|Wednesday, September 23, 2009
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com(See all articles…)
(NaturalNews) Much like Big Tobacco once did with nicotine, the soda industry and high-fructose corn syrup producers of America have maintained a ridiculous state of flat-out denial about the links between soda consumption and obesity. “Sodas don’t make you fat,” they insist. Meanwhile, as Americans guzzle down insanely large quantities of soda and liquid sugar with each passing year, rates of obesity and diabetes continue to steadily climb. Surely diet must have something to do with it, right?
Thanks to a new California study, soda companies can no longer hide behind the defense of uncertainty when it comes to links between soda consumption and obesity. This massive study questioned the soda consumption habits of 43,000 adults and 4,000 adolescents and concluded this:Drinking one or more sodas a day increases your chances of obesity by 27 percent. A whopping 62% of adults who drink at least one soda each day are overweight or obese.
The study also found that Californians are gulping down sodas at an unprecedented rate: At least one soda is consumed daily by 41 percent of children, 62 percent of adolescents and 24 percent of adults. Through the study, another shocking statistic was revealed: The average California teen consumes 39 pounds of liquid sugar a yearsolely from soda consumption.
Sadly, the study didn’t look at rates of diabetes and bone loss — the phosphoric acid in sodas causes osteoporosis, even in males — but there’s little doubt that a similar correlation exists between soda consumption and those diseases, too. The whole issue of aspartame and diet sodas also wasn’t looked at in this study, but that’s yet another important area of investigation that will probably be delayed for many years until the number of people drinking diet soda who get diagnosed with brain cancer can no longer be denied.
We’ve been warning about this for years
The interesting thing about all this is that the champions of natural health have been warning society about this for years. Whether you’re talking about myself and NaturalNews, or Dr. Julian Whitaker, or even going back to Weston Price, we’ve all been shouting about the dangers of widespread cola consumption long before it appeared on the radar of mainstream consciousness.
Now, in the thick of a disastrous epidemic of obesity and diabetes, more mainstream health authorities are finally starting to put the pieces together and realize just how bad sodas are for public health. There’s now no question about it: When soda consumption goes up, so do rates of obesity. And with higher obesity rates, you automatically get greatly increased rates of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, depression and other diseases that are very expensive to treat.
Ultimately, that means that soda consumption greatly increases the health care costs of any nation, because higher soda consumption leads to higher rates of diseases that are expensive to treat. I’m guessing that for every dollar a consumer spends on soda, another dollar’s worth of long-term health care cost is created at the same time. Except those costs are paid directly by the consumer; they’re paid by the taxpayers and health insurance customers.
That’s why reforming health care necessarily requires doing something drastic to reduce soda consumption across first-world nations. You can’t have both affordable health care and a nation full of soda guzzlers.
How to reduce soda consumption
Greatly reducing the consumption of sodas is easier than you think. It just takes some political backbone… and a willingness for politicians to stop pussyfooting around with the issue in an effort to please the rich, powerful soft drink corporations.
It’s time to start treating soft drink companies as what they truly are: The enemies of public health and financial parasites that drain public coffers through increased health care costs caused by their products. Their ads promise happiness, but their products deliver disease.
The first step to reducing soft drink consumption is to ban all soda advertising. In fact, that might be the only step that’s necessary. Simply reveal that sodas are a clear and scientifically-proven hazard to public health, and declare that in order to protect our nation’s youth, products that pose a clear and imminent hazard to public health will no longer be allowed to be advertised in any form: Not on television, magazines, sporting events or even through internet advertising. They are still free to have their own websites, of course, where they can describe their products. They just can’t advertise on someone else’s website.
But what about free speech? Doesn’t the U.S. Constitution guarantee free speech for all individuals? Indeed, it does, but in my opinion — and I know that far better-informed Constitutional lawyers would probably disagree with me on this — there’s nothing in the Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech tocorporations. That “right” has been invented through a loose interpretation of what the Constitution really says.
I don’t believe that corporations should have the same rights as individuals, because the free speech of one person is all too often completely drowned out by the “free speech” of a multi-billion dollar corporation that can buy virtually unlimited air time on television.
Can’t we just tax sodas instead?
Another popular suggestion is to tax the heck out of sodas, thereby making them more expensive in order to discourage consumers from buying them. If you believe in levying new taxes on the poor, this is a great idea, because poor people buy and consume far more soda than wealthy people, making a “soda tax” largely a tax on the poor.
