Soda Size and Exercise

The news that a New York judge struck down Mayor Bloomberg's ban on large-size sugared drinks has everybody talking.  Many people seem to agree that the intended restriction to limit the size of soda cups and bottles to 16 ounces or less was too arbitrary with too many loopholes that made the proposed law too flawed (and there was also the question of the separation of powers since such an act of legislation should come through the City Council rather than the Mayor's Office). For the time being, movie theaters and ballparks can still serve supersized drinks, for families and couples to share or for individuals who want to take a souvenir cup home.

Bloomberg has his supporters, though, who want to fight obesity and diabetes, believing that barring over-sized beverages is a step in the right direction.  More can be done, however, by focusing efforts and resources toward something that might actually have a real impact -- encouraging more exercise.

Let's face facts. While our unhealthful diets lead to medical issues and threaten our lifespans, what we eat and drink goes hand in hand with how much mobility we have every day.  If government wants to make a difference, we should have more physical education instead of the measly few hours of gym in our public schools. We should also definitely invest in extracurricular afterschool programs. Sports and arts clubs, such as theater and dance, will provide productive activities for kids as they enter adulthood.

Let the debate continue.


The_Lex said…
You make a good point about exercise plays a part in health and shape of body, BUT diet does play a huge part.

Just look at body builders. They make sure to eat more slow releasing carbohydrates (or carbs with a low glycemic load) to make sure that their bodies use those carbs for glycogen creation in muscles, which make for larger muscles.

Foods with higher glycemic loads put more carbs at once in our blood stream that it can put into our muscles or use for energy. The only option for our bodies: make the carbs into fat, which leads to overweight and contributing to illnesses of influence. Not even an intense workout can adequately deal with someone eating high glycemic loads all the time.

Another issue with high glycemic load diets: they don't fill you. They break down quick, go into your blood stream & your body files them away inefficiently. . .then you get hungry again. Low glycemic foods, eat them and drink bunches of water, and your body gets full & has to work at dealing with orderly carbs filing in to be processed well.

It all comes down to balance. These days, I look back and thank my parents for never having super sugary foods and tons of sweets in the house. People always ask me how I can be so skinny. . .it's because, however unintentionally, I grew up in s low-glycemic load house.

Albeit, I was also very athletic. I'm pretty sure they go hand in hand. Even with my athleticism, I have found my body getting more unruly as I get pampered with sweeter and more comforting foods through my wife's influence.

Nonetheless, I do think getting people to eat a low glycemic lad diet us the first. I am against Atkins and other low carb diets, though. Carbs & starches are vital. As vegetarian who doesn't eat/drink dairy, low glycemic load starchs are vital for me to feel satiated.

Making legislation and regulating "individual" choices always becomes tricky, though. On one hand, they're not necessarily hurt other people. On the other, though, friends and family don't want see and have loss of health and life early of friend/relative. Individual choices do affect others. But having that choice and the struggle of it is important to my personal philosophy.
The_Lex said…
Not sure if my original comment is in moderation or not or if tech destroyed it. In my impatience, I'll try to post it thoughtfully.

First, as much as I think you appreciate diet being an important part of health, weight and such, I think you're putting too much stress on exercise. It takes A LOT of intense exercise counteract high-caloric, high-glycemic load food. You have to really push yourself past the point the comfort to do it.

A lot of people, on a vacation, use a day of walking to splurge on a big bowl of ice cream or piece of cake. Most the time, that walk won't cut it. Walking does not burn that many calories. Neither does lifting weights that don't exhaust you and make you sore the next day. You have to push yourself to the point of cursing every time you walk or exercise to burn the calories that dessert has. Even then, you'll need to make your workout more and more intense each time if you want to keep eating that cake.

Maintaining muscle requires little calories. Healing muscles then strengthening it to handle that labor load again requires A LOT of calories.

Even moreso, the type of food, especially the glycemic load of food makes a big difference, too. Not just in preventing diabetes and other illnesses of affluence, but also in maintaining weight and body shape.

Take, for example, body builders. They make sure to eat and drink slow burning, low-glycemic load foods and drink. They do so to make sure that all those calories go to their muscles, not to their fatty parts (which, albeit, are important. . .but our bodies will take care of that when we're healthy).

High-glycemic load foods get digested quickly & released into our bloodstreams. Our bodies have to do something with all that digested stuff. It'll try putting it into muscles, but it can only put so much into those muscles if it's got so much fuel in the bloodstream. If our bodies can't doesn't have the energy needs for it or can't put it in muscles because it's too much at once, our bodies will put it in our fatty parts.

And as that happens, appetite continues to stay high because the food is getting processed quickly and in less than efficient ways. People eat more because they're trying to feed a need that their body can't address because it's not getting the right slow-burning fuels.

Get the right slow-burning fuel and water, our stomachs stay full longer, anti-appetite hormones remain circulating and our bodies process food in healthy and flattering ways.

Exercise can really only do so much. Only doing maintenance exercise does very little. Food really is the most efficient place to start. . .especially since someone who's dealing with the results of a bad diet don't really have the best body to handle exercise.

Nonetheless, I agree with you on the regulating and legislating individual behavior. If said behavior doesn't hurt anyone else, what right do other people and government have to impinge on individual freedom. Then again, take into account how bad health weighs down the medical system (increased demand leads to higher rates by both medical system and insurance rates) and also the emotional toll that may have on an individual's friend and family. In the long run. . .our individual actions do impact other people and can cause some amount of harm, economic and emotional.

At the same time, I do appreciate the virtue of struggle in choice that each individual and their web of relationships need to go through. Wouldn't legislating and regulating that take away from the human spirit on some level?