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Common Soda Sense

You might have heard that a judge has halted Mayor Bloomberg’s soda police. While the fight is not over, it’s a step in the right direction for freedom and due process. The regulation banning sugared sodas over 16 ounces in many restaurants and even pizza delivery, would have been an unnecessary burden on families and businesses. Though Bloomberg plans to appeal the decision, it looks like at the least, it will have to go through the city council.

Mountain Dew

Who pays for the Dew?

Speaking of soda, some governors, both Republican and Democrat would like to prohibit sodas and other junk food from the SNAP “food stamp” program. This is one of those things that has some definite pros and cons. WIC Woes explores some of the pros and cons of making SNAP more like WIC in a two-part blog series in a way that I definitely can’t.

What’s at stake here is an argument very similar to the school lunch regulation debate or some aspects of Obamacare. If other taxpayers are paying for it, does that give people a right to make decisions for you? One thing that really bothers me is that sugar gets blamed for a lot of problems, but sugar substitutes can also cause serious health issues, so vilifying sugar is only telling part of the story.

I have a different kind of story for you today. I was at the store behind a very tired-looking woman. As she unloaded her cart of Tuna Helper, Mac n Cheese and other food items, it was hard to miss the 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew.

I’d recently read about brominated vegetable oil in Mountain Dew and also about possible changes that would keep people from buying it with SNAP. Also, my Hubby loves the stuff.

Apparently, her husband loves it, too. I was listening to her conversation with the cashier, something all writers are encouraged to do, of course, for the sake of the art. From the contents of her cart and her conversation, a picture began to emerge. It might not be accurate, but it could happen here or anywhere.

I saw a mom, trying to do her weekly shopping after work. Her kids make themselves the single-serve mac and cheese when they get home from school hours before she gets off work. Manufacturing is big around here, and her husband, like mine, probably works10 to 12 hour shifts.

When I saw her slide her EBT card, I wasn’t worried at all that her kids were going to be drinking that soda. She’s obviously doing the best she knows how. I imagine that caffeine jolt is probably how the man of the house gets through his work day. As they struggle in this overburdened economy to make ends meet, how much does it matter?

If they say you can’t use SNAP to buy Mountain Dew, what’s next? What if they go after coffee? Many people consider their morning cup a necessity of life. The statistic of food stamps funding $2 billion of sugary drinks per year does kind of blow my mind, but it’s also a situation that I know I don’t have an answer for.

Talk to me here or on Twitter: @alliesings


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