Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 18, 2011

Are We Better Off With a Tax On Soda?

I love soda. There is nothing like hearing the ‘pop’ of a can and then tasting that sweet nectar on your tongue as it flows down your throat. I used to drink two or three cans a day until about ten years ago. Now I drink, on average, perhaps one a week. Sometimes I go weeks without any, and then on a hot weekend I’ll have two or three (or a gallon of unsweetened ice tea).

My point is that while I love soda, I don’t NEED soda. In fact, nobody will deny the fact that there is nothing in soda that is good for you, and eating or drinking any excess sugar is not good for your health. (Soda has been linked to a long list of ailments, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis to just name a few.)

So, when someone is proposing a soda tax, I have to see it as a good thing, especially if it will encourage people to seek out cheaper, healthier alternatives. While in principle I'm against any unnecessary tax, let’s face it, the government has to raise money to provide all the things we take for granted, like roads, schools, national defense, public services, etc. And we already place high taxes on spirits, beer and wine (of which the latter does have proven health benefits), so why not soda as well?

I know, some people (the soda companies) will scream that a nanny government is taking away one of life’s little pleasures or that somehow soda is an important necessity of life that people have a right to. But nobody is proposing taking away anything - just adding a small tax on sometime nobody needs in the first place and will probably be healthier without anyway. So what’s really wrong with that? Nothing in my mind.

- Ken

Friday, February 11, 2011

SOFAS -- New Dietary Acronym

When it comes to your diet, there’s a new acronym in town – SOFAS. Coined by the U.S.D.A., SOFAs stands for Solid Fats and Added Sugars. The first time I saw this term was in Mark Bittman’s op-ed in The New York Times on February 8, 2011. In his article, Bittman discusses the U.S.D.A.’s recently released Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, in which Americans are advised to eat “less food and more fresh foods.” However, Bittman took the U.S.D.A. to task because they couched (forgive the pun) their language so as not to offend food processors, many of whom in his opinion provide food that is a far cry from the real thing.

And so, to take the more positive slant on this, we should follow the U.S.D.A’s recommendation to eat less solid fats and added sugars. However, they may need to be a little more explicit in defining SOFAS to help us find this information when we’re peering over food labels. Most of us have seen trans fats on packaging for prepared foods but not solid fats and added sugars.

In any event, there are now two ways in which SOFAs can inspire you to better health. The first is to reduce your consumption of fats and sugars, and the second is to get up off your sofas and engage in some PA – that’s physical activity for those not in the know about that little acronym.

- Sharron

Thursday, February 3, 2011

One of my favorite days of the year

This has been a good year for Wisconsin football fans. My alma mater went to the Rose Bowl. We don't really need to dwell on how they did. Getting there was a big win.

And, now the world-famous Green Bay Packers are playing (we hope prevailing) during Super Bowl XLV. I doubt my colleagues at BMC have any idea of how much I love Packer football. In fact, I've been a loyal fan since the days of Vince Lombardi. When I announced that I was moving to California, my father bribed me to stay in Milwaukee with a promise of my very own Packer season ticket. Those days people put their tickets in their wills.

The Green Bay Packers have won more championships -- 12 -- than any other team in National Football League history.

Here are some more stats: They won their first three by league standing (1929, 1930 and 1931), and nine since the NFL's playoff system was established in 1933 (1936, 1939, 1944, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1996).

But there have been long gaps between the wins. I wasn't deterred. I vowed to "back the Pack until the Pack came back."  

There is going to be excitement in our home this Sunday. I hate to mention this, but my husband is rooting for the Steelers because he lived in Pittsburgh as a child!

~ Paula Hamilton