FoodFacts.com has been keeping our community updated on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on the sale of sodas and other sugary drinks over 16 ounces that was publicized a few months back. And today, New York City’s Board of Health passed the proposal. The ban will affect restaurants, concession stands and other establishments selling beverages.
The 16-ounce limit is in effect for regular soda (non-diet), sweetened teas and other beverages deemed to be sugar and calorie-laden. The establishments this will apply to will be movie and Broadway theaters, cafeterias in offices, fast food restaurants and places like local delicatessens. It will not apply to supermarkets and some convenience stores.
Of the nine board members voting, eight approved the proposal and only one abstained. And not for the reasons you might initially think … the abstaining member thought that the ban was not comprehensive enough.
Literally tens of thousands of New Yorkers signed a petition opposing the ban believing that this is unnecessary government intrusion into their lives. But there have been other things this particular mayor has put in place … like forcing chain restaurants to print calorie counts for the dishes they offer clearly on their menus. Moves like this on the part of the mayor have spurred the federal government to introduce requirements that are similar in nature. While the large-sized sugary-beverage ban is inciting to New Yorkers, many doctors and celebrities in the food world do believe that these are necessary steps to preserve the public health.
FoodFacts.com does think that the ban will, in fact, discourage the over-consumption of over-sized beverages. We do have a tendency to supersize everything out there in our convenience-style world. Our burgers are bigger, our bagels are larger, our sandwiches are stuffed with more meat and cheese than they were just a decade ago. Perhaps if we stop thinking we need 20 ounces of Coke, we might also feel that those things should change as well. And we will save calories by drinking smaller sizes of those sugary beverages. And that really can’t be a bad thing.
And while New Yorkers have made it clear that they will continue to fight the ban, FoodFacts.com does wonder why the mayor thinks that the consumption of diet soda, diet iced tea and high fructose corn syrup-laden waters are actually good things for folks in the city. There have been links drawn between high fructose corn syrup and obesity. And let’s not forget that diet sodas and diet iced teas are chemically rich beverages that are not good for anyone’s health. We’d have to imagine that imposing size limits on these beverages as well could only have a positive effect on the health of the population. In other words, sugar isn’t the only enemy in the fight for the health of New Yorkers or the remainder of the population of the U.S. So, if they’re going to go this route, perhaps they should broaden their horizons of health concerns. Just our opinion.