Large Sodas Soon Illegal in New York?

Soon to be illegal?

This is a brave move: New York mayor Bloomberg plans to outlaw sales of sodas larger than 16 oz. (about 50 cl). This in an effort to actually do something against the obesity epidemic.

New York Times: New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks

While some complain about the “nanny state” my take is this: Anyone who regularly drinks sodas larger than 16 oz. could probably use a nanny.

Good job, Bloomberg.

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106 Comments

Top Comments

  1. luke
    What will we say when they start regulating saturated fat?
    Read more →
  2. I must say that I'm surprised to see many of the responses here.

    Are all of you US people really so gullible that you swallow the fat hatred from yeasteryears without hesitation?

    After all, it was your own Ancel Keys, with his badly performed so called survey, that started all of this fat hatred. This completely normal fat consumption that we, Homo Erectus, have been genetically designed to use as our primary food supply.

    Ah well, I just hope that you'll eventually see the light, and revert to a proper diet -- not the disgusting chemical soup that the media industry will have you keep eating.

    Read more →
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All Comments

  1. John Myers
    Steve - you make good points. ty
  2. Alexandra M
    "It doesn't matter if I drink it all at one time in a venti mug, or several times during the day in a small cup, I get my coffee fix. Sugary liquid drinkers will do the same - they will just get a little more exercise."

    I don't agree with the government restricting food choices. However, people will not necessarily drink two smaller beverages instead of one large one. As everyone who has been dieting forever knows, you're much less likely to overindulge in, for example, cookies, if you put two or three cookies on a plate and take them to the table, than if you take the whole bag with you. I'd guess that the last 20 ounces of almost any (non-alcoholic) beverage are consumed simply because they're there.

  3. Joe
    For every law, there's always a loophole so I'll just buy 5 small cups of soda if one big cup is illegal! LOL
  4. I must say that I'm surprised to see many of the responses here.

    Are all of you US people really so gullible that you swallow the fat hatred from yeasteryears without hesitation?

    After all, it was your own Ancel Keys, with his badly performed so called survey, that started all of this fat hatred. This completely normal fat consumption that we, Homo Erectus, have been genetically designed to use as our primary food supply.

    Ah well, I just hope that you'll eventually see the light, and revert to a proper diet -- not the disgusting chemical soup that the media industry will have you keep eating.

  5. John Myers
    Bjorn - I'm sure we all welcome saturated fat in our diet. I'm not sure which post made you think otherwise. You're in good company.
  6. Jason Watkins
    What next? What other choice is the government going to try and make for us? Anyone ever Demolition Man (1993)? In their future everything was legislated including food and language. The one behind this legislation is foolish to believe this will curb the obesity issue. People are going to buy two 12 oz drinks instead.
  7. terrence
    Joe, Today at 20:29 is absolutely RIGHT. If someone wants more than 16 ounces they will buy MORE. Unless food-fascist Bloomberg is going to restrict how many you AND YOUR FRIENDS can buy at one time. This restriction is a risible farce!
  8. Pierre
    I think it is important to note that even if Bloomberg's policy actually worked it would still be very wrong.
  9. Confused
    "Like many others, I am concerned that the next step is to legislate against fat."

    But why? No one in the USA has proposed such a ban - In 2009 Bloomberg instituted a ban of trans fats in restaurant fare only. Searching Google I don't see any proposals in the USA have ever been offered to ban sat fat across the board. So your concern seems unnecessary.

    Even the Danes didn't ban it, they offered a tiny tax of about 2%. And it so far is a total bust, failing to generate adequate revenue. So I doubt anyone would repeat the effort of taxing sat fat for so little revenue gain.

    And don't forget that public attitudes are shifting away from fear of fat to an understanding that sugar is the problem: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/On-your-radar/Trans-and-saturated-fa...

  10. shums
    The reason for the fear about the ban on fat is that once you open the door to banning foods because they are good or bad you start on a slippery slope. Once the door is open it won't close. So you are at the mercy of the government to make these decisions instead of yourself personally. There is great reason to be concerned. Let's not be naive here. Let's respect liberty and personal choices while at the same time trying to convince people to make the right ones. Forcing it on people doesn't work. Can you show me a really good example of where it does work? I can't think of even one.
  11. FrankG
    @shums: Who is talking about "banning" foods? This proposed legislation would only limit the size of sweetened beverage containers... which as I see it: still allows the freedom to indulge in more if you so choose, while giving (appropriate) pause for thought as to the sense of drinking super-sized sodas.

    Dr Lustig talks of regulating sugar NOT banning it -- cigarettes are still freely available to those of an age deemed appropriate, as is alcohol.

