Quick, Someone Call the AAP!

Anyone with half a brain knows very well that sodas contain a lot of sugar.  And consuming a lot of sugar can cause all sorts of tooth rot and will make you fat, the latter leading to bad joints, diabetes, heart disease, and only a very tiny, miniscule shot as ending up in the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue as a “body positive” model.  Of course, excluding those without at least half a brain still sets the bar to high, and invites in the entire nanny do-gooder industry and state to protect you from yourself.

Enter the doctors, spearheading a polyglot of concerned acronyms all focused on forcibly keeping the rest of us healthy because, presumably, we all fall below that half-brain bar. 

“In its scientific statement on the role of added sugars and cardiovascular disease risk in children, the American Heart Association (AHA) concluded that strong evidence supports the association of added sugars with increased cardiovascular disease risk through increased caloric intake, increased adiposity, and dyslipidemia” (somebody call CNN).  In what has to be the strongest argument in favor of geopolitical isolationism yet, “the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition called on national authorities to adopt policies aimed at reducing free sugar intake in infants, children, and adolescents.” 

And stateside, our own American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates warning parents about the demon sugars, advising its members to limit consumption of fruit juices to no more than 4 oz per day in children 1-3, and “recommended that children and adolescents avoid all energy drinks and the routine consumption of carbohydrate-containing sports drinks and instead drink water.”  Which makes one think that the average AAP-sanctioned first-grader’s birthday party of kale chips and water would be not as eagerly attended as once thought.  But hey, pound your drum…

Except now the AAP and AHA are doing what these tiresome groups always do, which is to take their good advice and try to shove them down everyone else’s throats, presumably if they aren’t blocked by a logjam of carrots sticks.  ” On the basis of lessons learned from tobacco-control efforts”, the AAP and AHA want to push for legislation at state and federal levels to implement taxes on sugary beverages to curb consumption.  They cite successes of such initiatives in Chile, Mexico, and Berkley, California, three countries that surely warrant no emulation in a free society.  Many major U.S. cities have soda excise taxes, defended thusly:  “Although people of lower socioeconomic status bear a greater burden from taxation, they also disproportionately benefit from the health and economic benefits from prevention of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.”  And with the applause of the white-coated arbiters of taste, these good monies may be doled out for better purposes:  “For example, the Philadelphia tax has been used to fund prekindergarten programs that are of direct benefit to underserved communities.”  These noble doctors also want more federal and state regulation of sugary drink marketing, because I suppose, misery loves company.  They even want hospitals to ” disincentivize” the purchase of sugary drinks.  Would one soda machine over the federally approved allotment be justification to withhold 2% of Medicare / Medicaid reimbursements on the ground of not meeting community health promotion guidelines?

The point is that for all the dumb or apathetic people roaming the streets, we have more than an overabundance of arrogant, insufferably self-important nagging doctors who detract from the seriousness of what should be their profession by forcing themselves into everyone else’s business.  

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Pat Conrad MD

Pat Conrad is a full-time rural ER doc on the Florida Gulf Coast. After serving as a carrier naval flight officer, he graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and the Tallahassee Family Medicine residency program. His commentary has appeared in Medical Economics and at AuthenticMedicine.com . Conrad’s work stresses individual freedom and autonomy as the crucial foundation for medical excellence, is wary of all collective solutions, and recognizes that the vast majority of poisonous snakebites are concurrent with alcohol consumption. 

  3 comments for “Quick, Someone Call the AAP!

  1. jeremy m md
    April 17, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    doug, we gotta tax something. why not tax soda and other crap food? better than taxing income or hard work

  2. Sarah E
    April 17, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    My hospital has gone “healthy” and now you can only buy water, juice and a variety of weird electrolyte and coconut waters, and the vending machines are filled with really pricy granola bars and peppermint gum.

    So this has prompted me to exercise more by walking 2 blocks to buy Dr. Pepper and cookies from the local market. Suck it healthy initiatives.

  3. Thomas David Guastavino
    April 15, 2019 at 8:00 am

    As long as politicians use sugar tax money for anything other than off offsetting the cost of treating sugar related diseases I do not ever want here about how expensive is health care.

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