If You’re Reading This, Please Share Your Thoughts…

by Kenlie Tiggeman on June 1, 2012

If you know me at all, then you know that New York still feels like home to me even though I no longer wake up there every morning.  And if you know me outside of my blog, then you might know that while I don’t often see eye to eye with Mayor Bloomberg, I do have a great deal of respect for him.

A few years after I moved to New York it became mandatory to share calorie counts on menus, and I was okay with that.  As someone who tries to be conscious of what I’m consuming, I was pleased to have the information readily available, but seeing the nutrition facts posted on the menu never had an impact on what I was eating.

As someone who began making a conscious effort to know such things, I wasn’t surprised when I saw the information; I was already aware of it.  And I was aware of it because it was my responsibility - my choice,  to make myself aware.  An interesting fact, however, is that my favorite restaurants in New York (not chains) still don’t post that information so it didn’t affect me often anyway.

And on the rare occasion that someone would convince me to go to The Cheesecake Factory (I prefer the sushi next door) I always laughed when I saw my friends openly gasp at the nutrition facts.  I heard “Oh no, I can never eat here again” and “How can it be that fattening?! It’s salad” was a common question as well.  But the fact is that my friends still ordered the same meals and the same drinks and desserts.  And soda drinkers will still drink soda.

Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a ban on sugary drinks in restaurants in New York.  In his attempt to curb obesity, he has suggested that restaurants (and places like Starbucks as well) should no longer be allowed to sell sugary, calorie-laden drinks that are larger than 16 oz.  And maybe you’re thinking that this doesn’t affect you because you don’t live in New York City, but take a look at history.  New York sets the bar for everyone else, and I have a serious problem with what the mayor is trying to accomplish here.

I stopped drinking soft drinks in 2009, and I have talked ad nauseam about the benefits of breaking that addiction in my life.  It’s easily the best thing I have ever done for my body.  The cravings were almost unbearable at first; it wasn’t easy.  It took a long time to find soda repulsive, but I do.  In fact, I rarely waste calories on drinks of any kind.  Water is the only thing I drink regularly, and in my view diet drinks are just as toxic as their non-diet counterparts.    (I prefer to waste calories on food, but that’s a different flaw for a different day.)

I drank a 90-calorie iced coffee this week at Starbucks. It happens, but it's incredibly rare.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the mayor on a few occasions, and I believe that he cares about New York and its people. I realize that his efforts come from a positive place, but this attempt to control our caloric intake is eroding the rights of Americans.

I’m overweight even though I weigh a lot less than I used to, and I’m afraid that Mayor Bloomberg simply does not understand the the psychological (and in some cases) physical damage that could result from telling Americans what they can or cannot consume.

Like many Americans who have never struggled with weight and/or food addiction, he doesn’t understand the complexities of obesity.  And it seems that he has also failed to realize that addicts find ways to sate themselves.

I despise soda.  It controlled me for years, and I wish that everyone could experience the positive effects of no longer drinking it.  But it’s not my decision, and it shouldn’t be Mayor Bloomberg’s either.

The government already controls so much more than it should, and adding calories to the unconstitutional list of things that the government already controls makes me sick to my stomach.

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but my question is when will it end?  Where will we draw the line?  I don’t want to look back at my life fifty years from now  only to wonder at which moment America was no longer a free country.

I don’t get political on my blog often, and it’s not likely that I will.  This issue, like many others, is extraordinarily important to me, and I want to know what you think.

Do you support Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal ban sugary drinks?  Do you think it’s discriminatory? Do you think that the government has a right to tell you what you consume everyday?

 

{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Alyssa June 1, 2012 at 2:27 am

Great post! I understand why he wants to do it, but I do think it is discriminatory in some ways. Everything within reason. If I go out to celebrate my birthday or a wedding or just the fact that I’m alive, and I want a 500-calorie Kaluha Mud Bomb Mud Slide thing….well, I should be able to get it.

