Soda fizzles from city buildings but bad food remains

Local dietitian, Kate Scarlata  said its hypocritical for the City to ban sugary drinks but not sugary foods. Owner of the Cafe Metro in Boston City Hall, Kathy Tatreaux said she would go out of business if the city banned the sugary foods.

Less than a week after Mayor Thomas Menino’s campaign to remove sugary drinks from Hub-owned buildings went into effect, there is hardly a regular soda in sight at City Hall.

But food experts say the demand to denounce high caloric drinks and still allow fatty foods to be sold in city cafeterias is “hypocritical.”

“It’s a little vague and misguided,” said Kate Scarlata, a licensed dietitian with more than 20 years of experience in the nutrition field.

Scarlata said while she applauds the fact that the city is moving in the right, healthy direction, officials should consider what else is being offered up inside their buildings.

“Comparatively, [foods served] are in some ways worse,” she said.

At one of the two cafes in City Hall, hungry workers can chow down on stacks of pancakes with butter, fake maple syrup and a side of bacon.

Other menu options include powdered donuts, cheese Danish pastries dipped in a honey-like glaze and a variety of fried foods.

“You can’t fool yourself into thinking by removing soda it’s a healthier environment,” said Scarlata.
According to a spokesperson from the Boston Public Health Commission, the mayor’s executive order was limited to sugary drinks to focus on eliminating the consumption of empty calories.

The spokesperson had no comment about healthy grub options, but said there are currently no plans to extend Menino’s order to food.

Menino issued the ban, which started Oct. 7, because of the link between sugary drinks and rising obesity rates and health care costs.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.


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