Why Stop at Limiting Sugary Drinks?

By Karen

I’m with the cats on this one. No human needs more than 16 oz. of any sugar-laced crap drink. Just ask Paula Deen, who credits her recent dramatic weight loss partly to no longer drinking sweet tea every waking moment.

Now they’re saying New York City could take the next step down the “slippery slope” by banning huge milkshakes and ginormous tubs of movie popcorn.

So be it.

Purveyors of unhealthy, oversized foods are just as evil as cigarette manufacturers. They know what they’re pushing can ultimately kill their customers, yet they try to get people hooked anyway.

Ironically, it’s the snack-makers who are on board with limiting size, putting fewer cookies or chips in a bag. But there’s nothing altruistic about it. They just want to screw consumers by charging the same for less product.

I mostly blame the fast food and restaurant industries with totally distorting our perception of a “reasonable portion.” Three weeks ago, I began the Weight Watchers’ regimen (stay tuned, I’m still gathering intel), and it was a needed wake-up call on portion sizes. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  • 2 tablespoons of oil and vinegar CAN acceptably coat every bite of a pound of salad vegetables.
  • 3 oz. of meat or fish are enough when the rest of the dinner plate holds vegetables (and I’m not talking potatoes or corn).
  • 1/2 cup of JELL-O® fat-free, sugar-free pudding is just enough dessert.

Many of us were raised to clean our plates because “children were starving in China,” or “it’s a sin to waste food.” But as portions have grown and our thinking hasn’t changed, we’ve become chronic overeaters.

When dining out, I personally don’t need a serving that could feed a family of four for a couple of days.

I remember the days long ago, before McDonald’s went nuts with Quarter Pounders and Angus Burgers, when a full meal there was what they now package as a child’s Happy Meal. And I weighed about 90 lbs. soaking wet.

When Anthony Bourdain visits Singapore or Hanoi and orders a bowl of noodles, they don’t roll it out a 50-gallon drum like we would. But as American fast food crosses continents, populations in other countries are getting as fat as we are. It can’t be a coincidence.

So I say, let Bloomberg do his worst. And may it catch on. Many lives depend on it.

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14 Responses to Why Stop at Limiting Sugary Drinks?

  1. Little Sis says:

    I’m with you. It seems that we’ve lost our common sense to chemical and sugar addiction on this one. Maybe some rules would help everybody shake their preservative inspired funk enough to make better choices.

  2. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Little Sis. I was reading one article that said 53% of NYC dwellers are against the new rule. Since 68% of the country is overweight or obese, some of the opponents must fall into that category. Apparently, they see nothing unseemly about a fat person yelling for his right to drown himself in unhealthy soda.

    And I’m not just spouting off like some skinny bitch with an axe to grind against big people. At this moment, by the charts I am right on the cusp of obesity, and I welcome any help I can get, rather than screaming for my “right” to eat and drink myself into an early grave.

  3. Bacardi1 says:

    While I realize that food & cooking all boil down to personal taste, I must admit that I openly cringe whenever I hear the words “Sweet Tea”. The first time I was served that down here in Virginia, I thought my head was going to come to a point & my ears would touch. It wasn’t “tea with some sugar”, it was “sugar with a little tea added”. Ugh. Never again. But then, I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth. Even as a young sprout, I never cared for dessert; but offer me something hot & spicy or pickled? Yum!

    I also consider myself extremely lucky to have been brought up by parents who both LOVED to cook (& this was way back when cooking was pretty much considered a chore, not popular entertainment & vocations). My mother was tossing together fresh stir-fries when the only Asian dishes my other little friends ever had at home was canned La Choy, if that. A visit to McDonald’s (where the burgers then were 5 cents each!!!) was a rare & special treat – mostly for the novelty of it rather than the food – lol!

    I think that if more people learned how to cook & cooked more meals at home, there’d be much less of an obesity problem. And I’m not talking about cooking like Julia Child or any of the new fancy professionals every night. Just good basic healthy flavorful meals. While I inherited my parents’ love of cooking, I’m certainly not stirring up Coq au Vin every night. But my husband doesn’t eat red meat (& hasn’t for over 30 years), so our diet consistes of poultry, seafood, & vegetarian dishes in healthy portions. Since it’s just the 2 of us, with most dinners I try to make enough so that I can enjoy the healthy leftovers for lunch during the week. And we do dine out occasionally, & when we do, we do treat ourselves to whatever we’d like. It works for us, & neither one of us feels deprived.

    Sure it takes a bit of planning every week, but it quickly becomes habit, & even fun. You only live once. 🙂

  4. bunchie62 says:

    Bacardi1, Karen and Little Sis, your points are very well taken. My husband and I have, over the past year, embarked on a reality check in terms of how much processed, quick fix food we were consuming. For a number of reasons, we’ve taken to spending more quality time in meal preparation and planning so that our eating decisions aren’t based on fast and poor food choices – particularly during the work week.

    Banned are sugars other than those contained in fruits and veggies, processed white flour and other easy “snacks” that were created in a factory. We create interesting sauces using good ingredients. If we feel that hunger requires a snack, we eat nuts or hummus and veggies. Frankly, we haven’t missed a thing. You are right…a good meal doesn’t have to be elegant gourmet, just thoughtfully prepared. To say that I wouldn’t enjoy a pink slime QP with cheese would be a lie but, as a couple who enjoys red meat on occasion, we have decided that it is a better effort to buy good cuts of beef, grind the ingredients and put out some quality patties.

