Think of a soda ban like seatbelts

Think of a soda ban like seatbelts

I’m sad that a New York judge struck down the 16-ounce size limit for sodas and some other sweet drinks.  I think Mayor Bloomberg had the right idea.

I get that whole personal freedom argument (although the court just said that it was arbitrary and out of Bloomberg’s purview), that this was a “nanny state” idea. But honestly, when it comes to obesity, we may need nannies to save ourselves—from ourselves.

Think of it like seatbelts.  Car manufacturers make them to keep us safe, but theoretically it’s our choice whether to use them or not, right? I mean, whose business is it if we want to take the risk of flying through the windshield if someone runs a light and rear-ends us? It’s our life (or death), isn’t it?

And yet, you can get pulled over and ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt in 32 states (as well as in Washington DC, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands). In 17 other states, you can get a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt if you get pulled over for something else. (The Governor’s Highway Safety Association website has the latest information on seatbelt laws in the United States, if you are curious.)

These laws make sense to most of us. Seatbelts save lives. Flying through the windshield (or flying through the car and hitting things) can kill you. Having a law that helps us remember to buckle up ensures that fewer people die.

Here’s the thing: limiting our access to sweetened beverages would ensure that fewer people die too.

Now, of course there’s more to obesity than sweetened beverages. Our big portions, sedentary lifestyles, our love of fast food, not to mention food deserts and the fact that many people don’t have access to safe, affordable places to exercise are all part of the problem too. But as studies have shown, drinking our calories is a bad idea. Dr. David Ludwig here at Boston Children’s Hospital has studied this. When we drink our calories, he says, we don’t feel full—and so are likely to take in more calories than we need. Not only that, the sodium in many of these beverages makes us thirsty—so we drink more of them.

Currently, more than a third of adults in the United States are obese—and another third are overweight. Obesity is a big cause of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer, which are among the leading causes of death in our country (heart disease is #1). If we could decrease obesity, we’d save lives.

If fewer people drank sugar-sweetened beverages, or at least drank smaller quantities, fewer people would be obese. It may not be what’s driving obesity, as the American Beverage Association insists, but it’s hard to argue that anybody really needs to drink a 20-ounce soda—or that it would be better for their health if they didn’t. It’s low-hanging fruit, so to speak; it’s an easy way to get started on fighting what’s killing us.

So I think the ban is a good idea—and I think taxes on sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages are a good idea too. We should be able to tax things, like cigarettes, that are bad for you.  Especially when medical costs associated with obesity were $147 billion in 2008, and likely even higher now. This isn’t just about the health of individuals—it’s about the health of our society and economy.

As for the argument that this affects low-income people and minorities more, so does obesity: the obesity rates for African Americans (50%) and Hispanics (39%) are higher than for whites (34%), and while having a lower income only increases the risk of obesity for certain groups (like women), it certainly makes it more difficult to buy healthy food and go to the gym.  I’m not worried about restaurants; I think they can figure out a way to make up whatever they lose by not selling huge drinks. Bans and taxes like these force us to rethink our habits, and if there were ever a habit that needed rethinking, it’s sugar-sweetened beverages.

As Bloomberg said, “..the conversation we started about the dangers of the portion sizes of sugary drinks has prompted many people…to take action.” When it comes to obesity, it’s action we need. I hope more people follow his lead.

We make laws to help people buckle up. Why not laws to help keep them healthy?

Claire McCarthy is a primary care physician and the medical director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Martha Eliot Health Center.  She blogs at Thriving, the Boston Children’s Hospital blog, Vector, the Boston Children’s Hospital science and clinical innovation blog, and MD Mama at Boston.com.

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  • Dr. Drake Ramoray

    Well I didn’t agree with your gun article so I feel somewhat safe in commenting on this topic without reading this article.

    Seat belts do not equal a soda ban. I can buy a car and drive it on my private property without breaking the law. It is not illegal to drive on my land without a seatbelt, or even to own a car with no seatbelts. To drive my care on PUBLIC roads I have to abide by the laws established by the community or I am breaking the law. Wearing a seatbelt is one of those laws. Similarly not all states have motorcycle helmet laws.

    Soda ban = Prohibition and the Volstead Act. That turned out really well didn’t it. The new Al Capone will sell you Sprite. Genius.

    • Daniel

      If you’re going to bother commenting, you should read the article. At least don’t state outright that you didn’t read the article.

      • Dr. Drake Ramoray

        Ok, read the article. Nothing new to see here that would change my opinion that Dr. Mccarthy’s posts are better posted on a left wing political blog as opposed to a medicine blog. Limiting soda size will do nothing, banning soda is like prohibition. Taxing soda is a different story, not necessarily something I would agree with, but apparently is an accepted practice for tobacco products.

        • Daniel

          Haha… wasn’t saying you had to read the article. Was partly wondering, why comment on something you don’t think is worth reading? And partly saying… at least don’t admit to not having read it…

          • Dr. Drake Ramoray

            Well I was thinking of a way to communicate that I have little respect for the author’s articles because they are not well thought out, have little understanding of the role of government, the Constitution, or how I think a free society works. She is more than welcome to disagree with me, but the fact that she tries to integrate these poor thought out schemes on a medicine blog just furthers my ire. Perhaps in the future I should just come out and say that I don’t think her articles are worth reading and that she should post them elsewhere.

          • Mengles

            No, stupid ideas such as these should be shamed. Which is why everyone in New York and even outside has laughed thoroughly at the idea of the soda size ban. When bad ideas aren’t shamed or laughed at – they are readily accepted, which can cause even worse results.

        • Mengles

          The author is a writer for the Huffington Post. Not exactly a purveyor of quality writing on that website.

      • Mengles

        I read the article. Dr. Drake Ramoray saved his time by just reading the title. Trust me, he didn’t miss out.

        • Dr. Drake Ramoray

          Yes I was one of the many who actually thought that Dr. McCarthy wanted an explanation as to why I disagreed with her gun article. I learned my lesson from that article.

          • Mengles

            Yes, I almost fell in the same hole, until I realized the wording of the title, “IF I’m wrong about guns”

          • EE Smith

            Ditto.

      • Mengles

        With her prior blog entries like:

        1) “If I’m wrong about guns, can you please explain why?”

        2) “Same-sex couples should be able to marry: Why the AAP got involved”

        and my favorite,
        3) “The problem of bouncy houses and the injuries they cause”

        We figured out pretty quickly that reading the article was not at all necessary to understanding what the author was getting at.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chinmay.singh.315 Chinmay Singh

      So are you saying there is not enough data (including some studies author posted) to support correlation between soda consumption and obesity?

      • Mengles

        Are we going to ban every food that has a “correlation” with obesity? Any food or drink done in excess leads to obesity.

        • Dr. Drake Ramoray

          According to Chiked. Yes.

          • Chiked

            Are we going to ban every food that has a “correlation” with obesity?

            No, just like you would with any problem. We would like to take on the biggest offenders first and work our way down.

            Once again, paranoia in play.

          • Dr. Drake Ramoray

            Not every food that correlates with obesity, just every food you think is bad. Move on down that list. So you aren’t happy until I eat the way you want me to, and you think I’m paranoid. I’m cool as long as I agree with you, no personal choice, no responsibility. Thank you sir, may I have another!

          • Mengles

            I’m curious as to what other problems Chiked and McCarthy would like to solve with “just like you would with any problem. We would like to take on the biggest offenders first and work our way down.” We’ve got soft drinks, gun control, so far. I wonder what else?

          • Chiked

            See my last comment above.

          • Chiked

            You are proving my point over and over. This is not a commonsensical discussion….just rabid paranoia. You are more worried that sometime down the road, I (or the government), will define what food is good or bad.

            So let’s sit on growing behinds and watch this obesity epidemic continue.

          • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com Margalit Gur-Arie

            Are you certain that soda is the biggest offender? And how far down are you planning to work your way? Potatoes? Pasta? Rice? Bread?

          • Mengles

            My guess is all the way down to where we will all be eating dirt due to having banned everything else.

          • Chiked

            Yep, paranoia again.

          • Mengles

            No just what will result from your banning tirade. Maybe we can stamp the foods that are left with the “Chiked seal of approval”.

          • Chiked

            What type of potatoes? What kind of Pasta? Potato chips are a different animal from baked potatoes. Wonder bread is not the same as whole wheat bread.

          • Mengles

            So you think that soda is the “biggest offender”? Based on what? Media coverage? Actual studies? Your opinion?

          • Chiked

            No, commonsense. Walk into your local grocery store today and soda is cheaper than water. That is a humongous problem. When the bad stuff becomes cheaper than the good stuff, you have a crisis.

            But you and others here are splitting hairs. I do not care if Sodas are #1 or #10, I care that we attack the problem.

          • Mengles

            Common sense a.k.a. your opinion. And B.S. If you calculate the unit price of the package of water bottles and compare it to soda, you will see that the water is cheaper. So once sodas are banned, what other beverages or foods would you like to ban due to your “common sense”?

          • Chiked

            You must be referring to 5 gallon size bottles. Grab a liter of brand name bottled water and compare it to the same sized bottle of soda. Not even close.

          • Mengles

            Um, no. I am not referring to 5 gallon size bottles. Do you even know what the term unit price means? Based on your comment you obviously don’t.

          • Chiked

            When I walk into my local grocery store, I can pick up a two liter bottle of brand name soda on any day for 99 cents. The cheapest LITER (not two liters) of brand name water I have ever seen is $1.25.

            So why don’t you tell me what I don’t get about unit price.

          • Disqus_37216b4O

            “Walk into your local grocery store today and soda is cheaper than water. That is a humongous problem.”

            People do not buy soda solely because they cannot afford water. That is a ridiculous argument. You are not a serious person.

          • Chiked

            I never said people buy sodas “solely” on the basis of price. But you are incredibly naive or you live in your own universe if you think price does not factor in.

          • Mengles

            Can we take on the biggest offenders to logic, bc you are winning that race right now.

      • Dr. Drake Ramoray

        I said there is no data to support limiting soda SIZE effecting the consumption of soda. I’m saying if people want to buy 32 oz of soda and you limit the size to 16 oz that they will probably buy two 16 oz sodas or get free refills of 16 oz sodas.

        When they were planning to pass prohibition they initially passed a law limiting just the sale of alcohol. The bars then sold peanuts and the like and gave away free beer to get around the law. Short of an outright ban or as I have said elsewhere a tax, I don’t think there is much in the way of lawmaking that will alter soda consumption.

        • Mengles

          This seems to be the problem with many of these ivory tower academics: McCarthy, Wachter, Sinsky, Doherty, etc. I truly believe these people are very intelligent when it comes to medicine, who ask very detailed questions when it comes to medicine, but then don’t do the same when it comes to policy that is very political in nature. On issues such as these, doctors are just supposed to take their word for it, and you’re a heretic if you ask for actual evidence or studies, like you are doing.
          There is NO STUDY that shows that limiting soda size results in people buying less soda or that obesity is decreased. They just go to a place where they CAN buy more soda.

    • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com Margalit Gur-Arie

      Just to play devil’s advocate for a minute, it was not proposed to make it illegal for you to drink soda from 16oz containers on your farm or in your home or even on public roads. You could also bring your own pitcher, buy 4 little sodas and dump them all in, and drink away…. That said, I think this soda thing is not likely to put a dent of any size in the problem of obesity anyway, so it is pretty ridiculous….

      However, if we are going to bring in the role of government and the Constitution, then perhaps it would help if we agreed that both these are supposed to protect the freedom of people to make their own decisions. So in that spirit, I would like to see laws prohibiting corporations from creating (through massive sophisticated and often clinical research) foods that are nothing short of addictive and full of unhealthy content. By not passing these laws, I think government is allowing corporations to rob people of their Constitutionally protected rights.

      • Dr. Drake Ramoray

        Thank you for replying Margalit. I don’t think we are quite on the same page. The point was I can buy a car without seatbelts (from a private seller) if I want. I can also use it on my private property if I want. Only when I use my car on public roads does the seatbelt requirement come into play. The mechanism for the enforcement of the law is public roads. Please don’t think like Dr. McCarthy that the idea to pass seatbelt laws has much to do with driver safety, it was passed in part by the insurance lobby because it’s expensive to pay for the care of all those people that fly through their windshields and survive.

        The important point of the seat belt law is the mechanism by which the law is enforced. Similarly if governments want to ban the sale of soda in schools, or in public buildings, then go right ahead. Once you get to private property and private consumption then I have issues.

        With regards to your comment on addictive food, then you are giving the government the power to define what food is and what addictive food is. I have the right to live on a diet consistent entirely of Ho-Ho’s if I so choose (Are they available again yet?). Unfortunately thanks to Obamacare and community rating you don’t have the right not to pay for my healthcare expenses related to my Ho-Ho only diet unless you want to be fined…..er… taxed. To me this one of the more onerous features of the idea of Obamacare. Now the eating of Ho-Ho’s becomes a political issue AND I don’t have any monetary consequences for my poor health choices.

        • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com Margalit Gur-Arie

          I am under no illusion that seat belt laws were passed to protect individual people, just like I don’t think soda laws are proposed to protect them either.

          Regarding addictive edibles, which are a far cry from food, I think you are very vigilant in trying to keep the government from interfering with your freedoms, but perhaps not enough so when it comes to protecting your freedoms from the rule of corporations, which are now arguably more powerful than the government. The Constitution was not created to protect these entities (they are not really people), but the Constitution is now being used by corporations to control both the government and the people.

          I understand that there are fine lines that need to be navigated, but I hope you wouldn’t advocate that we allow some company to sell rat poison lollipops to toddlers, so whether we allow them to sell slower acting poisons (and force taxpayers to subsidize the ingredients) to older citizens, is just a matter of degrees I think, not principle.

          • Dr. Drake Ramoray

            Rat poison lollipops to toddlers who have clotting disorders? (Coumadin is rat poison). Now I’m being silly. Yes I’m aware the line has to be drawn somewhere and we should probably both cease to dispense extreme examples as they take away from our discussion.

            I’m certainly aware of the role of big corporations as well as their effect on government. Just look at big pharma, big insurance, the hospital lobby and the role of government as they relate to the crushing of private medicine. You mis-identify my politics if you think those don’t bother me. I think the government should subsidize no private businesses (I remember the food pyramid growing up….. eat lots of corn), oil, agribusiness, solar, you name it. The government should only prevent monopolies and foster competition through a level playing field, which somehow it always to seems to do the opposite. See: Banks too big to fail, or solo private practice doctors and meaningful use.

            Where we disagree is in regards to personal responsibility and the role of big corporations is in say what we choose to eat and the personal choices that people make. I think otherwise we may have closer opinions in politics than you realize.

          • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com Margalit Gur-Arie

            The enjoyment is mutual, Dr. Joey :-)
            I also feel that our opinions may be pretty close. I have no desire to have government meddling in people’s affairs, but I struggle with the need to counteract the increasingly malevolent effect of corporations in our everyday life… I have no good solutions to offer… only lesser evils….

          • EE Smith

            ^^ I can’t believe someone down-voted this comment. WTF?

    • Guest

      No one is or ever was arguing for a total ban on soda, only very large sizes. What might make more sense to me is if there were standards for what is a small, medium and large. Really, does ANYONE need the option of 64 ounces of soda (big gulp). It’s ridiculous.
      I guess I’m one of the few out there who had no problem with the banning of very large sized soda beverages, and no, I did not vote for Obama.

