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Soda: To Ban or Not to Ban?

Orange Icon  Soda: To Ban or Not to Ban?

Orange Icon  Soda: To Ban or Not to Ban?

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Do you know anyone who loves to order huge sodas? If they live in New York City, they might not be able to for much longer.

The NYC Board of Health recently voted to approve a ban on the sale of large (16 oz and above), sugary drinks sold in restaurants, movie theaters, and street carts. The ban would not apply to convenience stores or alcoholic beverages.

Banning sugary drinks, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would help combat obesity and type 2 diabetes among New Yorkers. New York, like every other state, is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of adults and children who are overweight or obese. Some people feel that this ban would be taking away their personal freedom, but many others view the government intervention as a necessary and life-saving action.

Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, it's important to look at the facts.

Soft drinks should be avoided at all costs. Regular soda is full of high-fructose corn syrup, which can contribute to weight gain, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Guess how much sugar is in a 16-oz soft drink? 52 grams, or the equivalent of four tablespoons of sugar!

And diet sodas aren't any better. The artificial ingredients in diet soda, such as aspartame and sucralose, have actually been shown to cause the same rise in insulin as sugar AND can contribute to weight gain just like sugar.

Sugar - besides causing weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance - is an addictive substance. When you consume sugar, the body produces serotonin, which causes a calming and happy effect. But once that "sugar high" wears off, you begin to crave more sugar, beginning a dangerous cycle.

Like most things in life worth doing, weaning yourself off sugar is not a piece of cake. (Pun intended.) You may experience headaches, fatigue, depression, and skin eruptions. But the good news is that it won't last forever, and you don't have to eliminate sugar from your diet overnight. Beyond Diet will walk you through transitioning yourself to eating foods that give you energy, enthusiasm, and health.

So, although some people may disagree with my position, I think the ban on large soft drinks is a step in the right direction. The ban won't automatically stop people from drinking soda, but I do think it will help cut down on the amount of soda that Americans drink. It will also help reinforce portion control and moderation, where many people struggle, especially when dining out.