    Do you wear a seat-belt when driving? How much of that is because of a conscious choice to be safer every time you get in the car and how much because you risk a penalty if you don't? Either way you are safer for wearing it.

  12. FrankG
    As for perceived threats to "liberty": the door has ALREADY been opened... we are ALREADY on the slippery slope. I think it appropriate to expect and require our policy-makers (as our duly elected representatives) to redress the balance and "right the ship" as Dr Lustig phrases it.

    It amazes me this attitude that "government" is some kind of disconnected "thing" over which we have no control. So much for the "greatest democracy in the world!" If you don't like/trust/etc... your government then DO something about it instead of whining.

  13. Maggan A
    I´m surprised by all the comments here that equate sugar with food - sugar is NOT FOOD - sugar is a DRUG more equal to alkohol and tobacco, Nothing we need to eat to survive - consuming it just causes a lot of harm for both the individual and society
  14. terrence
    The food-fascist Bloomberg is ALL in favor of DOUGHNUTS

    " At Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s press conference touting his efforts to stop the sale of large soft drinks in restaurants, one reporter in attendance brought up the interesting fact that his administration also supporting “National Donut Day” tomorrow and inquired as to whether that muddled the mayor’s message on the issue.

    Indeed, at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, Entenmann’s will be unveiling “Custom-made Entenmann’s large donuts, 1-foot in diameter” at Madison Square Park at the same time they unveil a “Proclamation Letter by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.”

  15. Asa
    As many has already mentioned. I think this will be a good thing for NY in tax revenue., For the soda drinkers will just buy several drinks instead of only one.. It won't change how much soda they drink.. Or they will get themselves a big container and start getting their soda at the grocery store in a 2 liter bottle. Or whatever. The amount of soda they drink will not change because Bloomberg banned this size cup. Maybe it will even increase..

    Education is the only way. I will not support useless legislation like this!

  16. lisa
    Americans - fat, stupid and intending to keep it that way!
  17. Pierre
    Americans - fat, stupid and intending to keep it that way!

    Foreigners, loving their leashes and scared of taking it off.

  18. Audrey
    Sodas of all things.? Really.? Focus on other things. It's not soda that's making people fat, I mean yes, it doesn't help, but focus on other larger causes. Hell. Take a look a cigs even.! Or a more fattening food item. This is just stupid. :P
  19. Pierre
    Heck why not focus on leaving othe people alone...whatever happened to that?
  20. American Dental Association official Statement on Ban: http://www.ada.org/7124.aspx
  21. sophy
    Speaking of forbidding things, I feel like first of all they should forbid people from buying so much meet. Sugar might ruin the individual but everybody eating too much meet ruins the whole planet.
  22. Aggot
    Seriously people, it is not normal to drink more than 16 oz of Coca Cola during one meal! I do not think I have seen larger sodas being served anywhere in the world, except for America. Sure you can order more than one if you really want to but most people don't. You guys have to know that also portions of food are twice the normal size in every American restaurant compared to the rest of the world right? I am all for everyones right to choose for themselves but is it really necessary to serve an excessive amount of food/drinks as a norm?
  23. The blind squirrel occasionally gets the acorn, which wouldn't be bad if Bloomberg was a squirrel. But he's a tyrant, and he'll ban everything eventually if he gets the chance...fat, salt, foie gras, meat, eggs, raw milk, etc. until all you can eat is dirt.

    Look, Eenfeldt if you were the mayor, then I'd say great...you know something about nutrition...a lot, actually. Coming from Chicago, you bet I'd vote twice for you! But you're not the mayor, Bloomberg is, and he is a a megamaniacal tyrant who knows zilch about nutrition. He is the one who called Atkins fat, and basically discredited him. Nice.

    Like I said, the blind squirrel can, once in a while, get a nut.

    Cut the grain subsidies.

    Hold the soda companies accountable, by being accountable for yourself. Don't buy the stuff. Otherwise you will have others 'helping' you...like good old Bloomberg...I would be very interested in seeing his stock portfolio and see if he has any shares in any cola companies...

  24. My guess is that soft-drinks greater than 16 oz. are shared between two people. Now each of them can buy the more common 12 0z. soda with only a small increase of 4 oz. Wait a minute, that couldn't happen. Of course, they will start drinking water. Yeah, right.
  25. The real waste will be that like the recommendation research on fat, we will now spend millions on NIH-funded research to prove that removing large bottles of soda has a significant effect on obesity, relative risk - 1.22.
  26. Alexandra M
    "My guess is that soft-drinks greater than 16 oz. are shared between two people."