      • Dr. Drake Ramoray

        Does anybody really need the family pack of Ho-Ho’s? Does anybody really need to go to tanning beds (Ask a dermatologist how safe those are). Does anybody really need to make more than 90K dollars? Why does anyone need to buy a Porsche? Why does anybody need to buy designer jeans? Why does anybody need……….

        If I really want 64 oz of soda and you ban that amount to drink then I will buy two 32 oz. sodas. Now what are you gonna do? I will take one guess. Pass more regulations.
        Who are you to say what anybody else needs?

        • Guest

          It strains credulity that a ban on large size bans would lead to the “ban on everything total government mind and body control” future you envision.

          If you buy a 64 oz soda for 2.50 but 32 oz is 2.00 are you saying people will spend the extra money for 2 sodas? Because if you are poor and can afford one soda what would be SO wrong if it were a smaller size? Nothing? And it would actually be beneficial to people’s health? THE HORROR.

          Who are you to say we shouldn’t regulate anything? Why bother having laws at all? They’re sooooooo restrictive! And people are just going to do whatever they want anyway, right?

          • Dr. Drake Ramoray

            Sigh. I’d much rather be the guy that says people can do whatever they want. I did not say that the government shouldn’t regulate anything. Somehow me asking why soda? and why ban it? = me supporting unrest like Somalia and people dying in the streets.

            I’m saying why pick soda over other things that are bad for you, and if you accept that the government can ban soda because it’s bad for you then by that logic what else can government ban? You seem incapable of understanding that this is a thought experiment.

            Look you want to regulate soda, fine. I don’t think we need to, we disagree. It strains credibility that banning the size of soda will have a significant impact on consumption of soda. Again, no data that banning the size of soda servings will have any effect on soda consumption. You plausibly argue that it may given the change in cost. Then why not just argue for a soda tax? I think this is about the third time that I have said a soda tax is a much better suggestion if you want to regulate soda.

            As I have already pointed out society accepts a liquor tax, a cigarette tax, and a tanning bed tax. Tanning beds are very very bad for you. I don’t use tanning beds. I’m not calling for a ban on tanning beds. I admit I don’t think about the tanning bed tax very much because I don’t use tanning beds. I am not aware of any data on tanning bed usage and tanning bed taxes. Do I think people should be free to use tanning beds even though it’s bad for them, yes. Do I honestly care about a tanning bed tax, no.

            For cigarettes at least there is good data that people smoke less when it costs more. Yes that means by that logic I’m saying then the government can tax you for donuts, for designer jeans, for Porches, Starbucks, etc. I’m not opposed to regulation, that is a part of functioning society (the nice thing about excise taxes is that they are at the point of sale and easy for the public to see.) What I am opposed to the government banning things and the precedent it sets.

            Say you think soda is bad and you should think there is a soda tax. That’s much harder to argue against given historical precedent (prior to the income tax the US government functioned largely on excise taxes), and you can make a reasonable case that taxing soda can effect behavior (see cigarettes, alcohol etc.). (I could try and have the discussion with you about why should the government tax you to encourage or discourage certain behaviors but somehow that would probably end up translating into I don’t want to tax the guy that’s gonna stab you while you are walking in the park because you seem to think I’m some sort of anarchist).

            Regulate soda fine. Tax soda fine. Ban soda sizes it won’t work and makes you look unintelligent.

            PS: The government already dictates what kind of light bulbs I can buy (thanks GW Bush), and what kind of toilet and showerhead I can use. Terrible economy, healthcares a mess, we spend to much money policing the world, 1/2 the world hates us, lets regulate light bulbs and bathroom fixtures! Incidentally the light bulbs being banned were made in America. Doh!

          • Guest

            Ok, thank you for clarifying your position. I actually think a soda tax is a fine alternative but honestly I don’t see how it is not as imposing as the ban on large sizes.

            In a way increasing taxes on items is as restrictive as limiting choices of items because they both accomplish the same goal: certain items will be out of reach to people.

            However, if more people were in favor of a soda tax over a soda ban, I’d be ok with that too.

          • Dr. Drake Ramoray

            The difference to me is that Congress will very rarely or ever give up the abilities to tax. As such there are checks and balances inherent in American government that usually work with regards to taxation (at the local and state level as well).

            If you begin legislating on portion size then that begins the path of legislating other portion restrictions, say the size of donuts, the amount of calories in snacks, super sized candy bars, cheese cake factory cheesecakes, the fact that if I go out to eat for Italian I make three meals out of it.

            Before you know it Mayor Bloomberg and those that think like him want a department of Nutritional Guidance and Education because there are just too many portions of too many foods that people shouldn’t be allowed to eat. Your government will tell you how much to eat. Is this mind control future government talk, perhaps but it’s a natural extension of saying the government can ban sodas larger than size X. (Not very different than the fact I pointed out through the tax way I’m leavin the door open to tax everything).

            Don’t laugh, the literature for portion distortion and obesity is much more robust than the literature for soda and obesity.

            Leave it tied to the tax system. Make your changes that way, if that’s a change you want to see made. I suspect the reason De McCarthy and other don’t like this way is because its usually pretty hard to raise taxes in this country. Much easier to convince people they their benevolent government is looking out for them and you don’t need to be able to drink 64 oz of soda.

            “These are not the droids your looking for.”

          • Disqus_37216b4O

            Too many people waste too much time on the Internet. It makes them sedentary and fat. I propose an across-the-board Internet tax, to be billed per hour that any citizen spends on the Internet.

            See I don’t want to BAN the Internet, I just want to tax it out of the hoi polloi’s reach. For their own good of course.

          • Disqus_37216b4O

            “Who are you to say we shouldn’t regulate anything? Why bother having laws at all?”

            This is the classic Statist strawman. Object to a single, flawed, Nanny State law and they accuse you of wanting no laws whatsoever.

            I’m surprised he didn’t add, “So why don’t you just move to SOMALIA if you don’t want laws, huh? Huh?”

          • Guest

            “It strains credulity…”
            ==========
            I do not think that word means what you think it means.

            We should ban from the internet people who use fancy-sounding words they don’t understand.

        • Guest

          Oops, that should read “ban on large size.” Sorry for typos.

      • Disqus_37216b4O

        The question is not whether anyone NEEDS more than 16 ounces of soda; the question is on whose authority are you deciding what a free people NEED or not.

        Do you trust the government to decide what you “need”, and ban all else?

        And BTW I didn’t vote for Obama either, I voted for Gary Johnson. I’ve had enough of Nanny Statists, either Left or Right.

  • Mengles

    Dr. McCarthy, were you ever president of AMSA?

  • Mengles

    “But honestly, when it comes to obesity, we may need nannies to save ourselves—from ourselves.”
    ============================
    And who better than the government to do so? I mean just ask the upstanding agency known as the IRS.

    • Guest

      Since the IRS is going to be charged with enforcing Obamacare, and they’ll presumably have full access to everyone’s electronic medical records, why not have them automatically tax every American for every pound over their “ideal weight” they are?
      /s

      • Mengles

        Please don’t give them more ideas. lol.

      • Disqus_37216b4O

        I’m glad you appended the “/s”. Otherwise I might have thought the author had joined us in comments.

        • DavidBehar

          I doubt ordinary people are good enough to get a response from this Harvard person.

  • Dr. Drake Ramoray

    I had to point out that about 1/2 the sodas in the picture chosen for the article are diet sodas (read the market responding to consumer desires). Which of course the say well Soda has lots of sugar (or HFC…. I hate HFC!!) Well a coffee from Starbucks has more sugar and calories than an equivalent serving of soda. Ban Starbucks!!. Ban Dunkin Donuts! Ban……
    Before anyone goes there yes, I’m aware there is limited study data that diet sodas are still bad for you (either the chemicals or the fact that it makes you crave bad foods).

