Food Laws

FOOD LAWS “Leave the gun, take the cannoli”

Here in New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s new laws on certain sugary beverages has caused more than just a bit of stir.  One recent Twitter from a long time friend had me rolling “Bloomberg has limited the number of cannoli you can have with an espresso” – if you are Italian, and live in NY this is especially funny.  A cannoli is a sugar-cream filled pastry dessert, sometimes dipped in chocolate as you see above.  Below is what a serving of espresso is.  If Starbucks (or any coffee house) can charge you $2 for a single espresso that is roughly 2-3 ounces, but $3 for a “double shot” of espresso is legal, why is it so bad when the government places the same restrictions on something little more than sugar and water that can harm our health?

Did you know that just a half century earlier, 12 ounces of Coke was an adult serving and the “happy meal” for children was the adult serving?  So if 12 ounces of soda and a small burger smaller than 1/4 pound now a serving size for a child and a half pound or triple decker burger ok for an adult?  The fact is, that advertising and marketing have brainwashed us into wanting more and eventually needing more, so they need to be regulated, as much as we need to be regulated, because many of us don’t know better.

So in defense of New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s new laws, I don’t think its a case of Food Fascism or sugar prohibition.  I think it is more of an awareness of calorie consumption that is causing us to become an increasingly ill society, culture and country.

The biggest misconception, even if you read ingredient labels for calories, sugar and fat per serving, its still deceiving. For example, a common bag of “snack” food such as cheese filled pretzels (Combos), Cheetos, Fritos, whatever O’s, may come small, but that is not one serving. Its several.  And in some cases, a “serving size” could be a small handful, maybe even less than 2 ounces.  And, if you ever tried eating just a small handful of any of these snacks or chips or whatever… good luck stopping at one small handful.  One serving size could be just 2 ounces but can contain enough calories, sugar, salt and fat as much as a full plate of healthy food. One small bag that looks like 1-2 servings can easily be enough (by their scale) to have enough sugar, carbs, salt and fat for 5 people.  Ever see these new snack packs of chips and soda which are “under 100 calories” ?  They look like the size of an espresso cup to go.

For this reason I agree with new food laws to limit consumption.  Marketing wizards hate it, but its really what is best for the consumers.  If you are drinking more than 16 ounces of soda for lunch, that is far more than enough, you don’t need 32 ounces for a few cents more.  That’s a full pound of liquid you know?  Even that much water is enough to fill you up to the point where you could not or should not eat more.  The old saying goes, if you want to hurt someone, kick them in the wallet.  And, if 16 ounces of soda is $2.50, you will think twice about getting a 2nd soda for an additional $2.50 rather than $2.75 for 32 ounce “Big Gulp” or super size.  Its the genius of the law.  It does not limit you as to how many you can buy, just how much you can buy in one container.  Again, its not to hurt anyone, but to help promote health.  Sure, if you are one person and its a hot day and you think 32 ounces of sugar-based will quench your thirst (especially since sugar only adds to thirst), you are mistaken.

This summer was a hot one, and getting tired of drinking water and filling up on seltzer, I wanted some lemonade, something with flavor.  I didn’t have time or desier to make my own so I bought some “homemade” from a local farm.  It was so sweet, I had to cut it with water by as much as 50% and then it tasted fine.  So, if you need 16 ounces of a sugary drink cut it with 25-50% water, or seltzer if its carbonated, and don’t blame the government.  The fact is, sugar is a stimulant, its addictive, its ultimately not good for you, and if you have to have it, have it in very limited quantities.

Everyone knows that there is some report out there that will crush the cravings we have for anything (including water), so the key rule is moderation, ESPECIALLY on things that are addictive like soda and chips.

“Leave the gun, take the cannoli” (The Godfather)



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