The proposed first-in-the-nation ban would impose a 16-ounce limit on the size of sweetened drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It would apply to bottled drinks as well as fountain sodas.
The ban, which could take effect as soon as March, would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages. Nor would it include drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores. Food establishments that don’t downsize would face fines of $200.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that he “thinks it’s what the public wants the mayor to do.”
The explicit goal of the ban: fighting obesity.
The enemy? Sugar.
But not all sugar. Not the sugar in your coffee, tea, or juice. The sugar from your movie soda, but not from the convenience store soda, and not from the sugar in the massive box of Junior Mints you’ll buy with your 12 oz. soda.
I would love to see a greater public policy/public education effort to help people learn to eat healthier foods. I do appreciate the push to make nutritional information more readily available in NYC, for example, but if people do not understand how to equate serving sizes with their actual daily calorie and nutrient requirements, labeling really doesn’t do much good.
I also don’t think that limiting someone to a 16 oz. soda at the movie theater will create any radical change. Will theaters offer free refills? Will people just buy two drinks? And if they drink 16 oz. of orange juice with breakfast, along with a 1/2 pound of hashbrowns fried in non-transfat oil, does the smaller movie drink matter?
I don’t think this soda ban is going to fly, and don’t think it will accomplish much. It seems too selective to be effective, both in the types of drinks it targets and the types of vendors who will and won’t be affected.
What do you think?