Danielle Rennard, Staff Writer
We all have a sweet tooth that makes us crave sugary foods and drinks from time to time. However, several new studies have shown that sugary drinks are one of the main culprits linked to obesity. Our nation has developed an unhealthy relationship with super-sized sugary drinks that costs cities and states billions of dollars in medical care each year. Because of the obesity and Type 2 diabetes epidemics, researchers have done studies that lead them to believe sugary-sweetened drinks can cause Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Regulations are now set to be put into action.
Most of us frequently desire sweets, but it has come to the point where our sweet tooth is now working against us. Gary K. Beauchamp, a biopsychologist and director of the Monell Chemical Sense Center in Philadelphia, stated that “We’ve separated the good taste from the good food.” At no time in history have Americans eaten more caloric sweeteners than today, and soft drinks are the main problem. The single largest source of calories in our diet are sugar-sweetened drinks. University of Wisconsin researchers stated that in 2005 the average student consumes 31 pounds of sugar in beverages annually, and that number has been increasing over the years. These alarming numbers have caused New York City to create a regulation that is set to take effect on March 12. The regulation will limit restaurants, street carts, movie theaters and sporting events to selling sugar-sweetened soft drinks that are only 16 ounces or less. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the new home of the Nets, has already accepted this limit; many, however, do not approve it.
It has been argued that getting people to make healthier choices should be done through education. The trouble is, few know the disappointing history of efforts made through education to get people to change their behavior. Although education is a good start, in order to change the amount of soft drinks people are consuming, restrictions must be made to control this unhealthy habit. The American Beverage Association claims that there is no proof that sugary beverages are one of the major causes of obesity and diabetes, similarly to how the tobacco industry stated that there is no link between smoking and lung cancer. The fear is that if restrictions are not put into place immediately, millions will become sick or die from obesity because of the over-consumption of soft drinks.
There are plenty of other alternative beverages to sweetened drinks, including non-caloric sweeteners and waters without carbonation or flavors. If these drinks were less expensive, more prominently displayed and had more size selections, it would be easier to make a smarter decision about drink choice and lead us all down the right path towards a healthier lifestyle.