    Where? I've never seen two people sharing a soda whether it was 16 oz, 24 oz, or 32 oz. People will share a giant bucket of popcorn, but most people won't share a straw with somebody else.*

    *Exception: "This drink is so incredible you just have to taste it!"

  27. Well, Alexandra, you may be right. We are, after all using the same scientific method: "My guess" and "I've never seen," the same deep thinking which has gone into the original recommendation and the same one that gave us the low fat thing. I actually thought that obesity was a serious problem where we might want to use, you know, science.
  28. Alexandra M
    "...using the same scientific method: "My guess" and "I've never seen,"

    You said it, Doctor Feinman! Good point.

    (Though I still think people are squeamish about sharing a straw.)

  29. casey b
    Regardless of health and nutrition. The government should never ever have the right to tell you what goes in your body. Educate people and teach them good eating habits. Don't make the choice for them. Our founding fathers died so that we may live free from this crap.
  30. Captain underpants phag
    you guys suck this is a bunch of crap you really think this gonna get rid of the fat people in new york you are just gonna get your self in a bunch of trouble with the soda companies you dumb asses
  31. Richard Feinman
    Well put, Captain.
  32. Kevin
    So if in New York I go buy a big gulp I can be fined up to $200, but if I get caught with up to 25g of pot it's only a $100 fine and doesn't go on my record. New York wins award for biggest Trol laws
  33. Ryan
    They should let people consume what they want and tax the hell out of it like they do with cigarettes. I'm a smoker but I understand the reasoning for taxing a product heavily when it seriously impacts health and life expectancy. We smokers have been treated like the scourge of the earth for years. Obesity is and always has been a bigger health issue than smoking. It kills more people with obesity related diseases per year than a vice that only a small segment of the population indulges in. If it's o.k. to penalize smokers for their unhealthy habit with high taxes I don't see why it should be any different with foods that offer no nutrition and are all but guaranteed to put weight on people and/or cause other health issues.
  34. The better action would be to have nutrition labels on all fast food packaging, like sodas, so people can see how much they are ingesting of sugars, artificial colors and sweeteners, etc. Information is good, bans are almost always bad. Further it's hypocritical in light of how much junk you can get legally in any food place in NYC. Even a M&M store!
  35. Pierre
    I'm a smoker but I understand the reasoning for taxing a product heavily when it seriously impacts health and life expectancy. We smokers have been treated like the scourge of the earth for years.

    So because smokers were treated badly by the nanny state you think we should spread the misery? How about instead of that we simply don't treat anyone badly because of their bad decisions in life unless it directly affects you....and before anyone winds up their "raises" the cost of health care bugaboo how about the state getting out of that business too.

  36. Posted elsewhere on this blog:

    Is anybody aware that there is a large group who, with support of the federal government, are recommending that kids, starting from birth, drink a beverage that is 40 % sugar. And the sugar is a disaccharide, like sucrose, with not just glucose but also a chemical modified form of glucose, the 4-epimer of glucose, that must be metabolically converted before it can be used for energy. In addition, when kids withdraw from this drink they are likely to go into ketosis. Is nobody concerned about this?

  37. Can somebody post one scientific study that shows that fructose or sucrose has and unambiguous risk for most people. One study that shows fructose, per se, not fructose as a carbohydrate has a serious risk. A study that is explained critically, not some pediatrician's analysis of the study. Just one.
  38. And, as in my blog post http://wp.me/p16vK0-cr some of my best friends are pediatricians. Really.
  39. My last comments seem to have been real conversation-stoppers.
  40. Al
    I'm with Pierre. Just because we think sugary drinks are bad, we shouldn't rejoice that large sugary drinks are now banned in New York. Remember that the NY politicians likely embrace the saturated fat phobia; a ban on bacon could be next or a requirement that restaurants only serve margarine instead of butter...
  41. Danny J Albers
    I would think its obvious that we do not want government, the same people who brought us the incredibly flawed food plate and food pyramid in North America, not mandating food choice by act of law.

    32oz drinks are a very easy target, as such its carefully used to test public acceptibility of legislation of what they can buy to eat.

    We do not have to even speculate that this is a slipper slope, because we all know from history and repitition that as soon as government regulates it never stops and continues to pile on more.

    To say this is not a slipperly slope is to display total niavity of just how government has always worked.

  42. I assume that diet-doctor thinks that this is a good idea because the blame for the obesity epidemic lies with the patient because of their poor self-control and low morale character. So, since they can't resist over-consuming sugary beverages, we will control their behavior. Somehow, I thought that wasn't diet-doctors point of view.
  43. Jamie
    Just because a choice is not healthy for you doesn't make it a "good job" to force someone to avoid making that choice.

