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Our cupholders can continue to be full

Lovers of extra-large sweet tea and real colas can rejoice – their cupholders will continue to be overflowing.

The soldiers against sugar lost two battles in the past few days.

On Monday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s much-publicized ban on super-size sugary drinks was struck down by a New York state supreme court justice, who said the ban unfairly applied only to beverages with sugar and was also unfair in applying only to some places that sell the drinks.

Bloomberg has vowed to appeal and remains confident he’ll eventually win his crusade to prevent the sale of drinks in containers holding more than 16 ounces. Remember one of those glass measuring cups from your kitchen holds eight ounces, so that’s only a two-cup size drink.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Mississippi Legislature last week passed what has been dubbed the “Anti-Bloomberg Bill” and sent it to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature.

Mississippi’s bill says cities and towns cannot enact regulations to cap portion sizes, keep toys out of kids’ meals or require calorie numbers in food items to be posted.

According to a story that ran on The Associated Press wire, Hazlehurst resident, Rep. Gregory Holloway, who represents District 76 and Claiborne, Copiah, and Hinds counties, helped shepherd the Anti-Bloomberg Bill through the House.

He was quoted as saying, “We don’t want local municipalities experimenting with labeling food and any organic agenda. We want that authority to rest with the Legislature.”

In a state where citizens hold the right to personal freedom as particularly dear, the legislature’s action in curbing local governments may grate on more than a few folks. But I don’t think there was ever any danger any local government in Mississippi was going to rush out and pass a Bloomberg law anytime soon anyway.

But if any town or county wanted to, they’ve lost their chance once the governor signs the Anti-Bloomberg Bill.

Now, I’m pretty health conscious when it comes to my food choices – most of the time – but if I want occasionally to binge on a super-size Pepsi instead of my usual super-size diet version, I do want be able to exercise that right. So I’m glad the New York judge stopped Bloomberg’s action before the idea spread like wildfire.

Besides, what might happen to all those free refill stations in every fast-food place from coast to coast if this got out of hand? Would we be allowed to refill those two-cup plastic glasses, or not?

Now, thanks to our legislature, I can rest assured Brookhaven’s board of aldermen and the Lincoln County board of supervisors will not be able to stop me from getting a giant cup of calories any time I want it.

The fascination by politicians with micromanaging what we eat mystifies me.

Yes, Mississippi is the most obese state in the nation, and obesity creates risks for a multitude of illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, but I don’t think any government – local, state or federal – is going to change the Southern eating habits that are engrained generations deep into our culture.

Health care workers’ continued prodding of their patients and ongoing education about healthy food options are about the only things that might have a chance of changing the way people eat.

So our lawmakers could have saved their time. Speaking of time, how are you liking that extra hour every evening?

Rachel Eide is editor/general manager of The Daily Leader. Contact her at rachel.eide@dailyleader.com.