By now you’ve probably heard all about Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to limit the serving sizes of soda and other sugary drinks available in NYC? Today I read in the New York Times that the mayor plans on banning the sale of all sodas, fruit juices and energy drinks that are over 16 ounces.
But is this really a good idea?
As you may recall, Bloomberg has been at the forefront of making NYC a healthier place for years. He championed smoking bans in public places and stopped the use of trans fat in restaurants and other eateries. But in my opinion limiting the size of a drink is akin to regulating how many cigarettes are sold in each pack. Surely people wouldn’t stop smoking if each pack had just 5 cigarettes, they’d just buy more. And I don’t think that we’ll see a reduction in how much soda, juice, milkshakes or even alcohol is consumed – yep that’s right. Alcohol is also included on this size reduction list – but it’s NOT SUGAR!
In fact I think this plan may backfire and make the companies who sell theses products even richer. Now instead of buying just one extra large soda or mug of draft beer, people will more likely opt to buy 2, 3 or maybe even 4.
The argument is based on the fact that almost half of New York’s population is obese and that the neighborhoods where the most soda is consumed are the areas where people are fatter. But I just don’t think that selling smaller bottles will lead to less consumption. Plus most restaurants offer free refills anyway. This whole idea seems quite silly to me. Let’s also take note of the fact that diet soda is exempt from these rules, so apparently you can drink as much as you want of those drinks! Hmm…
While I think the mayors heart is in the right place, for me the mode of action is all wrong. Simply denying people a certain food or drink is NOT the way to reduce obesity. It solves and teaches absolutely nothing to the consumer and public at large. What we need is education. Why are large amounts of refined sugar so bad for us? What is considered a serving size? And how does the body process food? These are all questions that everyone should know the answers to. Sure it’ll require years of overhauling school systems and implementing community education, but serving soda in a Dixie cup instead of a mug won’t do anything. Plus where will it stop? Will the mayor next ban the size or try to regulate how big chocolate chip cookies or sundaes are?
That’s my take – but what do you think? Is this a good plan for reducing obesity? What should the mayor do instead? Comment away everyone…
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