Soda is not food, and this fact was never made more clear than when Mark Bittman broke it down for us in his compelling column titled "What is food?" for the New York Times.

"So perhaps we ask: What, exactly, is food? My dictionary calls it “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.” That doesn’t help so much unless you define nutritious. Nutritious food, it says here, “provides those substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.”

Sugar-sweetened beverages don’t meet this description any more than do beer and tobacco and, for that matter, heroin, and they have more in common with these things than they do with carrots. They promote growth all right — in precisely the wrong way — and they do the opposite of promoting health and good condition. They are not food."

This is an important distinction to make for those who don't want to be told what to eat or how much of it to consume. In light of the recent controversial plan by New York's Mayor Bloomberg to ban sodas over 16 ounces from many retail establishments, some desire to be left alone in the "I'll-eat-whatever-I-want" department. But Bittman's beef is on the long-term health of this country. When what you choose to eat (mainly, our dependence on sugar), causes the US to spend billions each year on healthcare treatments for preventable diseases, that's when the government does need to step in, he claims.

So, what's your take on the soda ban?

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