    P.S. Hi Karen…haven’t posted in a while (a few technical and other issues) but haven’t forgotten Cats Working- hope all is well.

  5. Zappa's Mom says:

    My favorite snack is popcorn. i start with a tablespoon of olive oil,1/4 cup popcorn and top it off with a sprinkle of sea salt. I am my saturday night TV date with a big bowl of popcorn on my lap (with a cat trying to stick a paw in it) When I was talking about making popcorn with some much younger colleagues,they had NO IDEA that popcorn is made on a stove top in a pot. All they’ve ever had is carcinogenic microwave popcorn and were fascinated by my description of the process. Now that is sad.

  6. catsworking says:

    Hey, bunchie! Welcome back!

    Weight Watchers has completely changed the way I’m eating. I had fallen into many, many terrible habits and paid for it dearly. But first, it spent several months using all the “bad” food in the house because I refused to throw it away (old habits, like wasting food, die hard).

    Where dinner used to consist of me throwing something prepared into the toaster oven and coming back when it was ready to eat, I’m now spending a LOT of time cutting, chopping, measuring, cooking. And it’s all fish and chicken, chicken and fish.

    I’ll give you more details in a few weeks. Since menopause, losing weight has been near-impossible, so I want to be sure I’m seeing significant results before I shoot my mouth off. The first few pounds dropped don’t really make a dent.

    Right now, my fridge and pantry hold almost nothing I shouldn’t put into my mouth (OK, there’s still a box of Pop Tarts and Mac & Cheese for emergencies.)

    ZM, I’m with you on the popcorn. It’s a lot better freshly popped — and much cheaper. Remember the guy who died a few years ago from sniffing to many microwave popcorn fumes? That should tell you something right there.

    I just bought my first bottle of Sriracha. Texas Pete should take notes!

    Bacardi, I agree with you on sweet tea. Never had it before coming to Virginia, and THAT STUFF IS NASTY!! It’ll rot your teeth out just looking at it. I drink hot tea just about every morning, but I can’t stand iced tea, sweet or otherwise. Go figure.

  7. Bacardi1 says:

    Oh, I’m definitely an iced tea lover, but I always order it “unsweetened” when we’re out (& add just a little sugar myself), or make it fresh-brewed at home.

  8. adele says:

    Iced tea is my absolute favorite beverage. Being from the Midwest, I hadn’t heard of sweet tea until about 15 years ago. It sounded sinful but good, since I put some Equal or stivia (though stivia makes my mouth feel funny; I suspect some allergy) in my iced tea, with lemon.I finally tasted Sweet Tea a few years back, and it was loathsome. Talk about not thirst-quenching. I have a cup of hot tea almost every morning, too, and drink brewed 5/8 decaf iced tea throughout the day.

    ZM, because of my messed up digestive system, I rarely have popcorn, though I love it. I never thought of popping it in olive oil, because I thought that olive oil would have too low a smoking point. When i have a good stomach week, I’m going to try it.

  9. Imabear says:

    There is an interesting article at Alternet on the history of supersizing. Very eye-opening. For example, one Starbucks “coffee” drink has exactly 10 calories less than a Big Mac. But it’s marketed as a coffee drink, not a milkshake. Plus, people are condition to think of calories more with solid foods, not with beverages. Really interesting reading – highly recommended.

  10. bunchie62 says:

    Karen, your regimine is familiar. Chop, chop, slice, prep and plan ahead. I don’t want to promote private enterprise endeavors in terms of lifestyle improvements but as someone who really needed something to follow and buy into, the lifestyle redesign I started in late March has resulted in 25 lbs of weightloss with good improvements in other numbers. As a periomenopausal specimen, I consider it quite remarkable. Investing only 30 minutes per day, six days a week in exercise along with dietary changes has been key. There are definitely some caveats in terms of the workout intensity but getting back my former athletic form at 49 is something that I am so pleased to be achieving.

  11. catsworking says:

    Congratulations, bunchie! Believe me, I know how hard it is to lose weight after the old hormones dry up, so losing 25 lbs. in about 3 months is truly impressive.

    I’ve been wearing a pedometer for years, but since joining Weight Watchers, I’ve been vigorously pursuing 10,000 steps again (either by walking or translating pedaling from the stationary bike into steps) most days. The last time I did 10K a day, with NO change in my terrible diet, I dropped 15 lbs.

    So I figure the combination of WW and the steps has got to be a winner. I’m on day 24 of WW and dying for Amazon to deliver my new WW cookbook because I’m really sick of what I’ve been eating. I’m about to turn into a zucchini. But I’m afraid they’re bundling it with Get Jiro! and it won’t arrive for another few weeks.

  12. bunchie62 says:

    Hi Karen, thanks for the cheers and back atcha! WW is a good program but like anything regimented, those cravings are there. It is so important to maintain diversity in our good eating choices. I am still craving my faves…awesome pizza, mexican, etc (common thread of cheese and carbs here) but odd that when I give in, it doesn’t quite render the satisfaction I anticipated.

  13. catsworking says:

    bunchie, I miss my starches. Have had one potato (spread over 2 meals) and NO rice. WW punishment for eating that stuff is pretty brutal. I do eat 2% cheese. So far, I haven’t gone berserk and stuffed any pizza into my mouth, although I’ve been tempted.

    I’m waiting for my brain to switch gears and start thinking all the bunny food I’m eating is normal.

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