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Jack June 1, 2012 at 2:36 am

Very well written post, and I agree with you. While Bloomberg’s efforts to “help” people recognize what they are consuming, I believe he is going about it the wrong way. Additionally, this amounts to more babysitting than education – which is really what will make difference in curbing the obesity rates. And part of that education is taking responsibility for one’s own choices. By banning the sale of sugary drinks of 16 ounces or more, Bloomberg is taking away a person’s right to make responsible (or irresponsible) choices.

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Carol June 1, 2012 at 3:40 am

While I understand where you are coming from regarding the government trying to micro manage people I actually do support the mayor. I am not from America but I have visited many times. I could not believe my eyes when I saw that drinks come in sizes of 16 ounces and more. Sometimes 20 ounces!!! Those kind of sizes dont even exist in Europe. People would think you were utterly bonkers to drink that much of anything except perhaps water. While I dont believe in micro managing people I also don’t believe in letting profit driven companies to have free reign either. They keep churning out this junk in larger and larger portions to make more and more money and ignorant people keep buying it. Americas obesity problem is almost out of control. I have noticed one huge difference between America and any country in Europe. And it is this: America has no rules about food. In Europe for example you would very rarely see someone eating on the street while walking. As we say “not even horses eat and walk”. Eating in business meetings is unheard of unless it is a lunch meeting in which case it is one small sandwich for everyone. And thats it! Restaurants are normally closed between 2.30pm and 6pm because no one would eat at that time. I was astonished when I heard that US kids are allowed eat in class!!

America has always been a strong supporter of individual rights and that is one of the great things about the States. However people who suffer from obesity or even thin people suffering from bad eating habits know that this kind of food can be as addictive as a drug. Now you dont see cocaine and hash being sold in shops and restaurants. I honestly believe that there is no need whatsoever for any nation to have any drink over 16 ounces. If a person wants to drink that much they can order two normal size drinks. I bet they wont though. They will be satisfied after one!

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Lisa June 2, 2012 at 4:08 am

I agree whole-heartedly with all of these comments. First, that it’s a very well written post and a sensitive topic. And also, that it’s not a decision on whether sugary drinks be banned/sold or not, but simply on the size, which as a non-American, I’m also regularly shocked at the size of portions (drink and food) served in the US. Most people will finish what’s put in front of them, whether it be a dish or a beverage. It seems inhumane to be giving people such large doses of “poison” (since these drinks are poison to our system). As the person states in their comments, if they want that much drink, they are free to buy more, but by banning the sale of such huge portions of the stuff, it protects people (and especially children/teens) from over-consumption in one dose.

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Ryan June 1, 2012 at 5:11 am

A large sugary drink is just one of a thousand+ ways to live unhealthy. It would not change anything to pass that law, except make it harder to get a large sugary drink. The entire food industry would need an overhaul (ingrediens, production, advertising, etc.) to make any change to where the majority of Western-style consumers are ultimately going to end up.

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Kenlie June 2, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I’m always so happy when I see comments from you, Ry!

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Julie June 1, 2012 at 6:05 am

is this ban something the people will vote on? i don’t live in NYC, and don’t know how i would vote on it myself. as a general rule, this kind of ban would offend me, b/c really, don’t lawmakers have more important issues to spend their time on? but let me take the opposite stance from you and the previous 2 commenters, if only to play devil’s advocate – because i can see some value in it. like you, i am obese, and weigh less than i used to, but still struggle every day to continue to lose. i *usually* don’t drink soda, but when i do, it’s never just one – free refills, and all – and then i regret it. and starbucks’ sugary drinks are a weakness of mine that i would like to eliminate.