    • Chiked

      So you are saying if you can’t ban all bad foods, don’t ban any at all. Childish argument.

      • Dr. Drake Ramoray

        Mis-interpret my point and then insult it. Brilliant. I’m saying why soda? Lots of drinks from Starbucks are worse than soda. Why is there no push to ban Starbucks drinks (There will be once they successfully ban soda). Good job Captain Literal. Sooner or later the government will ban something you enjoy… then what?

        • Chiked

          I am sure I did not mis-interpret your point.

          Why soda? Who freaking cares? If you agree it is bad, let’s ban it and move down the list.

          This paranoia that the government could someday regulate your underwear choice is why nothing gets solved in this country.

          • Dr. Drake Ramoray

            “Why soda? Who freaking cares? If you agree it is bad, let’s ban it and move down the list.”

            I am being paranoid?

          • Mengles

            What other foods do you want to ban? Since you’re interested in going down the list?

          • Disqus_37216b4O

            “Why soda? Who freaking cares? If you agree it is bad, let’s ban it and move down the list.”

            Scratch a Lefty, find a neo-Puritan control freak. Liberal Fascism FTW.

          • Chiked

            Wow….such an intelligent reply.

        • cheeryble

          Why no ban n Starbucks drinks?
          Could it be because you drink a mug or two of coffee as opposed to a litre or two of soda?

  • Anthony D

    A lot of people here have too much faith in the responsibility and clear-mindedness of human beings.

    Let obesity statistics speak for themselves. And statistics like heart disease being the leading cause of death in the United States. Etc. However, not to say that this ban is worth any salt. People are of course still free to live unhealthy lifestyles. Double fist two soft drinks if you want to! Power to the common man! Repeal seat belt laws! Down with BIG BROTHER TYRANNY!!

    • Mengles

      Are you related to Chiked? As you both seem to have real bad reading comprehension.

    • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com Margalit Gur-Arie

      Every bad thing in history starts with lack of “faith in the responsibility and clear-mindedness of human beings”. Not all human beings, of course, just the vast majority of dimwits who are not rich enough or powerful enough to make the rules.
      If you cannot trust a human being to have the clear-mindedness required to buy a can of soda, how can you trust the same foggy mind with selecting a President?

  • DavidBehar

    Dr. McCarthy.

    Boston.

    Feminist.

    Left wing Huff poster.

    Looking down on inferior people.

    Thin by genetics.

    There is nothing you can say that has the slightest validity. Nothing in your noxious, offensive proposal has the slightest scientific evidence to support your supercilious Hate America propaganda.

    My proposal to you.

    Get the hell out of my country. Go to Venezuela.

    • cheeryble

      …and a third of Americans are obese all from their genetics too?

      • Mengles

        Easy to just blame it on genetics. Just bc your mom and dad are obese and you are too, doesn’t mean it’s genetic. It means that you all have the same bad eating habits.

        • cheeryble

          Ever heard of sarcasm?…….I know, it’s the lowest form of wit but we British are very fond of it.
          BTW I’m not overweight and one reason may be I eat heartily but avoid unnecessary….what I’d call “stupid” calories, like having full sugar Coke. Can we expect the moron element of society to look after THEMselves. No, history says they need a little help.
          In any case, rather like smoking, Bllomberg has got a lot of anti sugar drink publicity.
          Good job.

          • C.L.J. Murphy

            I am British as well, and ashamed of what our country has become. No Brit has the moral high ground to lord /anything/ over the colonies these days, as far as I’m concerned.

          • cheeryble

            You should come to Thailand CLJ…..we Brits would have the moral high ground bursting out of our jeans here…..

          • Disqus_37216b4O

            Do you think these people, “the moron element of society”, should be allowed to vote?

          • cheeryble

            Ouch nasty question when we all know politicians are as capable as the electorate are who voted them in, which electorate by definition has an IQ of only a 100.
            This does not bode well, and history sadly proves the boding correct.
            Any alternative though?

          • Disqus_37216b4O

            No really, if there is a class of citizens, “the moron element of society”, which cannot even be trusted to choose what they eat or drink, how on earth can they be trusted to discern who best to rule over them?

            Do we let imbecile children choose their own nannies?

  • Anthony D

    So what is the big deal in going to the supermarket and getting a 2
    liter soda ….oh, nothing is said about beer and drinking hard liquor !!!

    • querywoman

      Ha! I’ve hit on this elsewhere in this thread! Would bootlegging soda stimulate as much crime as alcohol prohibition?
      Soda is a pet love-to-hate and blame cause. How did this happen?
      Most Americans have grown up with relatively clean municipally treated water and there is extreme resentment of those who drink flavored, carbonated water!

  • Gregory Dursteler

    I’d just like to see greater availability of diet soda. Eating out there are often very limited options for diet beverages, making life difficult not only for those on a diet but also diabetics.

    • Mengles

      Diet soda isn’t any better.

      • Gregory Dursteler

        That is not accurate.

  • C.L.J. Murphy

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    ―C.S. Lewis

    • cheeryble

      Presumably you don’t think the sod-o-beses

      • C.L.J. Murphy

        No, I don’t believe in taxpayer-funded “free” lifetime medical care, either via the NHS or Medicaid. Anyone who wishes me to treat them “for free”, or to have complete strangers pick up their tab, should learn to ask nicely.

  • Suzi Q 38

    Allow people to have the freedom to choose sodas and the obesity that comes with it, it they want.
    My husband is NOT obese, and he likes to drink an occasional soda.
    If he wants a 17 oz one, so be it.

    I don’t like soda, but if I wanted one, no one should tell me I can’t have one, including the mayor.

    • Chiked

      Why doesn’t that rule apply to other things? Prescription drugs for instance. Why do I need a prescription from a doctor? If I have been made aware of the risks, no one should stop me taking any drug I want.

  • Ambulance_Driver

    I’m thinking of writing an article: “Dr. Claire McCarthy: Bubble Wrap Mother of a Nation.”

    Alternate title: “Medical School: My License To Be a Busybody.”

  • DavidBehar

    To all supercilious Boston superior people: Try changing your weight.

    There are only two treatments that work to lower weight long term. All others are quackery. The sole effective treatments are the gastric bypass or banding, and the restricted access to food in the diet enforced on people with Prader Willi syndrome by 6 foot tall muscular enforcers, authorized to take food from their grasping fingers.

    Dr. McCarthy is promoting quackery. This idiotic article is immunized by the Free Press Clause of the First Amendment. If she gives medical advice to specific patients about soda consumption, she should be reported for quackery.

    • querywoman

      David, you speak truths. However, I have lost 80 pounds apparently safely with new diabetes treatments! Will ramble on history and then explain my weight loss.

      The food police are so irritating. Humans have always preferred flavored beverages. Relatively clean water is a modern luxury.
      Our ancestors drank fermented beer or wine because it was safer! than dirty stream or lake water.
      Our ancestors also had umpteen dental problems. Dental plaque is a recent discovery, and we then developed better cleaning techniques.
      I am a Type II diabetic. Twice, before my diagnosis, I lost weight intentionally and ended up constantly ill with sinusitis and depressed. I regained all the weight and more.
      I have often popped off to docs that, “All weight loss programs fail 97% of the time.”There is a new treatment that reduces appetite and often facilitates weight loss: Victoza, inspired by lizard spit. The gila monster only eats two or three times a year.
      The gila makes a hormone that slows the emptying of the stomach valve. It was discovered that humans make a similar hormone.
      By getting myself on less insulin, I lost about 30 pounds without really understanding why, and then my new endocrinologist put me on Victoza in September 2012. Since then I have lost about 50 more pounds with reduced appetite and without feeling weak.
      I still hate scales, but now I beg to be weighed. I see my doc every three or four months!

