Nutrition month: Kicking the soda habitContinue reading.
Sue’s Morning Stretch: Putting the brakes on soda consumption
Maybe you’re like me, and after hearing so many experts in the movie “Fed Up” tell us we need to cut our soda consumption, you wondered, OK, well, now what?
On the heels of the movie comes the National Soda Summit. Organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the day-and-a-half conference begins on Wednesday. Nutrition experts, public health officials, educators and activists will come together in Washington, D.C., to look at the problem as well as examine some of the methods being used to cut consumption.
The point of the summit isn’t to gang up on sodas and other sugary drinks just for the heck of it. The opening panel – which includes Goutham Rao of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine – will offer the latest research data that shows the strong link between these drinks and a number of health issues – obesity and diabetes, tooth decay and more.
Elissa Bassler of the Illinois Public Health Institute will be part of another panel that will talk about how taxes on sodas are faring. While the City of Chicago has had a tax on soft drinks for a while now, a similar measure didn’t make it out of committee in Springfield. But, that doesn’t mean the issue is dead, the institute and other advocates have said.
(That proposal called for a tax of one penny per ounce of sugar-sweetened beverages. While the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), had outlined how the tax has the potential to bring the state $600 million in new revenue, the legislators on the panel were put off by the idea that it would hike the price of a case of soda by $2.88 and could cost jobs.)
There was a Soda Summit in 2012, but at the time the issue of sugary drinks was just working its way into the mainstream. A lot has happened in the last two years, and I think more people – particularly parents – are starting to see the health values of putting the brakes on soda consumption.
As kids, my mom ruled a tight fist when it came to soft drinks (and juice for that matter). And get this, we had a soda machine in our basement (left over from one of my dad’s shoe stores)! Every few weeks we could BUY one from it. (We could, however, hold onto the bottle and put tap water in it.) We also could have one soda – maybe – at a birthday party.
If I were a betting person, I would put my money on the idea that eventually that’s what we’ll get back to: soda as a rare treat. But in between, there’s a battle that’s going to take place and the Soda Summit is in there for the fight.
– Sue Ontiveros