Friday, July 16, 2010

Why are we getting fat - Fattening up the poor

We drink too many sodas. Imagine the logic of drinking 32, 48, or 64 ounces of soda at one time. Yet, people do that routinely.

What does that mean calorically? A 12-ounce can has 136 calories. Those are rare these days. A 16-ounce plastic bottle has about 181 calories. That's the size you buy from the store. The 32-ounce that you get from your Big Gulp dealer has 362 calories. A woman leading a normal life should be getting between 1200 and 1800 calories daily; a man should be getting between 1600 and 2400 calories daily. Obviously some folks need a little more and some a little less.

Still, you don't need to be a mathematician to determine that three of these a day would add a lot of calories - calories that don't contribute to your nutrition or feeling full - so you're still just as hungry.

Almost all commercially available sodas contain high fructose corn syrup. Tests administered by neutral folks (not sponsored by corn growers, etc) all show that it contributes to obesity. Dentists will tell you it rots your teeth. There's not much good to be said about these.

How does it affect the poor - and your taxes?

There is a program called Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. It once was called Food Stamps. This program subsidizes cola purchases by the poor using your tax dollars.

Really.

You're buying Dr. Peppers for poor people.

Don't read this wrong - I believe in helping poor people but this is insane. Soft drinks don't help anyone except the people selling them.

Has anyone tried to change this? Absolutely. But, rules passed during the Bush administration "gag" supplies and forbid them from using funds to educate people relying on this program.

How much money is spent? The American Journal of Public Health estimates that we spend 4 billion dollars each year buying sodas for poor people.

They cite studies that say, "SNAP participants appear to purchase at least 40 percent more carbonated soft drinks than other consumers do. At one major supermarket chain, SNAP participants bought 4.3 percent of carbonated soft drinks even though they only represented 1.8 percent of transactions. At another large chain, carbonated soft drinks accounted for 6.19 percent of the grocery bills of SNAP participants."

Instead of helping poor people, we're helping them get fat and lose their teeth. That's something along the lines of government-sponsored sickness.

This program doesn't allow the purchase of cigarettes, alchoholic beverages, or hot, prepared foods. Why should it cover cola?

Send your congressperson a note. We're fat enough. Poor people suffer from this sickness in even greater percentages. It's time for change.

To see the editorial, click here.

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