      • DavidBehar

        QW: Glad to hear of your success. What you are talking is a powerful glucagon receptor agonist. Another successful product was a brain cannabis receptor antagonist, turned down by the FDA because a few people got agitated. But 200 patients were 20 pounds lighter after a year, a tremendous achievement. This is clearly the path, medication technology.

        Compare the power of these medications, their modest results, to the idea of taxes making people lose weight.

        These still modest advances bring up another argument. Obesity and Type II diabetes are much less death sentences than they used to be. Now, ordinary overweight is associated with a lower risk of mortality from all causes. Weight regulation was likely set in the meat grinder conditions and drought conditions of 100,000 years ago, when man stood on two legs and developed more intelligence to survive harsh worsening in the weather. The idea that a tax to enlarge and empower an out of control government is quite naive, unless the real agenda is to raise revenues for government, with sodas as a pretext.

        • querywoman

          Soda is a “love to hate” cause for lots of people. I Attempts to regulate soda would be more catastrophic than alcohol prohibition.
          One of reasons for posting is to point out how absurd it is to prevent humans for drinking any flavored water. I feel confident that the soda-bashers don’t want us to routinely drink fermented beverages like our ancestors.

          In Fall 2012, Michelle Obama’s efforts helped limit access for children in public schools to protein and other stuff.
          The children were starving, and certain limits have already been abandoned.
          I brought up my own success with Victoza and the unintentional weight loss to point out that a real weight loss drug is a true medical advance. Everything else, like amphetamines, for weight loss were disasters!
          As for soda, I am a diet cocaholic, the caffeinated type. I drink very little alcohol, don’t smoke, and don’t do illegal drugs.
          The soda industry does have significant economic and other powers. Nevertheless, people buy it because they like it.
          I own a Sodastream machine. I buy about half my sodas now and use the machine the rest of the time. Soda in 2-liter bottles, what I prefer, are very heavy to carry home, and then there is the waste.
          Just recently, Coke, Pepsi, and whoever got a Sodastream commercial killed during a major sports event!
          Sometimes I even carbonate my own water with a little yeast, some sugar, and a few grapes or grape juice. Grapes really get it kick started! It’s ridiculously simple and cheap to make it yourself!
          Yes, wine is fermented too! But this is a highly diluted solution with fermentation stopped early while it is bubbling! Talk about cheap!
          Because I drink Diet Soda, I use very small amounts of sugar, then mix in my Sodamix Cola Zero while it’s bubbling!

          • Chiked

            Please stop with B.S. You have no idea of what you are talking about. And do me a favor. Please stop calling soda, flavored water. It is SUGAR water. Big difference.

          • querywoman

            DUH? I do know what I am discussing! Most soda is FLAVORED water that also includes corn syrup and sometimes cane sugar. Often it includes lab-manufactured sweeteners!

            Soda, just a word, without any sweetener or flavorings is simply carbonated water!

          • Chiked

            Correction….most soda is SUGAR water that also includes flavoring.

            The flavoring along with the pictures of fruits on the bottle is so you and your kids are duped into thinking it is a natural drink.

          • querywoman

            What we call SODA is carbonated water, bubbly fizzy nonalcoholic water, or maybe even very low alcoholic content.

            Fruit juices play a similar game: the fruit juice cocktails being mostly corn syrup with flavors. Also, a lot of the mixed 100% juices with expensive juices like acacia and blueberry are mostly apple juice colored by the darker juices.
            Apple juice is probably the cheapest juice in the US.
            There are very strong marketing forces with political clout behind all manufactured foods in this country.
            500 calories of cane sugar or corn syrup soda with flavorings or 500 calories of juice or juice cocktail at one time is quite a carb jolt!

          • Chiked

            Agreed many juices are guilty of the same thing but still price-wise are not as cheap as sodas….which is why sodas were a good start.

          • querywoman

            Well, Chiked, I thought you were volatile toward, but, as we banter, I see we agree on many things.
            Fruit in its natural form has fiber and who-knows-what-else in it to apparently slow digestion, give a flavor and texture blast, etc. Also, some of my faves, like oranges and bananas, have thick peels that preserve the sweet inner stuff a while.

            Any kind of SUGAR WATER, whether its fruit juice, fruit juices with corn syrup, or flavored carbonated water does not have the same impact on the body.
            The mildly fermented beverages that our ancestors drank like beer and wine had probably fruit sugars converted to alcohol.
            I wonder how high the alcohol must be to “sanitize” most stream water?

        • cheeryble

          “Compare the power of these medications, their modest results, to the idea of taxes making people lose weight.”
          You are suggesting swingeing cigarette taxes and other weighty measures……no public smoking, cancer pictures on packs etc….haven’t worked very effectively?

          • DavidBehar

            Cheeryble: Are you giving the answers to my quiz to Dr.McCarthy? Please, invite this horrible Harvard twit to Commie, Muslim lover Britain, to replace some of the terror docs that burned themselves up trying to blow up your airport. They died not at the hands of the police nor at the hands of your justice system, but at the hands of your worthless Commie health system. She would fit right in with your Commie government and its Commie health system. Under your Commie health system, docs cannot even get killing right.

            The link between smoking and health problems was established in the 1930′s and repeatedly confirmed 1000 times, a 1000 ways. The link between soda and obesity is not established like that.

            One of the chief causes of the rise in obesity in the US happens to be the drop in smoking imposed by our sick and idiotic government on working people. The other was the rise of addictive video games and computers like this one.

          • DavidBehar

            The other unintended consequence? Non-smokers are bankrupting social security by living longer, instead of properly dropping dead in their 50′s.

          • cheeryble

            “The other unintended consequence? Non-smokers are bankrupting social security by living longer, instead of properly dropping dead in their 50′s.”

            How inconsiderate of them……..hang on, 50s you say?
            I’m 64!!

          • DavidBehar

            Are you or not dependent on government money? Dr. MCarthy failed to disclose. If she is, she is arguing in furtherance of her economic interest.

          • cheeryble

            “Are you or not dependent on government money? ”
            Surely you’re not resorting to the ad hominem fallacy?
            However though I think it’s a non-u question I shall answer:
            I do not receive, nor have ever received a cheque for anything from any government anywhere….and it certainly won’t ever happen here in Thailand. OK?
            (full disclosure I have over a lifetime received a few bits of treatment under Britain’s National Health which of course i helped fund in the form of taxation, and like all members of my family have been very pleased with it and particularly that it cast a relatively small tax burden on the country yet performs so well in international tables. As that capitalist among capitalists Mrs Thatcher said “The National Health Service is too important to be left to capitalism”.)

          • C.L.J. Murphy

            “As that capitalist among capitalists Mrs Thatcher said “The National Health Service is too important to be left to capitalism”.”

            She said no such thing, you disingenuous goose.

            What she DID say, when asked if she trusted the National Health Service enough to put herself in its hands, was that that’s why she had taken out private health insurance: “I, along with something like 5 million other people, insure [privately] to enable me to go into hospital on the day I want; at the time I want, and with a doctor I want.”

            Citation:
            General Election Press Conference (Health and Social Security), Smith Square, Westminster, 4 June 1987

          • cheeryble

            “She said no such thing, you disingenuous goose.”

            You can call me mistaken…..which would mean you must have at hand everything said at all times of her career sometimes when she was trying to get elected. (I happened to copy that quote into my collection moons ago and I have no reason to doubt it.) However you can’t without being fey call me disingenuous.

            As for YOUR quote

            “”I………………insure [privately] to enable me to go into hospital on the day I want; at the time I want, and with a doctor I want.”

            let me comment on it with a 2009 statement from the British Medical Association.

            “the BMA is extremely concerned that the policies of some private healthcare insurance companies are preventing or restricting patients exercising choice about (i) the consultants who treat them; (ii) the hospital at which they are treated; (iii) making top up payments to cover any gap between the funding provided by their insurance company and the cost of their chosen private treatment.”
            The NHS offers patients a choice of hospitals and consultants and does not charge for its services.