    In the US we are *supposed* to have the freedom to make our own choices and (along with that) accept the consequences. Everyone is their own "nanny."

    If we do not object when the government erodes our freedom to make bad choices that we agree are bad, then we give the government the power to take away choices that we don't agree with.

    It is a VERY slippery slope.

    Today it is sugar, which most on this site would agree is "bad." Tomorrow it will be too much fat per serving that is made illegal, which most on this site would agree is "good."

    We must preserve the freedom to make bad choices or we grant the power for government for force bad choices upon us.

  44. Maggan A
    Jamie

    who are you going to blame when the "Land of the Free" becomes nothing moore than an obese laughing stock for the rest of the world?

    As a sweede Im surpriced that you make a differens between the people and the governement. Your governement is ellected by YOU - the people - in democratic ellections - the governement reprecents the people, it is not the enemy.

    I´m afraid that the" freedom" you hold so dearly is going to cost you moore than you bargaind for.
    Yes you obviosly have the freedom to eat and drink yourself to death - but whats next?

    What is wrong with a governement hwo wants its people to be healthy? If they dont care, and the people (obviously) dont care. Than you are REALLY on the "Slippery slope"!

    Very sorry but when the time comes it will be good bye USA and hello China as quck as it takes to order an XXXL coke.

  45. TAKING A LITTLE POLL (If that is OK,Andreas)

    The tax is specifically targeting sugar, that is type of carbohydrate so here's the question:

    For general health, should you change the type of carbohydrate or replace the carbohydrate with fat (any natural fat, no trans-fat)?

    It's a thought experiment (not real world situation with subtleties). You only get three choices: For general health (no change in calories):

    A. Change type of carbohydrate
    B. Replace carbohydrate with fat
    C. It doesn't matter

    A., B. or C. ?

  46. Pierre
    who are you going to blame when the "Land of the Free" becomes nothing moore than an obese laughing stock for the rest of the world? As a sweede Im surpriced that you make a differens between the people and the governement. Your governement is ellected by YOU - the people - in democratic ellections - the governement reprecents the people, it is not the enemy.

    We are very secure with our place in the world. The idea that China is anything other than a big bloated oppressive totalitarian government is laughable....that they could be a threat to a nation that has led the way in nearly every single major advancement in modern society is hilarious. Just like the Soviet Union they are paper tigers that will blow away with the first strong wind.

    About our obesity...before Europe starts laughing too hard remember that we can still afford food, unlike most of Europe. Furthermore, we are in shape enough to take care of business.

    Finally, yes our government is of the people by the people but and this is a big ass but...we have a constitution that is entirely devoted to holding back the excesses of the people. Our constitution is meant to protect the minority who may not agree with the majority. That is a huge difference from Europe.

  47. Maggan A
    Pierre

    Read again what I wrote. I said THE WORLD is laughing - and to specifie it I meant the enemies of the USA and the western world in general. Sorry that I was unclear about that.

    Europe is not laughing - we are like your little brothers and sisters walking in your footsteps and what you have today we will have tomorrow. No reason to laugh..

  48. Maggan A
    Richard David Feinman

    B. Replace carbohydrate with fat

    But I want to add; not replacing ALL the carbs. Only the worst ones. You know; Sugar, grains (bread and pasta) potatoes and rice.

  49. Maggan A

    You can do that in a real case but the question is about first-order strategies. You only get 3 choices.

  50. Maggan A
    okej

    B. Replace carbohydrate with fat

  51. Won't this just produce a lot more trash and waste when people buy more cups bottles and cans?
    I use the same 52 oz cup everyday. I refill with unsweetened tea which is non carbonated and has antioxidant's.
  52. Dan
    If they want to have an impact then force people to pay higher premiums for their health insurance if you are obese and refuse to diet. They do this for smokers who don't want to quit and it costs $100 more per month to smoke. If you take a class to try and quit its free.
    We don't want a nanny state but we also have to have some responsibility for the health of our society. If we are not responsible for ourselves then big brother will have to be for us. I used to drink about 12 soda's a day and now I don't drink any.
    Reply: #103
  53. Maggan A
    If they want

    We don't want

    very interesting - please tell the rest of the world who are "they" and hwo are "we"?

  54. mintytoucan
    "two 16oz sodas, please"
  55. Hahaha, that will be pretty awesome, should help cut down some calories out of most people's diet. As for curing obesity... I am not so sure about that.
  56. Reader
    I just bought 3x 3.1 liter bottle cola because large bottles is cheaper.

    Oh no, i dont drink it my self, it's for family and guests.

    I wonder if they sell bigger bottle, like a gallon...

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