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Soft Drink Ban . . .Thoughts?

New York City's recent proposition to ban large sugary drinks has people talking

Have you heard or head about all the soda hype in New York City? Well, if you've had your head in the sand lately, I will jump on board here and tell you what's been going on.

The mayor has found a way, he thinks, to fight the growing obesity epidemic by banning the sale of large, sugary beverages at local restaurants. Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed to prohibit licensed food establishments in the city from serving its customers sugary drinks like colas, lemonade and punches that are in cups or containers larger than the 16 ounces.  

Of course, folks could purchase another round of the smaller size but there would be NO MORE what I call GINORMOUS cups that are in the movie theaters, mall food courts or every QuickTrip on every corner.  The City Board of Health has to approve this proposal and at the time, there seems to be a strong indication that that will occur sometime in September.   

A couple of objections to the proposal are that milkshakes are not included in the proposal and that the restaurants can still offer bottomless refills - even if in a smaller cup. 

This all makes me go, hmmmmm. It hits on something that absolutely makes me crazy and I've had it on my "to post" list for a while. I am amazed at the difference and huge increase in portion size of colas. (Here in the South any "cola" is known as a Coke, so I may just type Coke and you'll know what I mean)

Anyway, remember the little glass bottles you used to get at the gas stations? Weren't they awesome?! And they were such a treat! When we travel now and find the little bottles of Coke we always get one for the boys as a fun treat.

Compare that little 8 oz bottle with the crazy size plastic bottles of drinks that you are forced to purchase now, if you want a soft drink. You are forced to get a 16.9 oz, 20 oz or 24 oz drink. That is entirely too much of a good thing for it to be a treat! The amount of sugar doubles and triples and it is amazing what all that soft drink sugar does to the body . . . just look walking around on the street and it's pretty obvious.  

So, there, that's my vent on the overwhelming and unnecessary growth of portion sizes of what should be considered a treat.

Back to NYC, the mayor and city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, say they are proposing the ban because obesity has become a health crisis and because sweetened soft drinks bear a disproportionate share of the blame for making people so fat.

Obesity kills 5,800 people every year in New York City, considerably more than the number of U.S. troops who died in the entire Iraq War, the health department said. Diabetes, a disease that can be linked to obesity, kills another 1,700 people. Another 2,600 are hospitalized for limb amputations necessitated by complications of diabetes.

“The sugary drinks are the item that is most closely associated with the growth of this epidemic,” Farley said.

The rule would apply to any beverage with more than 25 calories per 8 fluid ounces. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are both around 100 calories per 8 ounces.

Of course, there are two sides to every story so in reading about this issue I ran across an author who calls the ban "silly."

Kyle Wingfield says the ban is silly for a lot of reasons, one is that it is arbitrary with having a 16 oz cutoff which will merely push the manufacturers to produce 15 oz bottles. He also calls the ban inconsistent. "A 20-oz. bottle of Coca-Cola, with 65 grams of sugar, would be outlawed but a 21-oz. chocolate milkshake from McDonald’s, with 111 grams of sugar, would still be legal because it’s considered “dairy-based.”

He also says it will be ineffective, asking, "Why would someone who wants his sugar not just buy two 12-oz. cans of a sugary soft drink rather than that 20-oz. bottle (and end up drinking more)?" He also has a beef with the fact that at restaurants, refills will still be allowed.

Mainly, though, he states a simple observation: "If people wanted something done about obesity, and specifically about obesity linked to the consumption of sugary drinks, wouldn’t more people stop consuming sugary drinks?"

He also points out that if 1/3 of the population is drinking sugary drinks and if the other 2/3 of the public does not want to pay for the problems of obesity, then the answer would be to place that financial burden on those who are suffering because of their behavior. 

I can definitely see both sides to this argument. I see that there is an absolute problem and I appreciate New York actually addressing it and attempting to take action. I also see that it will not be a true solution to the problem. But, what's a nation to do? Unfortunately, it all starts at home . . . What are your thoughts on this issue?  Is there a solution? PLUS all this talk about the obesity epidemic, poor food choices and all out lack of will power in our nation brings me to ANOTHER really bad choice. Burger King wants you to try a new item on its menu: A Bacon Sundae. Really???? 

The salty-sweet dessert clocks in at 510 calories, 18 grams of fat and 61 grams of sugar. I'm sorry, not to offend anyone, but WHO would order this? I'd really like to know! My boys can't get enough bacon, but even they would stop at putting it on their ice cream.  

Burger King Bacon Sundae. I can't make this stuff up . . .What are your thoughts on the soft drink ban? Helpful? Crazy? When was the last time you put bacon on your ice cream?

Fitness instructor and self-professed “fitness nerd” Marla-Deen Brooks is a wife, mother of three boys, three dogs and a leopard gecko. See more from her at Marla-Deen-Fit.net.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Space Ship June 19, 2012 at 06:54 PM
What you fail to point out is the comparison raised by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. If you are a vendor caught serving large sugary drinks to Joe Public, you are subject to a $200 fine. Guess what the fine is if you're caught possessing marijuana?
Marc Acampora June 23, 2012 at 02:57 PM
The number one issue that all Americans need to focus on is liberty. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Frankly, I am fed up with debates about health issues, magnitudes of problems, and implementation of government-forced fixes. The debates must be refocused back to liberty. Enough with laws that protect people from their own stupidity. Enough with rationalizations about how my health problems effect society as a whole, as an excuse to control my health. The other day Atlantic Station posted the question if CPR training should be mandated by law. Seriously?! A law?! Not everything that is a good idea should be made into law. More laws, more control, more enforcement, more bureaucracy, more taxes, more debt, more government power, less freedom. Enough already. I'm going to Burger King for a bacon sundae.
Marla-Deen Brooks June 23, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Give me liberty or death by Bacon Sundae! I get it- Let me know how it tastes!

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