            Yes the NHS offers choice all the way from choosing a GP upwards, even to the point that if a delay is looming you may ask for a medical venue abroad.

            What Mrs T also failed to point out was that when she goes into hospital and gets treated instantly she takes the place of a fellow citizen who is waiting their turn and unlike her is willing to treat others as their equal and take their chances as a member of a bigger society rather than jumping the queue whilst passing a tip to the man who holds a place open for her near the front.

        • Chiked

          “Compare the power of these medications, their modest results, to the idea of taxes making people lose weight.”

          Straw argument. No one said that.

          • DavidBehar

            I demand that you disclose whether you are a government dependent worker. You and all other left wing ideologues here.

      • Dr. Drake Ramoray

        Congratulations on your improved health and diabetic control.

        • querywoman

          Dr. Ramory, it’s been a joint effort between the new doctor and me. He’s my SIXTH endocrinologist. I am one of his best responses to the Victoza.
          I’m not doing this to please him. It makes me feel better!
          He’s kind of new to town. What I really want is to get him a new patient, or six, or ten
          I think the biggest problem in getting him another patient is that most just mentally “stay” with who they already have.

          • Dr. Drake Ramoray

            You are an atypical response to Victoza although I have seen it as well. Management of any chronic disease requires a good partnership with a health care provider. Do it for you. Good for you. You are healthier and feel better. Win win.

          • querywoman

            I am completely off insulin now. Used to do almost 300 units per day, combo of long and short-acting.
            I take Victoza, Amaryl, and metformin. I still depend on meds, but these are a better match for my endocrine disorders.
            I don’t know how much my own weight loss and improvement is relevant to other patients. I also have a thyroid problem and other endocrine problems: history of severe menstrual problems, but I no longer menstruate.
            This doctor and I are clearly an excellent match! He recently slashed my thyroid med very slightly. If I had had him when younger, maybe I could have had a child.
            I am complex, and he is carefully handling it all.
            I MUST get him more patients. That will make me feel MUCH BETTER!
            Going to bed now.

        • Chiked

          You are congratulating someone who is proud to say that ALL weight loss programs fail 97% of the time. This is why doctors and the drug companies should be locked up and key thrown away.

      • Chiked

        So much ridiculous statements in your post…..not even going to waste my time responding.

        • querywoman

          Think what you want, Chiked! But I have lost 80 pounds without trying, feel better, and occasionally worry that I have a wasting disease!
          My mother had unexplained weight loss, for which she received kudos, and then, months late, discovered she had lung cancer.
          For me, the Victoza SEEMS to be working.
          I have no signs of a wasting disease.

          • Chiked

            Trust me. There is no such thing as losing weight without trying….especially 80 pounds. We have done this before. Eventually it turns out that the miracle drug is doing some other nasty stuff in your body.

            Get rid of the fake corn syrup filled foods in your diet. Your insulin was not made to digest that. Eat more fiber and organic foods and moderate physical daily activity for real weight loss.

          • querywoman

            I don’t eat much corn syrup. Fake corn syrup is a misnomer! Real corn syrup is just that! How about the term “corn syrup infused foods?”

            But, the other matter important to my weight loss was that I had started losing weight BEFORE the Victoza due to less insulin and now am completely off insulin!
            FYI, when I was on insulin, if I shot regularly and monitored my sugars and didn’t let them get high, I could reduce the insulin dosage.
            When I first went on insulin, an educator explained that, when one gets better control, it takes less insulin since one needs more insulin to bring down a higher blood sugar!
            And I do walk more now!

  • querywoman

    I am not implying that meds are the panacea for everyone. I mentioned earlier that I am not sure how relevant my own experience is to other patients.
    I run a risk when I post about this that other people will run to their docs and ask for Victoza, thinking it’s a magic bullet for weight loss.

    Victoza doesn’t work for everyone!
    A lot of my Type 2 friends are terrified of needles. I tell them that my doc has many pills to choose from now and probably would not put them on the Victoza shot at first.

    It’s still an external intervention and an expensive one.
    I often wonder about side effects it may have, but, for now, I much prefer it to insulin.
    What’s important is that it represents continuing research and development of new ways to treat diabetes.

    • Dr. Drake Ramoray

      Thank you for replying querywoman. The panacea comment was directed at DavidBehar, particularly the correction on Cannabinoid antagonists, and as such it was a reply to his comment. There was much more to the removal of Cannabinoid antagonists from the market than “a few people with agitation.” Nor is Victoza without side effects which I am sure you are aware of. You have a excellent understanding of the role of medications and you and I are on the same page :)

      • DavidBehar

        Dr. R: From your cited report:

        ” 9% of rimonabant 20-mg treated
        subjects vs. 5% of placebo treated subjects reported symptoms of depression (depressed
        mood; depression; depressive symptom; or major depression).”

        So what. That is a ridiculous reason to keep a drug off the market, especially a rare drug effective for long term weight loss. Did you see how placebo caused depression in 5% of people. Ban placebo. No one was harmed. Again the FDA bureaucrats care only about covering their rears. This effect merits a warning, but not banning. Then it merits being placed on an antidepressants if the weight loss has resulted in beneficial secondary effects of weight loss on diabetes. Not allowed in this study.

        This mentality disrupted the good care of 5 million Vioxx patients. Their black box warning on the suicide thinking effects of antidepressants disrupted the good care of thousands of adolescents with depression. The anti-depressants were stopped by family doctors, and hundreds of adolescent committed suicide, who would not have. I hold the FDA responsible, and have called for the resignation of the entire Psychopharmacology Committee.

        • Dr. Drake Ramoray

          DavidBehar.
          Rimonabant was released in Europe for several years before they withdrew it from the market. Similarly several other Cannabinoid antagonists that were also on the way to market were discontinued by the manufacturers at various levels of development. I am somewhat less familiar with the data that the Europeans have but they appear to have felt the risk outweighed the benefit as well (they had similar psychiatric concerns.)

          So given the Europeans and the FDA don’t approve, short of a global conspiracy I’m not certain how things could be different. I suppose a case could potentially be made to have released Cannabinoid antagonists to the market with a warning but a discussion on the role of the FDA and government regulating bodies of medications is a bit beyond the scope of this blog post.

          “Did you see how placebo caused depression in 5% of people. Ban placebo. No one was harmed.”

          Your understanding of the control group that placebo causes depression in 5% of subjects taking it and translating that to banning placebo demonstrates a poor understanding of medical research. There was an 80% absolute risk of increased depressive symptoms 5% vs. 9% (yes still a relatively small number). I did not take the time to calculate the relative risk or odds ratio’s for the given studies.

          • DavidBehar

            An adverse event happens to 1 in a million people on placebo, and 1 in 10,000 people on medication, that is a 10,000% increase in risk. Should the medication be kept off the market or should it carry a warning, with the clinician making the decisions rather than politically sensitive bureaucrats?

            Given the rarity and the great necessity of medications that effective reduce weight long term, think of chemotherapy, and its risks.

            Nevertheless, getting back to taxing sodas, we are discussing surgeries, powerful and, according to you, dangerous meds. Does anyone think a tax or a ban on sodas will have any effect on weight loss whatsoever? Dr. McCarthy is quite naive and mistaken, just eager to impose her ideology on an unwilling public. That is Harvard for you. Morally superior to everyone.

          • Dr. Drake Ramoray

            We agree with regards to Dr. McCarthy. We disagree on Medical statistics and the interpretation of studies. (The number needed to treat to have a bad outcome in your example is a little over 1000.)

          • DavidBehar

            I favor placing all medications over the counter unless the therapeutic dose is close to the toxic dose, e.g. warfarin, lithium, and requires sophisticated management, or if highly addictive, such as opiates (but then compare to nicotine and alcohol, over the counter and advertised). Package inserts should be in big print and read at the sixth grade level.

