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What's Your Cup of Choice?

Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg, for bringing this proposal to the city of New York. Thank you to the New York City Board of Health for approving public hearings for awareness, no matter what the outcome.
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The other day I got an email from a friend who works at CNN. She wanted to know if I would comment on a hot topic issue. Unfortunately, that particular day I couldn't jump in my car, throw on some makeup and a workout outfit and head to CNN. Indeed, the topic was hot and I didn't want to miss out, so I begged for a phone interview.

Basically what happened from there is I got on the phone with the producers at the studio and they dialed me in so I can hear the show, Dr. Drew's Lifechangers. Of course, when waiting to comment, I had to be quiet of silence my phone. Now, we had just bought new phones and I couldn't tell where the mute button was so I opted for being quieted. Seemed pretty easy -- however, challenging when my house is like Grand Central Station, phones going off left and right, Red (my English bulldog) barking at something, and three boys coming in and out with every question known to man. I managed to quiet the troops, and listened to the host and the guests as they began discussing this hot topic. Now I wish I had driven like a bat out of hell to get to the studio. The story, per Time:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is hoping city residents will drink a lot less this summer -- less soda, that is. The famously public health-focused mayor proposed a ban on the sale of large-sized sugar-sweetened beverages -- that includes sodas, sweetened teas and coffees, energy drinks and fruit drinks. If approved, the proposal, which is slated to take effect as early as next March 2013, would prohibit restaurants, delis, sports arena vendors, movie theaters and food carts regulated by the city health department from selling sugary beverages in sizes larger than 16 oz. Fines for failing to downsize could be as high as $200.

WOW! This is awesome, and I love it. It's a different tactic to help reduce the obesity rate, recognizing the size of portions. Their are many different causes that contribute to the obesity problem: lack of exercise, eating on the go, mindless eating, portion control, processed foods, school lunches, fast food, etc. Bloomberg's soda cup size ban isn't about forcing portion control down our throats. Instead, it is revealing our problem of portion distortion. If you look at drink sizes that were available in the 50s, it is staggering. A 12-ounce soda can was considered the "king size" compared to today's 32-ounce serving, which is the normal size at a drive-through. There is no doubt about it, I am on board with Mayor Bloomberg. Let's lose the size and gain perspective.

Dr. Drew's Lifechangers program had three guests, myself on the phone and the other two, who were nutritionists. As I stood quietly in my home garage office, the two women, right out of the starting gates, opposed Bloomberg's ban. They discussed how banning a soda cup size was not the answer to the obesity problem. They felt it was like Big Brother, and questioned if the ban on sugary drinks/soda cup sizes passed, what would be next -- pizza slice sizes and popcorn tubs?

I was shocked that neither one of them saw the positive side of this ban. Our ability to know what is a proper serving size is skewed. No one can be thirsty enough that they need to guzzle 32 ounces of soda, and if you do, buy the 16-ounce and go back for seconds. Or better yet, drink a glass of water first and then see if you are still dying to have that soda. I applaud Bloomberg for taking this daring step and making a stand. It obviously struck a chord with the New York City Board of Health -- they unanimously approved to hold public hearings last week. Good or bad, at least it gets people talking.

CBS New York reports:

The New York City Board of Health has unanimously approved to hold a series of public hearings on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on super-sized sugary drinks.

What Bloomberg is doing is bringing back the mindful eater to the mindless eating and drinking that has swept the country. What you eat and drink is a choice that you make as an adult. For most children, a parent is creating the selection and typically the amount. However, when what appears to be a single-serving drink, meal or snack is really three servings, we have entered into the land of portion distortion for all -- parents, children and everyone else. This ban is a practical revelation to comprehend what the appropriate amount of soda is for one to consume if he or she is going to consume a sugary soda. The cup size is the suggested limit/serving.

I am not saying we should be told how much to drink (because you could easily refill or buy two cups), what kind of sugary drinks to buy, or when to consume them. I am simply advocating to give consumers a re-education on portion, creating the opportunity for YOU to decide whether you have had enough or do you want another. Without the lure of the giant cup that most likely comes at a better deal, folks may start to see that size does matter in the long run. Fewer calories in with more calories out can mean weight loss.

Ultimately, we should all cut down on any kind of soda. Sugar or sugar substitute, sodas are not a good choice. They have too many chemicals with no nutritional benefits. Water is my choice for quenching thirst.

New York has passed other regulations aimed at making food sold in the city healthier. In 2006, it became the first major city to ban the use of artificial trans fats in restaurant cooking. The ban was not challenged in court, according to the Health Department. And many other cities followed suit.

The artificial trans fat ban case is interesting in that the ban on trans fats seems to have filtered into our society seamlessly. Unhealthy fats are another factor in the obesity crisis. I just wonder why weren't there more cries to keep trans fats in the crackers?

Twenty years ago, the bagel was three inches in diameter, today it is six inches. The small French fries had 210 calories for 2.4 ounces, compared to today's small of 6.9 ounces at 610 calories.

Portions today are basically two to four times larger. We have just grown accustomed to them just like we have grown accustomed to seeing bigger people.

Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg, for bringing this proposal to the city of New York. Thank you to the New York City Board of Health for approving public hearings for awareness, no matter what the outcome. I truly hope New York becomes a leader in what I believe to be a step toward helping everyone have the ability to improve the quality of their lives. No one can do it for you. We all make the choices of what we put in our mouths. "If it is not around, I don't eat it." So if you can't buy the 32-ounce soda, look at it this way -- you just saved yourself some empty calories.

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