vasanti, Popkin, Barry, Bray, George, Despres, Jean-Pierre, and Frank Hu.
“Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, and Cardiovascular Disease Risk.” Contemporary Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine, vol. 121, no. 11, 2010, pp. 1356-1364.
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Malik, Vasanti, Schulze, Matthias, and Frank HU. “Intake of Sugar-sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 84, no. 2, 2006, pp. 272-288.
Nestle, Marion. “Coca-Cola Says its Drinks Don’t Cause Obesity, Science Says Otherwise.” The guardian, Web.