The Anti-Soda Empire Strikes Back in San Jose

130501_SUG_ColaDrinkOne would think that the food regulators would give up on their incessant lobbying for total food and beverage control, given the evidence that taxing and regulating soda (and other “junk food”) won’t have a meaningful effect on obesity rates. City of San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra didn’t just propose a soda tax or portion control, but a ban on ALL sodas — including zero-calorie diet beverages — and whole milk at city-owned facilities and events.

This is not the first time the San Jose City Council has tried, and failed, to preach health and wellness to its citizens. Former City Councilwoman Nora Campos tried to cap the number of fast food restaurants in the city; mercifully, the resolution failed to pass.

The citizens of California have repeatedly decided that they want the government out of their fountain drinks. In May, a soda tax pushed by activists was introduced to the California State Legislature, only to be put in the “suspense file” — legislative-speak for “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

The repeated failure of food nannies is largely due to the lack of scientific evidence for and preponderance of evidence against the effectiveness of food regulation. Studies have shown that when persons decrease their consumption in one area like soft drinks, they simply increase their caloric intake in another. In other words, banning a refreshing can of cola in your public library will not stop people from getting their calories elsewhere. Since activists have never been one to let facts stand in their way, the people’s overwhelmingly negative opinion on food regulation – roughly 6 in 10 reject soda taxes, according to an Associated Press poll – should suffice.

With many Americans labeled as obese, it is easy to point fingers at a “cure all” scapegoat for American obesity. However, government food regulations are not the answer. America’s “epidemic” of obesity can be cured by regulating one’s food intake and increasing one’s exercise. As we have said, a calorie is a calorie and a daily walk in the city park does more for everyone than an onerous regulatory city council.

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