New York Sugary Drink Ban Shakes Up the Soda Industry
New York Mayor Bloomberg plans to enact a ban on larger sized soft drinks as a method of fighting obesity and lowering health care costs. The ban would affect the sale of sugary drinks at restaurants, street carts, movie theaters and sports venues.
Sweetened drinks - ranging from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced tea - larger than 16 fluid ounces would be prohibited from sale at those locations. Diet sodas, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages and dairy-based drinks would not be included under the measure.
Healthcare has been at the forefront of Mayor Bloomberg's political agenda including aggressive regulations that banned smoking in restaurants and parks, prohibited artificial trans-fat in restaurant food and required restaurants to post health inspection grades in windows.
Previous attempts to curb soda consumption including a soda tax and ban on soda purchased with food stamps fell short. Mayoral aides believe that this new proposal has a better chance of success.
Coca-Cola defended its soft drinks saying that calorie counts are already included on bottles and cans in New York. Restaurants also post the calorie content of all menu items, including drinks.
The ban unfairly blames soda for making people obese. Individuals are responsible for making informed decisions on consumption. Example: When I learned that people consume a significant amount of calories in the liquids they drink, I curbed my consumption of sugary, non-fruit drinks. See how it works?
Although this policy has its merits, I don't believe that New Yorkers need someone to tell them what to drink. More importantly, people need to know why something is unhealthy and how it affects the body. This knowledge will last, even as the spotlighted culprit of obesity changes.
Education, not regulation, is the key to fighting obesity.