New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent proposal to limit sugary drinks sold by restaurants, cinemas, street vendors, and stadiums in his city to no more than 16 ounces (grocery stores would be exempt) is a fine example of leadership, but it does not go nearly far enough.
Two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in the US are now overweight or obese.
What do all these fatties have in common? They are weak, and they need government to step in and mandate portion sizes for them.
Too many citizens fail to practice self-control, and it is up to elected officials to show us the way.
Nanny Bloomberg, as his critics affectionately call him, is on the right track. No more giant 32-ounce vats of soda should be allowed. But why stop there?
Our government wardens could sharpen their pencils and prepare a black list of other prohibited items items that are currently available in excessive portions to tempt defenseless consumers into over-indulging and further expanding their bulging waistlines.
They could start with those “king-size” candy bars that are sold in all the convenience stores. If a regular size bar was good enough during the Eisenhower administration, it should be good enough today.
We also don’t need those quarter-pound burgers that have become the standard size in restaurants. A “regular” burger (by 1950s standards) is plenty. We probably shouldn’t be eating meat at all.
Ice cream parlors could be restricted to one scoop per cone no double dipping allowed.
Our elected officials could step in and limit our pizza choices, as well. They could mandate a maximum of one topping per pie (with the exception of veggies, which would not be limited). The meat-lovers special would become a thing of the past, and extra cheese would be strictly forbidden. Surely this would help turn the tide in the war on weight.
Portion sizes could also be imposed on the sandwich industry. Foot-long subs are the work of the devil, and even six-inch portions may be too much. The government might want to consider banning anything more than four inches if it wants Americans to shape up.
The policy of limiting temptation could be extended to the liquor industry, as well.
Selling liquor in liters or even larger-sized containers encourages weak-willed people to have parties or over-imbibe.
If our elected officials limited liquor sales to those little one-ounce bottles they sell on airplanes, it would not only help people lose weight, it would reduce rampant intoxication, because one ounce of hooch is not enough to push the average consumer over the limit.
Bloomberg hit the nail on the head. Portion size is our enemy. And, since citizens are too stupid and lazy to make good decisions for themselves, it is up to government to show us the way.
I bet if our esteemed leaders put their heads together, they could come up with the optimum size for serving vessels in order to simplify things even more. The government could recall all existing dinnerware, and each man, woman, and child could be issued an official plate and cup to limit their intake of food and beverages.
People would have to carry their state-issued plates and cups with them at all times. Any food or beverage that does not fit on the plate or in the cup could be considered an unlawful portion.
To further drive home the point, government could jack up the taxes on salt, fat, caffeine, and any other ingredients it considers unacceptable.
This revenue could be used to pay for legions of brown-shirted food police equipped with rulers and other measuring devices who could be deployed to cities and towns across the nation to be sure the proletariat is not over-indulging in prohibited treats.
Part of the logic behind Bloomberg’s proposal is that people are lazy, and will buy whatever serving size is in front of them. Thus, if only smaller containers are available, people will eat and drink less.
However, some sneaky individuals might figure out that they can drink more if they simply buy more than one soda (or whatever the product is).
To be really safe, the government should probably implement a national sweet beverage database. Citizens could be required to register, and each consumer would have to get a prescription to get his ration of soda. That would prevent people from sneaking from restaurant to restaurant, sucking down more soda than the government considers acceptable.
We are lucky to live in a country where our benevolent government stands at the ready, poised to do our thinking for us in order to save us from ourselves.