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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mayor's Soft Drink Ban Isn't Really About Calories

Posted By on Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 5:35 PM

click to enlarge Wouldn't you rather have a can of guava nectar? - THE UPSTAIRS ROOM/FLICKR
Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

At SFoodie's sister news blog, The Snitch, editor Joe Eskenazi ticks off the reasons Mayor Newsom's ban on sodas in vending machines on city property doesn't make sense.

Newsom unleashed the directive in April, but ― blame Fanta stockpiles in city warehouses ― the ban is only really registering now. Like the good reporter he is, Eskenazi bore down into logic. Like here: "While Newsom is pitching this as an anti-obesity move, it clearly fails in that measure. "In principle, it's a good thought," says U.C. San Francisco critical care nutritionist Irma Ishkanian of the mayor's anti-soda jihad. "By replacing sodas with soy milk or milk or juices you give people more calcium and nutrients. But as far as obesity, if you have two cans or bottles of juice, you're still having just as many or more calories. It's not really helping with obesity."

Sure. But Newsom's ban ultimately has little to do with fighting obesity.

It's the symbolism of kicking corporate ass, splicing his own image onto public skepticism about high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS revulsion is especially potent in San Francisco, where dog-eared copies of The Omnivore's Dilemma are back-of-the-tank fixtures in bathrooms all over town.

Of course, depending on which juices and waters are now tumbling into the receiving bins of city vending machines, the net gain could, in fact, be nil. That is, if anyone noticed. But politicians rarely let details get in the way of a little vitality-boosting symbolism.

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