Soda Wars, serving size, and a little experiment at home.

Not surprisingly, I’m a big fan of Mark Bittman at the New York Times.  He’s a great cook, inspiring and seems like a real person, not a celebrity chef.  And he writes great stuff about food.  He stands in the same camp as Michael Pollan, but his arguments seem even more approachable and less wonkish.  So here’s what he has to say about the proposed limit on soft drink serving size in New York City:  He reframes the argument, saying that sodas and junk food aren’t really food at all, so in regulating their serving and use, it’s akin to regulating the likes of say tobacco and alcohol.  It’s an interesting take.

 “We should be encouraging people to eat real food and discouraging the consumption of non-food. Pretending there’s no difference is siding with the merchants of death who would have us eat junk at the expense of food and spend half our lives earning enough money to deal with the health consequences.”


And I was thinking about serving size, regardless of whether it’s sodas, junk food or something else all together. I have graced the halls of some of the super stores on and off over the years (BJs, Costco), but in the end, I often come away feeling that I just by a lot more of the same sort of thing and we just consume it faster. It makes sense that our brain, evolved as it is to withstand lean periods, sees a large package and thinks, let’s go.  Conversely, a smaller package or portion is going to kick off the impulse to conserve.

So, in the interest of science, in my own family, I am about to embark on our own experiment with this very thing, using that most healthy of examples, milk.  With Teal Green son being 14, taller than me and engaging in Tae Kwondo 10-12 hours a week, not surprisingly, his food consumption is considerable and his milk consumption is downright ridiculous.  I buy the stuff 2 gallons at a time, several times a week.  So our little, unannounced experiment is that I will now buy it in half gallons and track consumption to see if it sticks around a little longer.  I wonder – will having it in a smaller container spark off some impulse not to pour out quite as much?  Could be that I am deluding myself, but it’s worth a shot.