Should Politicians Regulate Our Sugar Habit?

Florida Republican State Senator Ronda Storms is no stranger to controversial legislation.  She’s the mind behind the 2004 sterilize-a-pedophile bill.  In the case of regulating sugar for those on food stamps (who also happen to be the unhealthiest among us), she might be onto something.

Mark Bittman of the New York Times writes:

When Ronda Storms, a Republican state senator in Florida, is accused of nanny-state-ism for her efforts on behalf of a sane diet, it’s worth noting. When she introduced a bill to prevent people in Florida from spending food stamps on unhealthy items like candy, chips and soda, she broke ranks: few of her party have taken on Big Food. And as someone who has called for the defunding of an educational Planned Parenthood program and banning library book displays supporting Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, she is hardly in her party’s left wing. Not surprisingly, she’s faced criticism from every corner: Democrats think she’s attacking poor people, and Republicans see Michelle Obama. Soon after Storms proposed the bill, she told me, “Coca-Cola and Kraft were in my office” hating it.  Click here to read the full NYT article, “Regulating Our Sugar Habit” by Mark Bittman.

Bittman’s most important point is that food stamp payments have been based on the cost of a nutritionally adequate diet, and do not account for the added cost of nutritionally-empty food.  In addition, the poorest among us — those on food stamps — are also the least likely to have access to healthcare to correct diet-related ailments.  Often, they are using those food stamps to buy meals for children.  The correlation between food stamps and obesity is well-documented.  What if we ensured, through the regulation of food stamps, that our nation’s poorest children and adults spent government dollars on nutritious food?

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