Florida Lawmakers Want to Require Sugar-Free Substitutes in Restaurants

More than a million Floridians are living with diabetes. It's a disease that doesn't have a cure, but it can be controlled and in some cases even prevented by simply cutting back on sugar, but that makes going out to eat tricky. Now some lawmakers want to expand your options at the table.

Fifteen years in business, and the menu here at Olean McCaskill's 'Home Cookin'' restaurant hasn't changed much. From fried chicken to collard greens and pancakes, if you want the staples, she's got them, but if you're looking for a light topping, well, good luck.

“We do have a lot of people that request low-fat syrup, low-fat jellies, and sometimes they will ask me and I'll say, 'no, we don't have that', you know,” she said.

Over the weekend, Olean picked up a bottle of reduced sugar jam, but a newly-filed bill would go even further, requiring restaurants to carry sugar-free substitutes for jelly, jam and marmalade.

Some tout 90 percent fewer calories and they're diabetic-friendly. The health benefits may be tremendous, but critics say a syrup crackdown would be akin to a new government mandate, another example of Tallahassee laying it on thick.

If the bill passes, the cost of doing business would undeniably go up. That is, for restaurants.

Demetrius Brown wonders if the jelly industry has its sticky hands in the legislative process.

“It's all the money game,” he said. “Someone's probably paying them to push it so that they can get those options out, probably, that's my only thing, 'cause I mean, as long as you still have options of regular syrups, people are still going to use it.”

...At least they do here at Olean's, where she says out of 100 customers a day, at most only three will ask for anything but the real stuff.

“The majority of the people want some sugar!” she said.

Still, it's not the healthiest habit to have, and at least a few lawmakers want to squeeze a new alternative onto your plate.

The bill would also require restaurants to show that they offer sugar-free syrup and jelly substitutes on their menu.


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  • by Jessica Location: Daytona Beach on Feb 16, 2011 at 04:38 PM
    MY thoughts on this, does the end justify the means? I am sorry if you are diabetic or in need of a special diet, but the fact is the government has no right to mandate such a thing. It is a private enterprise, this sort of thing is socialism at its finest. Wake up people, think for a minute. Is eating at a restaurant necessary to survive? Honestly, when you go to McDonalds, do you think that diet coke with your big mac and fries is healthy? No one is responsible for what you eat except YOU! The last place I want the government is in my personal life. This bill should never be passed, what next? If a bunch of Islamics say hey, we need special food as well, will restaurants be forced to no longer serve pork and serve goat meat instead? The government needs to butt out and the American people people need to stand up and say NO MORE!
  • by Barbara Location: Florida on Feb 13, 2011 at 04:46 PM
    If you are diabetic you know what you can eat, perhaps having a diabetic resturant would be a better solution.I would think training someone to know how to cook diabetic meals would be expensive. And also you can't perdict how much to cook of the diabetic food.Going out to eat for a diabetic person is hard because everybody eles is eatting what they like and you sometimes eat something you shouldn't.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 13, 2011 at 04:47 AM
    No More Comments From Me,,You either don't bother to post them or they are on page 2 or 3 when they are posted,
  • by Louise Location: Alabama on Feb 12, 2011 at 03:31 PM
    Please, if you would check with your health care providers you would find out that carbohydrates are just as guilty aS SUGAR, WHY DO WE HAVE TO COUNT OUR CARBS if we want to keep our glucose levels down.
  • by Joey Location: dothan on Feb 12, 2011 at 08:25 AM
    When will it stop? People no longer own their own business. The government does. You would think people who own businesses would know what clientel they want purchasing their product. First the government said you cannot have people who smoke come into your place of business. Now you will be required to cater to people with a particular dietary requirement. If the government would back off all the regulations they require of businesses it would open up the competetive market so much. Some restaurants would be full of smokers. Some would be full of non smokers. Some would be full of diabetics or whatever other dietary requirements people need or desire. I personally believe that almost all Americans have good enough sense to know what kind of place they want to spend their money in without the government having to tell the business what they must or must not have in that business. One would have to think we are all idiots to want or need more government regulations.
  • by GovDoDo on Feb 12, 2011 at 04:13 AM
    Big Brother is Watching your every move! It would seem if Big Brother was interested the public health they would pass laws prohibiting cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Perhaps they could require that every person MUST Exercise at least 30 minutes five days a week. Perhaps they would impose a "FATTY TAX" on Donuts,Bread and my favorite Pizza. Well everyone needs a job,it seems that the lawmakers have solved all the economic problems so now it's time to protect the average citizen from them selves. Most diabetics are aware of what they can eat and are capable of taking the proper safety measures that are required. Do We Really Need More Government Control in Our Lives? I Say Butt Out!
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