Pouring on the pounds

Foodnotes and Anecdotes

Late last year you may have seen the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s subway ads featuring a soda pouring into a glass full of veiny fat with the caption “Are you pouring on the pounds?” It was a disturbing image to look at on your morning commute, but I was really quite fond of it.

At this point it is no secret that we are experiencing an epidemic of obesity and obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. A major contributor is the large amount of calories we are consuming in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and even those enhanced water products with healthy claims. The typical 20 ounce cola drink contains 250 calories of simple carbohydrates. That is 1/8th of your calories (equivalent to a small sandwich) for a day sipped down without a thought and doing nothing to satisfy hunger. Additionally, consuming pure refined sugar (high fructose corn syrup, in this case) spikes your blood sugar levels which subsequently come crashing down again. This kind of abuse on your body gives a sugar crash in the short run and contributes to diabetes in the long run. If you are interested in trying to cut back on sodas, give my refreshing Cucumber Mint Iced Green Tea a try.

Last January, New York Governor David A. Patterson proposed a new penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (similar taxes have been proposed in 17 other states) that would hopefully help close the gap in the state’s budget deficits. The tax would increase the cost of a six-pack of soda by $1.44. Proponents of the proposed tax argued that higher cost would decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages particularly in populations that are sensitive to high costs and that similar taxes on cigarettes have contributed to the decrease in smoking rates. Opponents complained of a loss of consumer freedom and as of a couple weeks ago lobbyists have successfully killed the proposed tax.

And well, I think that kind of sucks. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know!

Refreshing Cucumber Mint Green Iced Tea

Ingredients:
2 quarts water
8-10 green tea bags
½ cucumber, sliced
Handful of mint leaves
Lime wedges

Directions:
Boil water and steep green tea for 5 minutes. Wait for tea to cool to room temperature and add cucumber and mint. Muddle to release flavors. Pour over ice and garnish with a lime wedge. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to two days.

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