          • DavidBehar

            To Dr. McCarthy: Sodas existed from the 19th Century. McDonalds from the 1950′s. Sugar has been addictive from 100,000 BC.

            The obesity epidemic began in the 1980′s. What happened in the 1980′s? You are at Harvard, and so smart. What happened that coincided with the obesity epidemic?

          • Chiked

            Now I think I have heard just about everything…

          • querywoman

            David, to what kind of sugar is your 100,000 year old reference – honey?

            I have read that honey just might be monkeys’ favorite foods. Monkeys don’t have access to unlimited honey; they have to find hives and work to get the honey.

            Ever taken a good look at railroad freight cars and seen the “corn syrup” marking on some of the cars?

          • querywoman

            I think a tax or ban on sodas would have a kick@ss reaction, something worse than prohibition.
            Is moonshine easier to make than soda?

          • Dorothygreen

            Querywoman, saying a tax on sugar, – and I add unnatural fats and high sodium as well as corn fed animals – would have KA reaction is an
            understatement. Big AG and Big Food will fight in any way they can, they are already. They have a lot to lose if we are a healthier
            population. Coca-Cola is claiming it is helping fight obesity by offering small cokes (at a higher price) but still sell big bottles at a
            discount all the time. You must know by now that processed sugar, high consumption of unnatural fats and high sodium are addictive to
            humans (even animals they feed). That was necessary when our DNA was formed so we would seek out berries, nuts, eat the fat of animals to get essential fatty acids to store for the coming days without food. We need essential fatty acids and some sodium.

            But now, we have access 24/7 to these addictive substances and Big Ag and Food understand this. It is how they make make big profits. You do know income tax payers subsidize this unnatural stuff, don’t you? Thees substances are the leading risk factor for diabetes II, Cardiovascular disease, 40% of
            cancers and other chronic PREVENTABLE diseases and along with the unnecessary diagnostic treatments, high cost, fraud and abuse in health care, render 50% of what is spent considered waste This was an IOM
            and a Price Waterhouse study this year.

            Prohibition doesn’t work – that’s well recognized now. But we do have a model that has worked
            to reduce consumption of potentially addictive substances, That is the tobacco model. We absolutely need to implement all the components of this model from the tax, message on packages, stop low nutrition food
            ads, education, education and education. If we do not do this we will not survive as a country. It is a far bigger National security threat
            than terrorists. It is not just Medicare and Medicaid that are at issue here, it is all of us. Think about it querywomen. Do some real
            queries about what you speak .

            Good for you that you got better but unless you are independently wealthy some of us contributed to your care. Quite frankly, I would rather have a sugar, fat and salt tax pay
            for your care and all other preventable care and let my contribution go to help that young boy who has leukemia and whose medicines cost a million dollars a year.

          • querywoman

            The idea that I have a preventable illness and tax dollars are squandered on me while someone else needs them does not wash with me!
            The high cost of tobacco does seem to have reduced consumption. Smoking, unlike drinking is not a necessity for life. We have to have lots of fluid, whether it’s water or water with additives.
            FYI, I don’t believe Coca Cola cares about obesity at all or that humans are consuming large drinks with corn syrup and chemicals; they care about their profits.
            You seem to want to imply that other people’s money has paid for many of my treatments and perhaps I should feel guilty.
            It’s easy to cherry pick causes, like saying you prefer that your money go to help a kid with leukemia get meds. Most of us also will never get leukemia. Similarly, most of us will never get or need an organ transplant.
            I dislike many health issues and treatments for which my tax and other insurance dollars have been used: excess mammograms and Pap smears, for example. Fortunately, annual Paps are no longer recommended.
            I always disliked it that veterans got access free or very low cost to more medical care than the rest of us. That’s changing.
            I dislike paying for a jogging injury. Look at the huge sports medicine complexes that have evolved. They look profitable, and they are. Why not redirect that money to a kid with leukemia?
            I dislike the high cost of giving birth in the U.S. along with the unnecessary C-sections. Docs are repeatedly told to reduce C-sections, and it doesn’t seem to happen. I finally decided that C-sections are quite profitable for the hospitals, and they don’t want to let go of them.
            Our food supply may be in trouble anyway, because honeybee flocks are dying! The U.S. probably has large stockpiles of food for us. Is this part of the natural cycle of life!
            As for preventable illness, I have a very nasty form of atopic eczema. I have repeatedly gone to docs, begging for treatment, while they diddled around with preventive medicine like cancer screening and the BP cuff.
            The eczema subtly grew into huge masses. Once I got hospitalized with it, called “diabetic cellulitis.” It’s caused me to loose my teeth, giving me trouble moving my hands, made it painful to walk at times, etc.
            The heart of my dermatologist’s treatment is bandaging, and sealing parts of my skin for a while with halobetasol, a high power cortisone ointment. I also use lots of olive oil on my skin, and do my treatments sometime with just olive oil. And he approves!
            What would have helped in these long years would have been if doctors had made simple suggestions like coating my hands with olive oil and sealing them into plastic gloves a while!
            The stuff, hard and dry, is all over my scalp. I just started doing a ridiculously simple treatment, my idea, massaging oil and the halobetasol into my scalp and covering it with a cheap plastic shower cap a few hours! He told me to use both!
            Much agony, and many private insurance and Medicare dollars would have been saved over the years had I starting bandaging my hard, dry spots as a child!

          • querywoman

            Here’s another way to get money for a kid with leukemia: stop putting “hyperactive” kids on amphetamines and use that money for cancer drugs. Stop the psychological testing, etc., and all that other stuff that goes with the ADD industry.

          • querywoman

            Been doing more research today! There is a lot of money and profit for hospitals in the coronary bypass industry. Also, medical mistakes are quite profitable hospitals – they get paid for their mistakes! Bypass surgery is profitable and may often be unnecessary.
            I asked for an itemzed hospital bill once and saw that I had been charged for a several broken needles in attempts to find my vein. I disputed the charges and never heard a word in return!
            I lost a relative and a personal friend to ALS/Lou Gehrigs’s Disease. ALS research is seriously underfunded.
            Suppose I prefer that a million go to an ALS patient
            while you are wanting it for a boy with leukemia! Just causes never end!

          • querywoman

            Here’s some more jewels for you, Dorothygreen! Medicare is a government program that cannot discriminate! You can choose where to designate your private charitable contributions, like to the leukemia meds for a kid.
            Hey, my state of Texas was the first government entity to make the tobacco companies pay for the health conditions that their products aggravate. However, public clinics and hospitals in Texas still want the same copay or more out of poor smokers with smoking-related illnesses. I wonder if any of that money has been spent to pay rent and buy food for emphysema and lung cancer patients!
            Some of the tobacco settlement went to fund the CHIP program for children’s insurance. Most of it probably just went into state coffers for safekeeping. Dan Morales tried to get more than his fair share of that money for himself and a friend, and got time in the slammer.
            If you think a sugar, salt, and fat tax would work and pay for selected health care, dream on! It would be VERY hard to trace illness to any of those foods.

          • Dorothygreen

            I hear what you say, and have heard many times before. he difficulties in accomplishing a RISK tax on processed sugar etc. will take a revolution against all BIGS in the Medical Industrial Complex, Finance, Big Ag and Big Food and elsewhere. I understand that. I don’t dream about itl. I study it, write some about it and practice what I say.
            Your speciifc points about tobacco compared to what I call a RISK tax are no longer vaiid. First, BIg ag and food have already protected themselves from being sued by individuals. With regard to the RISK revenue it would be dedicated to chronic disease primary prevention. Rules, guidelines, laws must be changed. How about subsidizing USA vegetables and fruit and take away the label of “specialty” crop. SNAP with vouchers for vegetables and fruits. Etc.
            We need to get moving on this querywoman. Time is running out. Other countries understand health care costs from greed and unhealthy food. We remain the sickest country of rich countries.