it is completely my choice what i put in my mouth. but the fact is that obesity is SUCH a problem – a growing problem – a PUBLIC health problem. look at childhood obesity rates and consider how that’s going to affect public health in 10, 15, 20 years. how much is this health crisis going to cost us? this law won’t make it illegal to drink as much soda as you want, it will simply make it financially more difficult to do so. this isn’t so different as taxes on cigarettes. you want to enjoy something that’s bad for you, so that eventually maybe taxpayer dollars may have to pay for your healthcare to treat a condition you have b/c of your smoking? OK. but you have to pay a little extra for that. this isn’t a TAX on soda, but a financial incentive to cut down.

i also think there are so many people who really have no idea exactly how unhealthy soda is, and this could be an eye-opener that makes people think about WHY this ban would exist. short of banning specific food items, there most definitely needs to be a MUCH greater effort to educate the public – especially children – about the super-unhealthy consequences of not just soda, but fast food and processed foods. how to make that happen, of course, i have no idea…

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Adelyn June 1, 2012 at 6:36 am

I am torn on this as well. My first thought is that education is always better than laws, and that there is something wrong with making choices for other people. I think about prohibition and how well that worked.

Then I look at drugs. They are illegal. Or cigarettes. You have to be a certain age to buy, can’t smoke in restaurants and other public places–at least where I live. (Some of that is second-hands smoke issues I realize.) Alcohol has some similar restrictions on age, where it can be sold, etc. So I don’t know if sugary drinks are in the same category as drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. Some say that they are addictive. Studies point to how much obesity is a public health crisis. That it hurts everyone in terms of health care, insurance, worker productivity, etc. That bad habits are being handed down to children. I am not sure if that was the same reasoning for drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, but it seems like it easily could have been.

So really, I just don’t know. (I do know that I am fighting my own battle against obesity and sugary drinks were one of the first things to go. I decided on my own. Most of my sugary drinks came in the form of mixed drinks. ;-) )

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Liz June 1, 2012 at 6:46 am

Great post! I agree, at some point the government needs to stop trying to control every aspect of our lives. Certain things I am on board with (banning smoking indoors, healtheir school lunches, etc) but I really think this may be putting our country in a position for a downward spiral. What’s next, are we going to just ban all soda? Remember how well prohibition worked back in the ’20′s or whatever? (My memory of exact time frames is a little fuzzy but you know what I mean). In the mayor’s defense though, I must say it is a very very fine line for the government to walk between doing what is in the best interest for public health/safety and controlling us and quite frankly I don’t envy him being in a position where he has to make that call.

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Cindy June 1, 2012 at 7:45 am

I agree with Bloomberg. We live in toxic food environment that fuels the physiological addiction that is a significant contributor to obesity. Sugared drinks are a large part of the problem. I am a bit older than you and during my childhood we didn’t have access to the amount of sugar I see kids and adults consuming now. Not surprisingly, the obesity rates were much lower back then. Ultimately, I know that I am able to control my food intake much better (I consider myself a food addict) when I am off sugar and processed foods. Sticking to a healthy regimen is much more difficult when sugar is everywhere and commonplace. I think “choice” and “personal responsibility” become far more difficult in the modern food environment. Finally, I don’t see the difference between regulating airlines to accommodate the needs of obese customers versus regulating food service providers to address a serious health issue that is costing us billions in healthcare costs. I consistently support both.

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Kyra June 1, 2012 at 8:15 am

I was glad when the calorie counts showed up on the menus, but even so I don’t trust them as cooking (and cooks!) vary. I don’t eat out much at all. As far as the ban on the 16+ sized drinks? Honestly, I don’t have a problem with it. The reason being that, as you said, people will get it anyway if they really want to – frankly, they’ll just buy two smaller ones. But there are some who won’t go to that extra effort, and it will save them the calories (and maybe money too?)

The problem I have with it is that it’s a shot in the dark at the wrong thing. I don’t like the government telling me I can’t have something, all the while shoving processed foods filled to the brim with all sorts of nasty things (like the high fructose corn syrups and more) and making those things cheaper than choosing a fresh apple. I have a problem with the fact that it’s so much easier to find junk food than healthy food, that you actually HAVE to search for healthy food, unlike the alternative. And I live in Vermont of all places! It’s easier here than almost anywhere else, and it’s still an issue!

