"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Why We’re a No Soda Household

by Julie on August 19, 2011

in Chew on This, Food News

big guy with a Big Gulp

Soda makes you fat

Gum chewers. Giant screen TVs. People who spell a lot “alot.”

It’s just one of those things that makes me twitch: noticing how often grossly overweight people are clutching liters of soda.

I’ve pointed it out to my kids, and it’s become sort of a family game, like count the trucks when stuck on the freeway.

“Look! A whole family of fat people. And they’re all holding Big Gulps!”

Soda, I’ve told them, makes you fat. Not only fat, but sick. Soda every now and then is fine, but there’s no reason to drink it any more than that. It’s not about being fashionably skinny — people come in all sizes after all — it’s about being healthy. See that 300-pound lady over there? The one holding the litter bottle of Diet Pepsi?

It’s been noted that in the last 30 years consumption of soda and its ilk has paralleled the increase in obesity.

Haven’t we made a case yet for all the reasons soda is bad for you? No? Hmm.

How about this: a handy infographic detailing ways that soda works its evil, corn syrupy ways on you.

When they figured out that smoking was bad for you they made a good argument for quitting. It took a few decades, but eventually the sentiment snowballed. These kill you stupid! And you can prevent it by quitting! Those who didn’t quit for health reasons were then shamed into quitting by peer pressure, then by cost. (it’s full on $10 for a pack of smokes in NYC these days. Nobody’s bumming a smoke while waiting for the Uptown Express anymore, I imagine).

But it’s worked. According to Gallup, 41% of those polled in 1944 reporting smoking cigarettes, which actually sounds low to me, given it was wartime and all. By 2007, 21% of those polled said (or admitted to) smoking. Historic lows.

However, apparently we’re not quite prepared to launch a similar culture war on soda just yet.

Just today,  (Friday, August 19), the Federal Government rejected New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to ban food stamp recipients from buying soda with their benefits.

NYC already forbids food-stamp users from buying alcohol or cigarettes, which nobody has any complaint with. But something about banning soda struck a lot of people as just a little too elitist for comfort. Which suggests that the mainstream isn’t ready to condemn the sugary drinks to hell yet. I feel like people should be able to make their own decisions about what food to buy, but then again, many have claimed they’re as addicted to soda as they might otherwise be to booze and cigs, so maybe this would have been a wise move.

In any case, the USDA said no.

And anyway, I don’t buy soda.  I’m not a food Nazi; I don’t forbid it — if it’s Friday pizza night sure, I’ll bring home some Coke to go with it.  I’m know the high schooler is hanging out with her friends drinking sodas and chomping potato chips, but that’s what teenagers do. Both kids know how I feel about it, and they agree. They also agree that sometimes you just need a Coke to wash down that burger. It’s a matter of moderation. I’m just agog that the most overweight folks I know are always the people with a Diet Pepsi addiction, and they never make the connection.

But as the evidence mounts that this so-called “obesity epidemic” has been growing in size along with consumption of soft drinks, I wonder if popular opinion will ever turn.

What do y’all think?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda August 23, 2011 at 6:30 am

I agree with you 100%. My mother drank a lot of soda, and she passed away prematurely and with many health complications that I and we as a family largely attribute to soda pop. To be frank, I think soda pop should come with a health warning, the way cigarette packages now do. I doubt I will live to see the day, unfortunately.
I used to be addicted to the stuff, myself, and during my teen years, I would start the day off with a Diet Coke. Horrible! (This was more than 20 years ago, before teens started drinking coffee en masse.)
In my mid-20s I weaned myself off of soda, and now I only sometimes indulge in a can of gingerale from time to time. Still, I am very aware of the amount of sugar that one single can delivers, so it is a rare occurrence.
In North America, I have found people go out of their way to drink anything BUT plain water. If one goes out and orders water, the server looks either annoyed or disappointed because it does not pad the final bill. Nonetheless, I have worked on changing my taste buds to the point that I really prefer cold, filtered tap water to anything else.


TiffanyBlue August 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm

You make some great points. Although I don’t think pointing out the ‘fat’ people with your children is the correct way to go about illustrating a point. Just something to keep in mind. People change size all the time and for a variety of reasons. I just hope if I gained a few pounds no one pointed, laughed, and then made the assumption I gained weight due to pop consumption.

The pictures of your baking/desserts etc. in your blog make me drool and think ‘hey, that would be great with some Coke’….haha….kidding. Well, sort of.


Julie August 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Tiffany – I’m just glad there’s something in my blog that makes *somebody* drool! Thanks!


Julia August 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm

It’s really not funny or informative to point and laugh at people you think are overweight, regardless of whether they’re holding a soda. I won’t be coming back to this blog.


Julie August 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I tend to laugh a lot at myself, not so much at other people. I’m pointing out the correlation that those who drink a lot of soda tend to be overweight. The facts bear me out on this one.


alice August 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I didn’t get the impression that Julie was laughing at the people with soda, just making an observation. Honestly it’s something I’ve noticed myself.


pkr September 21, 2011 at 7:25 am

As the daughter of a “grossly overweight” father, let me tell you that all of your name-calling, pointing, and demeaning hurt not only the person you are using as a bad example for your children – but their innocent children who dearly love them. While I am all for healthy living and do not allow soda in my household either, I also choose to teach my children to care for and respect all people – no matter their appearance. I realize you have the right to teach your family otherwise. However, make no mistake about it, you are teaching your children to judge people based on appearances. It does hurt.


Krystian November 9, 2013 at 8:44 pm

It’s been almost a month and my new diet is going great.
I quit eating junk food and drinking anything that dehydrates me.
I have about 3,200 calories a day, 210 protein and I’m feeling great.
But I live in a house where every one eats and drinks like shit.
So I get tempted, A LOT… But I’ve kept strong, and at this point I feel as if I slipped up; it would all have been for nothing. I will never have the body and health I desire without perseverance and determination.


Sandi February 2, 2016 at 2:11 am

Do you REALLY want pollicians deciding what is and isn’t good for you? Considering all the corporation like Big Oil, Monsanto, Fracking etc, that they whore themselves out to? They are the LAST people I want deciding what is and isn’t healthy for me.


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