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Reader Question: "What do you think of the large-size soda ban in New York and other so-called 'fat taxes?'"
Dr. Peeke says: Bloomberg noted up front that he proposed the ban to garner more attention to our super-sized portions. Clearly it’s not going to solve the obesity crisis in New York City, but it has opened many people’s minds to their choices and consequences.
Based on what we know about food addiction, sugar addicts will simply buy more smaller-size sodas and/or shift their addiction to any one of the other sugar options available. It’s somewhat akin to telling an alcoholic they can’t drink a bottle of wine, just half bottles. He’s still hooked, and there will be many more half bottles in his recyclable bin.
Finally, before hopping on any bandwagon to tax sodas and the like, I want a guarantee that the revenue generated truly will be invested in programs and services to educate people about healthy nutrition, as well as provide better food options for kids. The other issue with taxes is that they're a slippery slope. You start with sodas. Then what? Ice cream? It was far easier with cigarettes as they are one discreet entity with no redeeming qualities.
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Dr. Pamela Peeke is Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland, WebMD's lifestyle expert, Chief Medical Correspondent for Discovery Health TV, host of the Could You Survive series and the national spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine's Exercise is Medicine global campaign. A triathlete and mountaineer, she is known as the "doc who walks the talk." The New York Times best-selling author of Fight Fat After Forty, Body for Life for Women, and Fit to Live, Dr. Peeke recently published another New York Times best-seller, The Hunger Fix: The Three Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction. For more information, visit www.drpeeke.com.
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