I strongly disagree with the idea of using new taxes to shape consumer behavior. Why? Because the current tangle of government taxes and subsidies is so complex and confusing that it has long since lost any attachment to common sense. For example, there are currently subsidies on sugar and corn. Yet one of the sweeteners used in soft drinks is high-fructose corn syrup, which is derived from corn. If a new soda tax passes, it means our government would simultaneously be in the business of providing subsidies to corn while taxing another product that uses an ingredient derived from corn. The overhead of tracking and collecting all these taxes is an enormous waste of government resources.
It’s far better to just deny these soda companies the ability to use the media to influence teens and adults into buying and consuming their products. With no advertising, soda consumption would plummet, and the obesity epidemic would begin to turn around. Health care costs would ease and we’d be on our way to a healthier generation of future adults in America.
The mainstream media: Running on disease
The mainstream media, of course, would have a tissy fit with this idea. A significant portion of their advertising revenues come directly from companies that sell sodas and sugary drinks, putting them in the business of promoting products that directly harm children and teens.
But that’s business, and the media doesn’t feel any special responsibility to protect people from dangerous products that just happen to be paying their salaries. That’s why they’ll openly advertise dangerous, deadly pharmaceuticals designed to treat the very diseases caused by other products they advertise, like junk foods and soda.
There’s a lot of money to be made from selling harmful products the people, and just like everybody else, the mainstream media wants its piece of the action. If you ban the advertising of harmful foods and beverages, many newspapers, magazines and television shows would collapse in weeks. It is precisely the advertising expenditures of high-margin junk product companies that keep the media afloat. Never forget that… especially when you’re reading an article about sodas in the mainstream media.
Choose one: Children or corporations
At some point, America has to make a decision: Do we, as a nation, continue to sacrifice the health of our children in order to keep our powerful corporations flush with cash? Or do we sacrifice the profits of powerful corporations in order to save the health of our children?
That’s really the only choice we have on this issue. We cannot protect both children’s health and the profits of the corporations selling products that harm them.
Right now, the status quo has chosen to sacrifice the children in order to protect the corporations. That has been the stance of the FDA, Senators, Congressmen (and women) and even the mainstream media. To heck with the children, they say. We’ve got to keep this economy running, even if it means selling poison to our kids!
That’s a stupid, short-sighted stance. But it’s business as usual in America today: Sacrifice the future in order to create the illusion of wealth in the present. But even if all these soda-pumping corporations continue to rake in more profits, is the nation really economically better off?
I think not. The long-term health care costs of treating diseases caused by soda consumption equal or outweigh any short-term benefits derived from the economic activity of selling sodas. While it may seem like a net gain in this fiscal year, in the long haul it’s a net loss to the nation.
When our political leaders begin to demonstrate an understanding of those concepts — and they begin to act in accordance with the long-term interests of the nation — we might have a future that can be salvaged out of the health care mess that exists now. We can, of course, turn this nation around and eliminate virtually all obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic degenerate diseases, but doing that will require making courageous decisions that directly violate the profiteering interests of some of the most powerful corporations in the world.
This will likely never happen. Poisoning children generates far too much profit to see it stopped. The media makes money, the politicians get campaign contributions that keep them in office, and the corporations selling their harmful products get to pocket obscene profits from doing so.
And so we end up with a nation of fat children and fat-cat adults who rake in the profits from soda companies even while wondering why their own kids have diabetes and can’t concentrate in school. If it weren’t so sad, the whole thing would be truly laughable.We are doing this to ourselves. We are poisoning our own children and calling it “profitable.” And We the People of the United States of America continue to let this happen, day after day, year after year, even as we go bankrupt from the whole sickening charade.
I have a message for every newspaper, television station, sporting event and website that accepts advertising from soda companies: You are part of the problem! By agreeing to promote these products that directly harm the health of your readers, you are promoting a culture of disease and death.
Greed is powerful in the western world, and it often overshadows compassion. In a world where compassion took precedence over greed, no one would dare advertise sodas and sugary drinks. But we don’t live in that world; we live in the world of ingrained American greed and blatant pass-the-buckishness. Some of the wealthiest people in the world have accumulated that wealth primarily by pushing products that harm or kill children. It’s true for Big Pharma, Big Tobacco and the junk food giants, too.
Sources for this story include:
California Center for Public Health Advocacy: