The mayor of New York has done it again; he has taken a personal interest in health and wellness of New Yorkers to try to control the out-of-control obesity problem. The issue has caused both an uproar and praise from people who are glad to see a change for the better in "The Big Apple."
Sometimes drastic measures have to be imposed to make people see the errors of their ways. Soon, they'll be able to see the change if they take seriously the mayor's advice to cut down their sugar intake. As with anything, there is always opposition, even if change is going to benefit someone's health.
Change sometimes comes with a price. Those individuals who voice anger because Bloomberg wants to impose a 16-ounce limit on sugar drinks aren't seeing the big picture. I get the picture, and I get the point that the mayor is trying to reduce dramatically the rapid rise in obesity rates and subsequently save lives.
The issue to some people is that Bloomberg is sticking his nose into something that does not involve him. I beg to differ. Some people just don't like to be told what to do – even if it saves their lives. The mayor, in my opinion, understands the gravity of the obesity problem and is trying to make a difference before the problem spirals out of control.
In past columns, I've talked about the dangers of over-indulging in sweet treats, which include bottled drinks and fountain sodas. The 16-ounce limit the mayor has imposed is a start to losing the weight, considering that most beverages are loaded with sugar.
Just imagine for a moment what would happen if there were no concerned activists, government monitors or watchdogs such as Bloomberg standing in the gap for us. I'm sorely afraid that if the food supply isn't monitored or regulated, we would be shocked if we discover that inferior foods – or the ones deemed unhealthy – are being packaged for human consumption.
I find it surprising even today how foods are labeled. If you read the ingredients and decide to Google those "big" words, you'd be surprised to learn that you're eating something totally different that did not give you a clear understanding on the label. In March, for example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that "pink slime," a beef-based food additive or inexpensive filler, is being added to ground beef and other beef-based processed meats.
There are so many food items that are labeled safe for human consumption – even those with an over abundance of sugar in them. When I look at the world's obesity problem, I wonder why are people so determined to eat their way to the grave. Mayor Bloomberg's ban on sugary drinks is a health-conscious move on his part to help save their lives.
When a smoking ban was put into place to prohibit smoking in public places, there was uproar, and the opposition was indignant. Countless people, for the most part, have been better off for it because they don't have to breath dangerous second-hand smoke.
In a recent study, Robert Lustig, MD, a UCSF pediatric neuroendocrinologist, calls sugar a deadly toxic poison and notes that that sugar is no better than fat. Sugar, in essence, is a new kind of legal drug. It can cause severe health issues and it's very addictive.
So what is the problem with sugar? Fructose. Fructose is a component of the two most popular sugars: sucrose or table sugar. High-fructose corn syrup has become ubiquitous in soft drinks and many processed foods.
Fructose is toxic in large quantities, says Lustig, because it is metabolized in the liver in the same way as alcohol, which drives fat storage and makes the brain think it is hungry. So what if it's not all your fault? You must read what you're consuming.
The issue has to do with the effects of sugar in the body and how it destroys the immune system. The book "The China Study" by Colin T. Campbell, Ph.D., addresses how sugar can affect the body and lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
When a child is obese at six months old, there's a strong possibility that the child's sugar intake is the culprit. One 12 oz. can of soda a day is 15 lbs. of fat gained a year. One 20 oz. bottle of soda is 26 lbs. of fat gained a year and that is not evening taking into consideration those sugary fruit drinks.
Mayor Bloomberg, in my opinion, made the right decision to impose a limit on sugary drinks.