Op-Ed of the Day: Food and class war

Last week, New York City approved a ban on super-sized sodas in restaurants, movie theaters and street carts. (Although you can still buy a giant soda at your local 7-11 and the like.)

Knowledge Wharton Today asks whether the ban will even work.

Some experts argue that bans or taxes could give consumers pause — either due to a raised consciousness about the health risks associated with too much soda, or, in the case of a tax, because the drinks will become more expensive. But others worry that such methods of curbing obesity will have a number of unintended consequences — even hurting low-income Americans, many of whom already suffer from a lack of affordable food options.

Why is it so hard to change our eating patterns?

An op-ed in The American Conservative about the ban that grabbed Kerri Miller’s attention asks that same question. Specifically, the author, Rod Dreher, doesn’t understand why healthy eating is rejected by so many of his fellow conservatives.

When it comes to what we do with our bodies at the table…we react to criticism, however thoughtful, as hysterically as any Left Coast libertine denied a guilt-free canoodle.

Yes, Dreher says we are right to complain about the time it takes to cook a meal or work out, but if we want to fight obesity, Americans need to look at their own character.

To a degree we are uncomfortable admitting, America’s weight problem has to do with laziness and childishness. In general, we don’t want to put significant thought or effort into the food we eat and serve, and we don’t want to deny ourselves anything that suits our tastes. And we–especially we on the right–comfort ourselves with the story that anybody who challenges this indulgent mindset, this refusal to recognize and live by limits, must be some sort of lunchbox liberal or prissy snob.

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host

  • David Poretti

    For many in our culture, food has replaced the genuineness and intimacy of emotions. Feeling sad? Eat. Feeling happy? Eat. Entertaining friends? Eat. Feeling lonely? Bored? Nervous? Coupled with our drive for instant gratification, that leads to eating instant food – processed, salty & sweet. Top it off with our increasingly sedentary lifestyle…its “too scary” to let the kids play outside, get ‘em a video. How many of us spend our day going from a computer at work to a TV at home, with a ride in a car in between? How many daily activities revolve around food, or have incorporated food as part of the ritual?