If the government wants people to be healthier, saying you can only have so much of a bad thing won’t help, but creating more accessible and affordable healthy alternatives surely would.

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Heather June 1, 2012 at 8:22 am

Sounds alot like Prohobition. That was a rousing success…NOT!

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Kenlie June 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Bingo, Heather…

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KendraD June 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

“It is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal rights of each from aggression on the part of others, and the moment governmental prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very ends they are intended to serve.” – Henry George

The government’s job is not to make Americans all skinny. It isn’t to make us all healthy. It isn’t to force us to all live in a way that conforms with what they want from us.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C. S. Lewis

We have to be allowed to make our own choices. Even if those choices could cause us potential harm. Yes, drugs are illegal and tobacco and alcohol are controlled substances, but all of those have the potential to extend harm to other people, not just the person partaking in the action. I believe firmly that this is a case of the government trying to overreach it’s bounds and I hope fervently that this doesn’t come to pass.

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Kenlie June 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Great quote by Henry George…and it’s true.

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Brooke June 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

To be honest…………what would stop people from getting a refill on their 16oz drink. I mean, if people really want to, they will find a way. Though I like informing the public, such as mandatory nutrition information, you can’t take away their choices.

What I think the Mayor is lacking is a basic understanding of some psychology and maybe some old school, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink/not make him drink.” The Mayor is actually enabling people. Taking away their power to change their own lives. Belittling people is not the way to help them. It would seem to me like he is saying, “You are too stupid to make these decisions for yourself, so I will.”

People, in general aren’t stupid, they just don’t care. And its not anyone’s place to make them care. You have to come to the conclusion that you are obese or unhealthy and need to make changes on your own.

My mom could nag me all she wanted while I was growing up, she could encourage me, discourage me…………whatever……….but until I decided that I wanted to do this, it was not going to happen.

So the mayor should find a way to get more information out there, spend some money on free nutritional sessions and maybe some exercise classes, a website, something………..but when you start trying to control the personal choices of your citizens………..you are asking for resentment and rebellion. (Which are actually really destructive to the stability of a person and could actually cause more 32oz drinks to be drank).

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Kimberly June 1, 2012 at 9:10 am

I cheered the FDA’s refusal to allow the corn syrup people’s relabeling their product as corn sugar. The commercials seriously make me want to punch them in the face because they are clearly lying to people about something that affects their health. I applaud accurate and correct information campaigns. The FDA’s stance is different from the mayor’s though. The FDA is giving people the opportunity to know the difference and make a better choice. The mayor is stripping people of their right to a choice. I expect legal challenges to this policy and I hope it is swiftly struck down. It reaks of nanny stateism and I am opposed to that in all forms. I’m in the same boat as you. I’ve lost a great deal of weight but I am still overweight, obese even. I won’t go order a venti frap from Starbucks but that is my choice. And if someone really wants to make a bad choice they will do it. The mayor is just forcing folks not willing or able to make the better choice for their health to find different means to get their large sugary drink fix. Obesity is something that can only be fought at the individual level. Nobody can force an obese person to make a change until they are willing and able to do so.

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Morgan June 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

I do not think the government has a right to tell us what we can or cannot drink or eat in order to “help” people to lose weight. It isn’t their place to make those choices for us. And the more and more that we allow them to take over things like this, the more and more they will take over other choices “for our own good.” I know that it can tend to sound like a plot from a sci-fi book or movie, but it is true that the more power we give the government over our everyday choices, the more control they will take, until we aren’t making our own decisions anymore.

I don’t think that they can ban soda in restaurants without banning alcohol as well – if you are going to stop the overweight, you had better stop the alcoholics too. Oh wait, they tried that, it was called prohibition. Didn’t work out so well.

