Health advocates in California and New York are pushing for warning labels on sugary drinks. It is being likened to the campaign against tobacco. Smoking has declined steadily in the United States since the first warning labels started appearing on packs of cigarettes in 1965. Advocates of a label about the negative health implications of too much sugar in our diets and the diseases that result hope that a similar decline in U.S. soda consumption habits will occur. Also, it is not for soda alone but sugary beverages in general. Healthy folks like Sam Tabar (wikipedia.com) know that there are sports and juice drinks as well as teas that have an unhealthy amount of sugar in them. The legislature in California is pursuing a warning label after failing to get a tax on unhealthy drinks passed.
There is little doubt that a simple label will be a much easier sell than a tax where you are telling people to shell out more money every time they buy a sugary drink. It would also go over much better than the widely mocked plan of then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to limit the size of the cups that sugary drinks can be sold in. People don’t mind information; they do mind being told how big a drink they can have or that they have to pay more for that drink. If California and New York manage to get such laws passed, you can bet other states will follow suit.
Many Americans tend to think of the over-consumption of sugar as being a problem that only we have in our diet. This month, however, the United Nation’s World Health Organization(WHO) released guidelines saying the world is consuming too much sugar and that most people around the globe need to slash their consumption of it. The US, in fact, is not even the worst offender when it comes to sugar consumption. People in Portugal seem to have an even bigger sweet tooth than we do as they get about 25 percent of their calories from sugar whereas we are at 11 to 15 percent.
The western diet is generally bad for people’s health. As it spreads so does obesity and heart disease. About one-third of Americans are considered obese. The figure is one out of ten people for a world average, but even this is an increase over a few decades ago. Alexei Beltyukov knows that there are certainly some good things about American culture that are spread around the world such as movies, music, technology breakthroughs, but our diet certainly isn’t one of these positive things. A country as wealthy as the United States is able to mitigate some of the damage of our high fat and high calorie diet thanks to our health care system and pharmaceuticals that lower bad cholesterol, triglycerides and other indicators that foretell future health complications. Poorer nations will not have the money and resources to counter the negative externalities of such a diet.