A reader quotes an earlier one:
“The right is tone-deaf to the issues effecting its base – Southern and rural working-class whites – while the left seems to think any infringement on someone’s ability to use government benefits is unacceptable.” Come on! Do you really think it is “the left” who doesn’t want any sensible infringement on peoples’ right to buy Mountain Dew and Pringles with food stamps, OR do you think it might have something to do with the lobbyists who work for the sellers and manufacturers of soda and chips, and who have strong influence on Farm Bill legislation?!
Another sends the above graph:
Of course banning sugary and drink and sweet foods seems like a simple analgesic to improving health and dental outcomes, but in reality this would actually be a massively expensive and complex undertaking for the government, with absolutely zero certainty it would reduce tooth decay or obesity.
For instance, the very definition of “unhealthy” is extremely amorphous. Dana Liebelson chronicled 9 foods that have more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut, including a six-inch Subway sub (two doughnuts worth of sugar), 8 oz of Tropicana Orange Juice 2.5 doughnuts) and Yoplait Yogurt (almost 3 doughnuts). This is one reason USDA has emphatically rejected attempts to restrict SNAP benefits in the past: the government would have to sort through almost 300,000 products currently on the market and the 15,000 introduced each year and decide what is healthy and what is not – a subjective and almost impossible task, one that could basically create a federal food surveillance program that would have some serious implications for government intrusion into both food manufacturing and personal grocery store purchasing choices.
And SNAP recipients, especially children where tooth decay actually begins, don’t actually drink more soda than non-SNAP recipients (see graph). The problem, especially amongst low-income individuals, is access to care, and West Virginia ranked 42nd in the country with only 4.7 dentists per 10,000 residents. So you can’t blame SNAP for subsidizing bad teeth. In the end, the real root of the problem your previous reader should be blaming isn’t Mountain Dew Mouth; it’s Lack of Medical Care Mouth.