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Steelers6 June 1, 2012 at 9:45 am

It is so WRONG.

And let me be clear, I, like Kenlie, don’t drink
sugary drinks.

Jillian Michaels asked for opinions on this
on Facebook, & it grieves me how many ppl
thought it was a fine idea instead of recognizing
it for what it really is-their rights eroding away
very slowly so it’s less noticeable. (recall the
story about the frogs in the pot & the heat
slowly being increased?)
Chrissy

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Kenlie June 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Brilliant, Chrissy..

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Sarah June 1, 2012 at 10:13 am

I can see both sides. Yes, I think government is WAY too involved! And they should not be controlling health decisions I make for myself. But, the truth is, the FDA doesn’t give two shits about Americans or their health- and so Mayor Bloomberg decided to speak up. The fact that soda is even mass marketed as a consumable product is CRAZY! It’s killing people… The additives in diet Cola can give you cancer and erode your organs. Lobbyists for big Cola pay off our FDA to slap a “safe” label on it… I think the issue should not be with regulating HOW MUCH is available…. It should be on regulating how and why something is ABLE to be available… The FDA is so corrupt.

Sarah
http://www.thinfluenced.com

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Carrie @ShrinkingCarrie June 1, 2012 at 10:48 am

Such a great point! FDA approved means NOTHING to me!

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Joan June 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

I do not agree with what the mayor is doing? If I do or if I don’t is my choice and he was elected to do something totally different. Not to try to take away my choice of food or drink. These are individual choices. The mayor is way off as far as I am concerned. And for the record I am overweight and I do chose to drink sodas. But my body and my drinks is a personal issue that I have to deal with and as far as I am concern it is not for political gain. If you don’t have an overweight problem you will never know what it takes to overcome. It is hard but not impossible. I don’t need someone who doesn’t know me nor my situation to make a choice for me when I have not asked for one. I am an American and proud of it and I am not willing for someone else to chose for me. So I think the mayor is off base, he is trying to take away my freedom of choice. Joan

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Dukebdc June 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

I’ve read up on what his proposed legislation actually entails, and it’s a proposal without teeth. Soda size will NOT be restricted in convenience stores or grocery stores. In fast food chains that have self-serve soda machines, the cashiers will only be able to offer 16 oz cups, but unlimited refills are still permitted. Restaurants that offer free refills on drinks will still do so. So honestly, it’s much ado about nothing-meant for publicity and not to force change. In my opinion it’s pretty poorly thought out.

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Carrie @ShrinkingCarrie June 1, 2012 at 10:44 am

I hate getting political, and I will say that I hope I can explain my thoughts the way they come across in my head, but where is the line for Government intervention? It is all very Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t, and I would support a ban on soda. I don’t drink soda very often, but it sure would be a huge help and support if it was nowhere to be found. One less worry for me!
It seems that America wants to pick and choose what they want their government to step in on, and obesity is running ramped in this country! It also ties into so many other things like healthcare. One of the reason’s (besides corruption and greediness) healthcare is so expensive is because it seems more people are high risk and unhealthy. Insurance companies don’t want to pay for somebody they know will be in and out of the hospital for weight related issues.
A lot of people want the government to take care of them, but they don’t want to take care of themselves (and yes, I am including myself in this statement because I am overweight myself).
*end rant*
Great post btw!

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Jadelyn June 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I…are you serious? You’d like things to be banned simply because you lack the self-control to make the choices you think you should be making? You do understand that you’re not the only person in the world, right? Why should your willpower dictate what I can or can’t buy?

I mean, maybe I’ve got a serious sweet tooth with a particular weakness for ice cream. Chocolate ice cream, specifically. I just keep buying it, but I know I’m having more than is good for me. I think I’ll see if I can get the government to ban the sale of chocolate ice cream. How’s that sound? It would be a huge help and support if it were nowhere to be found.

