Stopping the Death of 1,000 Cuts

When NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg took action to restrict the size of soda pop beverages, much of the public, including the nutrition pundits, whined like a three year old being told she couldn't have a lollipop before dinner. No surprise there were lots of objections from people in the streets because in NY over half the population is obese, unlike the rest of the a US where only one-third of us are. Many of them are addicted to sugar. Do you see cocaine addicts gleefully forgo snorting cocaine?

Of course, the soda pop industry marshaled its PR hacks, many with PhDs, to remind everyone that it's not just soda  pop that's leading to the epidemic of obesity and diabetes, especially among our children. What about french fries and candy and donuts and pizza and ice cream and mom's apple pie? They acted as if they had been wrongfully accused. What great actors!

Actually, there is a tiny germ of truth in what they said. Yes, it's a lot of little things we do day in, day out that are causing our slow motion health massacre. Not just one dramatic thing like millions of people lining up to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. No, it's quieter and more insidious than that. It's the death of 1,000 cuts where you slowly bleed to death. A major source of those cuts is the beverage industry, in particular soda pop.

The only way to stop the death of 1,000 cuts is to stop the cuts - one at a time. We need to change our social norms so it's not acceptable to push sugar, especially onto kids. This will not happen instantly, but over time as more people stand up to sugar profiteers and just say NO, it's not cool to drink the stuff at home, parties, and at work. That's how it will change - more and more people stand against sugar-embalmed drinks just like they did tobacco.

Mayor Bloomberg should be commended because he's doing what he can to stop the nutritional blood-letting. It might deter a few New Yorkers or get them to think about what they are doing to themselves or their kids. It's already caused debates on national television, a good thing (if anybody's watching).

The dump-soda pop movement is spreading West, too. Recently a close relative who works in a hospital in the Pacific Northwest asked why the vending machines are full of sugared crap, especially when so many patients are there because of health issues like heart disease and diabetes, diseases caused by poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyles. The hospital higher ups have promised more healthful choices.

When it comes to sugar and soda pop, we all need to become Mayor Bloombergs. In our houses and workplaces, maybe we can help stop the bleeding.