Eye-rolling news from the San Francisco Chronicle:
Under an executive order from Mayor Gavin Newsom, Coke, Pepsi and Fanta Orange are no longer allowed in vending machines on city property, although their diet counterparts are – up to a point.
Newsom’s directive, issued in April but whose practical impacts are starting to be felt now, bars calorically sweetened beverages from vending machines on city property.
That includes non-diet sodas, sports drinks and artificially sweetened water. Juice must be 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners. Diet sodas can be no more than 25 percent of the items offered, the directive says.
There should be “ample choices” of water, “soy milk, rice milk and other similar dairy or non dairy milk,” says the directive, which also covers fat and sugar content in vending machine snacks.
You can read the whole thing if you want, but here’s the general idea: San Francisco’s city officials have decided that it’s not the government’s job to simply make sure you have the freedom to pursue any food or drink that’ll make you happy (hmm… “pursuit of happiness”… it sounds so familiar). Rather, they feel it is the role of government to suspend your right to buy soda in a public building because there are way too many fatties around.
Yes, I am fully aware that this only applies to vending machines on public property. That still doesn’t make it any less dangerous a precedent. Public schools are city property. So are courthouses. So are a whole lot more places where U.S. citizens work, who might like to enjoy a Pepsi during their break.
Also (as is typical with unnecessary and capricious legislation) it doesn’t even make sense, as Cato’s Jason Kuznicki rightly points out:
What can I say about San Francisco’s ban on vending machines for sugared soft drinks on city property?
I could say that you’ll be even fatter if you substitute whole milk for Coke, ounce for ounce, because you will be.
I could say that the extra nutrients in milk don’t do anything to make it less fattening, because they don’t.
I could say that 12 ounces of soy milk has 198 calories, which is still well above Coke’s 140.
I could even say that switching to skim milk doesn’t help you all that much — if you do the math, you’ll find that there are 124.5 calories in 12oz of skim milk, compared, again, to 140 for Coke.
I could also point out that a tall Starbucks Frappuccino — also 12 ounces, and not covered by the ban — has 190 calories, largely from sugar and fat.
I could ask: Does anyone ever order a plain Frappuccino? A tall mocha Frappuccino has 220 calories.
Finally, I could point out that banning vending-machine drinks while leaving Starbucks untouched is a pretty rank example of class privilege at work — my indulgences are sophisticated and upper-class, while yours are vulgar and prole.
More calories in milk when compare to cola. And more fat. One single cup of whole milk has 7.9 grams of fat. Reduced fat milk drops the amount of fat to 4.8 grams. Compared with the same amount of cola? Zero fat. None. Zilch. A cup of coke has absolutely no fat.
I’m not saying cola is healthy. There are, after all, some health risks associate with drinking too many carbonated or caffeinated beverages. But it lays to waste the notion that San Francisco’s government really gives a damn about the health of their constituents.
If they’d even looked at the nutritional facts printed on the damn labels, they’d have seen that milk is a terrible substitute for cola, if your aim is to reduce obesity.
This is why I always feel like punching people who actually try to convince me that the government really puts a lot of time, effort and brainpower into making laws. Or even that they stop for a minute to see if the situation warrants a damn law in the first place.