Current affairs

Sugar is Sweet Mayor Bloomberg

I have a secret.

You might call it an addiction.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I’ll wake up and take a hit. In the morning, as hard as I try, I can’t resist it.  After a run, with my meals, at work, when I write, it’s always with me. When I try to stop, my entire body aches for it.

Mayor Bloomberg tries to estimate the size of a Big Gulp.

Mayor Bloomberg tries to estimate the size of a Big Gulp.

I know it’s bad for me. I love the way my right leg shakes uncontrollably.  I love that when I’m talking too fast, my wife asks me, “umm, Neil…how much did you have?”  And, I love that I can tell you about every dealer in town – who has the best stuff, the best quality.  I love how it picks me up when I’m down.  I really want to stop.  But why deny myself something I love so much?

That’s right, I’m addicted to coke (and not the Lindsay Lohan kind).

I don’t remember when my addiction began.  Perhaps it only took three words to hook me…”Hey kid…catch”… as Mean Joe Greene tosses his jersey to the kid in the tunnel.

People (yes, I’m talking to you mom and dad) always tell me that Coca-Cola is just empty calories.  EMPTY, YOU SAY! Sure, a coke offers no nutritional value, but I didn’t feel EMPTY drinking a coke in the hospital when my son was born, or right before I walked down the aisle, or at a baseball game with my dad.  My life is FULL of memories with a coke in my hand.

However, earlier this month, Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Board of Health took the first step in banning the sale of sugary drinks.  Yes, I know it’s only for drinks larger than 16 oz. and only in certain public places, but it’s just the start of taking my love away from me.  Now, I completely understand and even respect what Mayor Bloomberg is trying to do.  Obesity is a huge issue and I would never try to argue otherwise. All you need to do is walk outside and you can see the problem that’s become an epidemic in this country. I could go on like many others and talk about freedom of choice and the politics of obesity, but many are covering those topics – instead, in the interest of saving my love, I’d like to offer Mr. Bloomberg some other ideas for New York to fight obesity:

  • No more bagels, and definitely not with cream cheese.  Anarchy you say – well, a plain bagel has tons of sugar and around 300 calories before you put anything on it.  A 20 oz. coke has 240 calories.  Take that!
  • What about our old friend coffee, disguised as a caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream – 430 calories/52g sugar, and that’s the grande size.  Worse yet, people think it’s coffee.  It’s actually a milkshake.
  • No more Sbarros – I shouldn’t need to explain that one.
XTreme Gulp?  Where have they been hiding that from me.

XTreme Gulp? Where have they been hiding that from me.


It's coffee, how could it be unhealthy.

It’s coffee, how could it be unhealthy.

But, that’s easy stuff.  Let’s get a little more creative, New York, to really make a dent.

  • No park benches.  What’s with all this sitting around, New York?
  • No more taxis and buses.  It’s making you all fat AND let’s not even talk about the pollution.  Stop being so lazy.  You want to go to the theatre, better put on those walking shoes.
  • Goodbye Metrocard, hello MetroMill.  You want to take the N train from Bleeker to 49th, that will be 3 minutes on the MetroMill at a 3.0 pace.  Wait till you experience the morning commute.
  • Weight-controlled apartments. What would you do to lower your rent by 10%, 20%?
  • Exercise-powered iPhones.  Game over people.

If you have any additional ideas, let me know and I’ll pass them on to the Mayor.  I promise to get back to you quickly….

I’ll be up.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/World Bank Photo Collection
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Ty Chay
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Fernando Mattias

Categories: Current affairs, Food, New York City

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