Warning, you're getting fat, right here, right now, is what most non-diet soda cans and bottles should be warning you.
That, at least, seems to be the sentiment of California state Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning. The Carmel-based Democrat this week proposed a law that would put this warning label on the front every added-sugar beverage that contains 75 or more calories per each 12 ounces of liquid:
STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.
Monning's office says the legislation is a response to California's “skyrocketing diabetes and obesity rates.” Targeted beverages include sodas, sweet teas, sports drinks and energy drinks.
It's not like we're unaware. We've chosen our poison.
But nanny state legislation continues to ooze out of Sacramento like so much pink slime. And California isn't the only place where this happens.
In 2012, New York City officials, supported by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, attempted to ban sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces. Courts struck down the prohibition.
A New York State Court of Appeals justice suggested that the ban infringed upon the “personal autonomy” of the city's citizens.
Monning's office, however, says a California Field Poll last year found that 74 percent of likely voters in the Golden State support warning labels on sugary drinks.
About 14 percent of Californians have diabetes, an all-time high, and more than 60 percent of California’s adults are overweight. A soda a day can increase your risk of developing diabetes and becoming overweight by more than one-fourth, according to Monning's people.
He has a point: The results of consuming too much sugar shows up in hospitals, affecting one in three patients and increasing their per-visit costs by $2,200, cash that is sometimes billed to the taxpayers.
Given the rock solid scientific evidence showing the dangers of sugary beverages, the state of California has a responsibility to inform consumers about products proven to be harmful to the public’s health. This bill will give Californians the at-a-glance information they need to make more healthful choices every day.