          • querywoman

            My state, Texas, is the most socially chinchy of all states, and was the first government entity to successfully sue the tobacco companies to make them pay for some of the health care damage tobacco causes. Perhaps we knew better than others it drives public costs way up!
            Coca Cola, Dr Pepper, and Pepsi, along with Imperial Sugar, surely pay a lot of taxes already. Even Leona Hemsley had paid plenty of taxes before she got in trouble.
            Texas is also a BIG agriculture state, and we make lots of money off our crops. We wouldn’t want to do anything to make it harder for our farmers, now would we?
            This is a never ending spiral of blame.
            The cost of alcohol, gasoline, tobacco, and home phones are mostly taxes.
            Supposedly the Europeans pay more personal taxes for all their services.
            How about the French high fat and alcohol paradox that may or may not exist?
            Am tired of this. No further comments from me to you.

          • Chiked

            Unbelievable….We have a real epidemic in this country and you want to belittle the discussion by suggesting it is about taxes and weight loss.

        • cheeryble

          Interesting that you immediately jump to “Then it merits being placed on an antidepressants” rather than just a chat or bibliotherapy….perhaps a book on the principles of Stoicism (essentially CBT)…..or if necessary CBT.
          I presume you are a typical American physician so to me this is shocking……especially given major depression is only one of the criteria…..was it present in one case or x cases?
          Hmmmm……

    • Dr. Drake Ramoray

      Thank you for continuing the conversation querywoman. My panacea comment was directed at DavidBehar, and I apologize for not including that in the opening statement. I felt that a correction was I order, particularly in regards to Cannabinoid antagonists and a few people who had agitation portion of his comment. I know you have an excellent understanding of the role of medications and the inherent side effects. We are on the same page :)

  • Disqus_37216b4O

    See MedPage Today — Study: Soda Ban Would Backfire
    ——————————-
    “Attempts to outlaw mega-sized sugary drinks, like New York’s controversial soda ban, could have the unintended consequence of increasing soft drink consumption and obesity, research suggests.

    “In a study published in the April issue of PLoS One, researchers examined whether price trumps portion size when it comes to consumer soda buying habits.

    “The behavioral simulation study found that people purchased more soda when offered deals on multiple smaller-sized drinks, suggesting that a ban on container size will not work if businesses have an economic incentive to offer ‘bundled’ drinks at reduced prices.

    “These data suggest that a sugary drink restriction may not be effective in reducing consumption when businesses are able to sell bundles of soda that add up to the original, larger drink sizes,” the researchers concluded.

    “There will definitely be an incentive for businesses to offer bundles if the policy limiting drink container size goes into effect in order to maximize revenue and profits,” Wilson said.”

    In a war between Statists and Entrepreneurs, always back the entrepreneur.

  • Chiked

    Finally the doctor speaks….I can’t believe his/her posts have gone unchallenged.

  • Guest

    We should only control the lifestyle of those receiving public assistance. Those receiving Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Disability, etc, should have their choices strictly curtailed so as to cost the public purse the least amount of money possible. But those not receiving public assistance should be free to consume what they like.

  • DavidBehar

    There will not be any authoritarian imposition of left wing ideology on the public.

    • Guest

      It’s the Left who keep flirting with jackboot authoritarianism; it’s the Right who have all the guns. Doomed.

    • querywoman

      Lofty but cool statement, David Behar!

  • querywoman

    What did Bloomberg want to do? Limit servings sold of sugared carbonated water in sit-down restaurants to 12 ounces?
    Okay, I will expound on what I see happened.
    Suppose a restaurant sells a full-caloried 20 ounce coke for three bucks now. I live far south of New York and that sounds cheap for New York.
    If sugared soda regulation comes, the restaurants might like it. They might sell a 12 ounce coke for two dollars then. So a patron might buy two drinks them.
    Then the restaurant next door will start advertising 12 ounce cokes for a dollar to compete. And so on! In our “free” country, this is the kind of marketing wars that we have.
    Furthermore, say two people sit down to dinner. One doesn’t like coke, but the other does. So the non-coke drinker orders a coke and gives it to the coke drinker.
    Dr. McCarthy should take an economics class.

    And it goes on and on! It probably wouldn’t sprog crime like alcohol prohibition, since soda would not be extremely illegal, and is not definitely associated with violent behavior, as is alcohol!

  • MaureenABA

    Bans and taxes are the wrong approaches to fighting obesity because neither do a thing to teach people about healthy lifestyle habits. Also, science has repeatedly shown us that when it comes to obesity, all calories count (regardless of their source). Singling out one source of calories for regulation has no basis in science and is counterproductive. Every person is different, and the risk factors that affect one person might be different from their neighbors. A cookie-cutter approach like the one proposed in NYC prevents people from making their own individual decisions.

    • Chiked

      “Bans and taxes are the wrong approaches to fighting obesity because neither do a thing to teach people about healthy lifestyle habits.”
      - Really? Then why have helmet and seatbelt laws. Why do I need a prescription for an FDA approved medication? Why is pot illegal?…..It is ok to require you must be 21 before you buy alcohol, but limiting soda sizes….whoa we are going too far.

      “Singling out one source of calories for regulation has no basis in science and is counterproductive. Every person is different, and the risk factors that affect one person might be different from their neighbors”
      - Again, same question….if you are correct that everyone is different, and risk factors must be individualized, then why not remove all laws on drugs, alcohol or even tobacco. These are all cookie-cutter approaches that prevent people like me from making my own choices. Think of all the money we could be saving.

      • querywoman

        Cars, motorcycles, and tobacco are not necessary for human life. Food and fluid are!

        • Chiked

          Again, shouldn’t I be allowed to decide what is necessary for human life (my life)?

          I mean if the government starts defining what is necessary for human life, where could that end. They may one day decide that 64oz buckets of sugar water is not necessary for human life and try to ban it.

          • querywoman

            Absolutely, Chiked! Or they might decide that you need 64 oz. of sugar water every day to life!

            However, they will PROBABLY never decide that you need to smoke one or more tobacco cigs a day!

      • DavidBehar

        There is good evidence that removing all traffic lights from a town markedly lowered the car crash rate. Chiked is a sarcastic a-hole, but his sarcasm is correct. All meds save those with a lethal dose close to the therapeutic dose, and those that are highly addictive should be available to everyone. Yes, I am aware of the addictiveness and lethality of alcohol and tobacco. They show a hypocrisy and total denial in our political class. Those should be restricted before psych meds or antibiotics are.

        • querywoman

          David, a little off topic, but I have read that British roads don’t have stop signs and signals like US roads and are safer.
          British warnings are painted on the street, where they are easier to see, than twisting your neck for a traffic signal!
          Since you are discussing alcohol and tobacco being addictive, I’ll throw in another favorite “jewel’ of mine.
          When someone claims they don’t want to use prescription meds, I remind them that alcohol and opium have been around a long time. The difference is that prescription meds are refined and tested to try to find the right does.

          • DavidBehar

            If you are on Facebook, friend me to get more criticism of the legal system and its weaknesses. Tell me this pseudonym. Stone junkie addicts are hilariously against the use of drugs, when it comes to functioning better.

          • querywoman

            David, am trying to figure out how to contact you and keep my id concealed. Are you David Behar on FB?

  • querywoman

    Chiked, my parents who would be 87 now for Daddy and 79 for Mama if still alive, said they remembered some doc telling someone to smoke to clear the air around the person.
    The government likes to tell us, even adults, to drink two 8-ounce dairy milks per day!

  • disqus_wKN0IubKP8

    You are an idiot Dr

  • Melissa Gastorf

    What if instead we get rid of the subsidies which help make these foods so cheap and make healthy foods like fruits and vegetables seem more expensive? Makes more sense than a ban.