News media outlets and comedians alike had a field day following the proposal and passage of a mandate in New York which put a cap on the serving size of sodas and sugary drinks that could be sold in restaurants and movie theaters. While many argue that this government regulation is overly parental, if not unconstitutional, we cannot argue that the rise of obesity and the threat to health and quality of life is a real and pressing issues in U.S. Society.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also includes a mandate about required nutritional content labeling for all foods in chain restaurants and franchises with more than 20 outlets, and politicians nationwide are pushing for a so called “sin” tax on empty calorie products like sodas.
In response to all the commotion, Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper have announced that they will producing new vending machines which make calorie content available on the button for each drink. The machine will also have more diet and low cal beverages, as well as offer smaller serving sizes. These new machines will appear first in Chicago and San Antonio before being rolled out nationwide. Some people are mocking the, again, parental nature of the machines; rumor has it that a “bad” selection will trigger the machine to question the consumer and suggest a healthier option! However, I think that the problem of obesity is real, and it’s better that the producers of junk food make such changes than the government overstep its bounds and try to control how people eat.
As much as I promote healthy eating in my own lie and encourage others to consider what they are putting in their bodies, I am wholeheartedly against the government telling someone they cannot order a certain serving size. It just goes against the “pursuit of happiness” that lies at the heart of our constitution. Part of what makes the United States so outstanding is our right to personal choice; we can mess up our lives and make all the bad choices we want in pursuit of our pleasures, as long as it does not infringe on any one else’s rights.
By taking an active roll in the fight against obesity and informing consumers, these soda giants are avoiding government over-regulation, and actually empowering consumers with knowledge about the choices that they have the right to make.
So, drink up!