The Governor of New York State has proposed a tax on soft drinks and “juice beverages” (having met the gentleman, and worked with him for a brief time, I am not wholly convinced that he does, in fact, understand the difference between juice and “juice-based drinks”.) This is not to suggest that I do not respect Mr. Patterson’s intelligence, which I do admire, even as I admire his ability to have grown up into a productive human being in New York City, despite being blind (imagine being blind and riding the subway, where half the time, they do not tell you what station you are at: I can appreciate this to a great extent as I am vision-impaired)
As a nutritionist, I agree with Mr. Patterson’s assessment that soft drinks and “juice beverages” are junk foods, with little or no nutritional value. Worse, they are not just “flavored water”, as they are made of many chemicals which alter the way our bodies’ systems work.
Still, I do not think that the government should take on the role of nutritionist, and, as a nutritionist, I do know that people will often not do what you suggest to them, even when they know that what you have suggested will be good for them and help them achieve their goals. We have enough criminals to keep the government happy for a long time, and, to my knowledge, the government does not have enough agents to police each family’s eating habits in the home.
Don’t get me wrong! I drink water mostly, and sometimes I drink juices that I have made from fresh vegetables in the juicer I have in my home.
Nevertheless, just as the government’s 20-plus-year stop-smoking campaign has still not convinced many citizens, and has not prevented new people from taking up the habit, I do not believe that the government can, or should, attempt to police people’s dietary habits.
Patterson’s idea is to tax soft drinks into oblivion, but the sad fact is that people will just pay for the expensive soft drinks and not eat something healthy in order to save money for the soft drinks.
Government has no place in our kitchens.