At the end of May, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a 16-ounce size limit on sweetened beverages sold in city restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums and food carts. “All across the country, everybody recognizes obesity as a growing, serious problem…I think it’s fair to say that while everyone else is sitting around complaining, New York City is acting,” stated the mayor.

Bravo! to (my) New York City! While this is not the absolute step to combat obesity, it is an awareness that I hope will open up a stronger conversation about the ingredients in the sweetened beverages. Coca–Cola responded by placing a full page ad in The New York Times with the headline: Everything in moderation. Except fun, try to have lots of that.

The “feel good” campaign promotes Coke as a health conscious company concerned about calorie intake as well as physical activity. It also offers insight to the company’s philanthropic mission to preserve America’s national parks. And Coke has created a fancy new website – – which “pushes” (as in drugs) Coca-Cola as a wonderful part of our diet and culture. It’s a good thing I wasn’t having my blood pressure checked as I was viewing the site because I fear it would have been off the charts!

Of course, calories are a critical component of the obesity problem. More calories consumed than calories exerted is going to cause weight gain. There’s another aspect to the obesity epidemic and that’s nutrients, or lack thereof, consumed by children and adults every day. The SAD (Standard American Diet) is primarily sugar and white flour (processed carbohydrates) and processed meat. According to the (U.S.) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no (U.S.) state is meeting national objectives for consumption of fruits and vegetables!

Here is some interesting information I did find on the new Coke site: a 7.5 fl oz. can of Coca-Cola has 25g of sugar and 90 calories. A 6.75 fl oz. juice box of Hi-C Poppin’ Lemonade has 26g of sugar and 100 calories! If we are going to solve the obesity problem by calories alone, this implies that a small can of Coke is better than a juice (the front of the package says made with real fruit juice; the Nutrition Facts label says 10% fruit juice) box. Good heavens!

The underlying problem is the ingredients in our food. How is the food you are eating being made? Do you really know what you are eating? Both the Hi-C mentioned above and Coca-Cola are made with high-fructose corn syrup. The debate on whether HFCS is better or worse than “regular” sugar is complicated and simple. Scientists can dissect the chemical components but the bottom line is it is a processed sweetener, one that Dr. Mark Hyman says to avoid at all costs. (If you missed my interview with Dr. Hyman, you can access it here.) We have to eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners from our diet; even individuals who are not overweight need to do this. Skinny people can be unhealthy if they are not eating nutrient-rich food.

Though Coca-Cola has billions to spend on advertising and can well afford a full page ad in The New York Times and many other newspapers, please do not be fooled by the saying, “everything in moderation.” We need to eliminate processed sugar(s) from our diet in order to achieve optimal health and well-being, and to lose weight.

Next Steps:

  • Look at the packaged food in your kitchen. Do you have anything with high-fructose corn syrup?
  • Be a detective and see what other processed sweeteners are in your food. Sucrose, sucralose, maltodextrin, dextrose?
  • Be aware of how many fruits and vegetables you eat daily. You need 2 ½ cups to 6 ½ cups a day, depending on total calorie intake.
  • Commit to being the healthiest, happiest YOU.

These steps will help you keep nutritious and delicious food at your fingertips If you are concerned about your diet or if your lifestyle is not supporting your health and well-being, Contact me or call 413-282-7286. At Bravo! Wellness, I work with my clients to create manageable lifestyle changes so they are able to achieve their greatest potential in their professional and personal lives. Start living your best life today! I’m here to support you.

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5 Responses to "Gulp!"
  1. Susan Newman says:

    Jodi, what a great and informative post! Hooray for you and the Mayor talking about this serious subject. I’m fortunate that I grew up in a house where we ate balanced meals and plenty of natural foods.

    I’m happy to report that I do not eat much sugar at all, a bit allergic. Even when I supplement with a power bar I buy ones with very lower sugar. I eat whole grains, lean fish and poultry, real fruits and veges. And whenever I drink soda, it’s diet which I know isn’t great either. I do drink a tad too much coffee, but try not to drink any after 4pm.

    Some of the natural unsweetened teas are quite good. I also shop locally, so my breads and other foods are made and grown around here.

    My downfall is pretzels and salty snacks (we can’t be all good all the time.)

    Any thoughts about salt? 🙂

  2. Dorethia says:

    WOW! My thing is, if you know your product is unhealthy – simply market it as a taste good, feel good product. Don’t try to MAKE it healthy by saying it is – without changing the ingredients.

    – Dorethia

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Love your point about being the healthiest, happiest you! It seems like there’s so many small things you can do to make yourself feel better by being healthy, and with summer starting, it’s so easy to get fresh fruit and vegetables at farmer’s markets and roadside stands. It’s a great time to make a change!

  4. Jodi says:

    It really is frustrating, Dorethia. And confusing…and that’s what gets me. We’re talking about people’s health and their lives. Appreciate your comment…thanks for reading my blog.

  5. Jodi says:

    Indeed, now is a great time to make a change. And, there are many small steps to take that add up to big, long-lasting, healthy change. 🙂 Thanks for reading and submitting your comment…appreciate you!

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