Should the Government Limit the Size of Sugary Drinks?

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Should the Government Limit the Size of Sugary Drinks?

Samantha Zakrzewski, Writer/Editor

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Obesity- one of America’s major problems, which only continues to increase as Americans consume a large amount of foods and drinks loaded with sugar, salts, and harmful chemicals. Although the government continues to inform the American people about the impact that these foods and drinks can have on their health, they consume them anyways. Many are unaware that if they don’t alter their unhealthy diets, their health will deteriorate and may even lead to diseases, such as cancer or diabetes.

One of the main contributors to these high obesity rates is soda. Soda is the most common type of unhealthy beverage consumed. Many Americans drink soda daily, consuming multiple servings of this sugar filled drink. Drinking larger portions of soda, along with other sugar filled drinks, can lead to heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

But would anything change if the government reduced the size of these toxic drinks?

If the government were to decide to reduce the sizes of drinks filled with sugar, nothing would change. In fact, it may only escalate the problem. People will not reduce their soda consumption because the government has reduced the size. Instead of buying one soda, they’ll just buy two. As a result, they’ll consume even more of the sugary drink than they would have if they just bought the bigger size. Not only that, but stores such as 7-eleven offer free refills, encouraging customers to drink more. Even if the size of sugary drinks were reduced, customers would still take advantage of the free refills, drinking multiple servings of the drink.  

Another problem is people still would be consuming other unhealthy snacks. Just because the government reduces the size of sugary drinks, does not mean people will stop eating unhealthy foods. When people have a sugar craving, they’re going to consume some type of sugary food or drink to placate these cravings. If the sugary drink isn’t helping their craving, they’ll just eat sugary snacks.

But the real question is, does the government even have the right to reduce the size of sugary drinks?

Sure the government has good intentions (they want people to be healthier), but by doing so, aren’t they taking away people’s freedoms? It may sound ridiculous, since, after all, it’s only a sugary drink, but the government is essentially forcing people to change their lifestyles. If someone chooses to drink sugary drinks, aware of the impact it could have on their health, than isn’t that their decision?

However, people need to see it from the government’s point of view. The government wants people to realize that the foods and drinks that they consume can lead to a life full of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, or a heart attack. By reducing the size of sugary drinks, the government is taking a step towards lowering obesity rates. If people won’t make healthier choices, than the government will step in and attempt to help them do so. It may be a small step, but it’s a step nonetheless.

In order to fix the obesity problem in our country, we need to educate people on the side effects of unhealthy foods and drinks. If people truly understood the serious health issues that come along with certain foods and drinks, then maybe they would think twice the next time they reach for that soda or candy bar. Food and drink companies should be required to make their ingredient labels more accessible, so that consumers can see what they really are putting into their bodies. Many of these companies hide their labels or put them in a font that is so small that people are unable to read them. These ideas may not lower obesity rates drastically, but they should help raise awareness and encourage people to make healthier choices when it comes to eating and drinking.