Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Free diabetes medication with any soda purchase!

Thank you for all the feedback on yesterday's Bin Laden blog entry.  I was particularly relieved to learn that I wasn't the only one surprised at my desire to celebrate a person's death.  Your conspiracy theories about his funeral also amused me greatly.  Keep the comments and feedback coming in!

Today I have to go back to London to file US immigration paperwork, then wait around while they shuffle documents. So the blog may go a bit quiet for a while.  But I thought I'd share one last DC observation with you today.  Here's a photo I snapped in the supermarket this week.  It surprised me, so I did a bit of research into diabetes in the USA*.  According to the American Diabetes Association, 8.3% of the US population have diabetes, including an estimated 7 million yet undiagnosed people.  

A controversial site I found, natural news  indicated that a non peer-reviewed study released early last year had linked some 130,000 cases of diabetes (and other serious conditions) to overconsumption of soda.  This was unsurprisingly heavily refuted by soda companies.  To British readers, raised with a post-colonial scepticism of corn syrup substitutes for sugar, the soda theory will come as no surprise.  However, my Hank has grown up with the belief that cola, for instance, is good for you - it's both cleansing and revitalising, he chirps!  Ah yes, Hank, perhaps it was in the days when men wore leather chaps and ate beef jerky for breakfast, but today I'm pretty sure a glass of carrot juice with a twist of ginger would be healthier!  

Of course, ginger-infused carrot juice can't be sold by the bucketload on shelves stacked higher, deeper and wider than in a University library.  Neither can carrot juice have an non-refrigerated shelf life of "forever."  Moreover, carrot juice is pricier to produce and far less addictive.  So why would anyone bother to sell it cheaply?

The pictured advertisement for free diabetes medication in the soda aisle of the supermarket just sent me over the edge.  Why not just put a sign up saying:

"If you're too greedy or lazy to control your consumption of dangerous sugars, do take advantage of  our subsidised diabetes medication...  Whatever it takes to keep you shopping for soda in our store, chubber!"

Am I being unfair?  Perhaps the store was merely trying to direct shoppers who are already unhealthy (and perhaps poor) towards at least a diagnosis of the problem.

Hmmmm.  What do you think?

*Diabetes is also a growing problem in the UK, with the increase in Type 2 Diabetes primarily being fueled by obesity.  Despite - or perhaps because of - all medical diagnosis and some treatments being funded by the taxpayer, your doctor will give you a really hard time about your lifestyle rather than just handing out free medication.  This is, to me, the greatest advantage of a state-led healthcare system.  Nobody is incentivised to over-medicate you.  Your good health is in the tax payer's interest.  It's all considered an investment in the health of the nation ...  Comrade, dude, peace, man!

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