I just cannot wrap my head around that kind of thinking.

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blergles June 1, 2012 at 10:48 am

I am overweight. I drink soda. I don’t live in New York. And in general I’m a big ole liberal.

But I support this.

He’s not taking away your ability to decide what you want or don’t want to consume. He’s putting proportions back on a normal track. If you order a medium drink at McDonald’s and at Wendys’s you WILL get two different sizes entirely. And even at the movies, none of those sizes are normal sizes. They are all supersized options. I believe his stance will start to put some of those things in proportion for people.

That said, if you want to purchase 32 ounces of Coke, you’ll still do it. You’ll just purchase two 16 oz drinks. He’s not taking away your right to have a Coke. You can still have a Coke (and I will). But it’s moving toward people realizing it needs to be a sometime drink and not think they 32 oz of a sugary drink is the normal.

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MB June 1, 2012 at 10:58 am

We like to believe we live in a free country but with laws like this it proves that the government wants to control our lives. They should stay out of our kitchens, bedrooms and personal affairs.

I gave up my addiction to Diet Coke in 2008 and find it hard to believe I ever loved that stuff. Amazing how we at able to change for the better.

Rock on!

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Heather B June 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

I believe this is a GRAVE intention at controlling the people in a supposedly FREE country!!! The government is going too far to try and fix us! If they are going to ban sugary drinks, which I no longer drink soda, then they MUST get rid of all the sugary food as well. Which I still eat, on occasion!

STOP TRYING TO CONTROL OUR EVERY MOVE!!!!!

I truly feel sorry for the America my kids are going to live in as adults if things don’t drastically change!!!

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Molly Nitka June 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

The govt should not be telling us what to eat and or drink. It your right to drink a gallon of sugary soda or any beverage a day if you want. IT’S YOUR CHOICE. I a lot of us agree it isn’t the best choice but we need to worry about our own bodies. Its disgusting to think that we are living in a country where being over-weight is killing us. We all know the facts about obesity, we know it causes diseases and a shit ton of other symptoms. We are too lazy to exercise and eat better, we want to just pop a pill in our mouths to make it a little better. So sad.

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Katie June 1, 2012 at 11:54 am

One thing that I definitely think can be controlled while not necessarily banning soda is free refills. They shouldn’t be free and waiters/waitresses should not continue to bring out soda after soda during a meal. I will admit I love me some Diet Coke but now that I am breastfeeding and watching my caffeine intake, I no longer drink it at restaurants because of the constant refills. I only have one can at home so I know exactly how much I am drinking. And, I totally agree with you that diet soda is just as bad as regular, but I always say it’s my one vice is life! Hopefully someday I will kick the habit entirely because I didn’t have it while I was pregnant. I wasn’t aware of the mayor’s plan, so I am not sure how I feel about it yet after just reading about it for the first time in this post….I want to read more about it now!

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Jon June 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm

This is an extremely good post. I can see the points from both sides but I would never say this much ado about nothing.

First and foremost it is a time honored tradition that lawyers (in this case lawmakers) ask the wrong question when they do not want the right answer. The legislation is not so much poorly thought out as it would not stand a snowballs chance of passing if it pisses everyone off. It has enough noise to cater to the health care industry and a growing cross section of the population who want more regulation in the food industry. However it falls short of a complete ban with the allowing of free refills or self service sizing being left alone. Honestly in a restaurant it has baffled me why we pay more for larger sizes when you have free refills.

That said the other thing a much ado about nothing measure like this does is set a precedent for future laws. If you give a mouse a cookie. This proposed measure itself may do nothing, however it makes it easier for stronger measures to be passed or conversely this measure can be revised at a later date . Picture it like an unfinished basement, acquire the land, build the foundation but you can later revise the interior of the house to better suit your needs later. It is much easier (and quieter) to revise a law as opposed to enacting a new one.

As the Declaration of Independence said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We choose how to live our life, and have the liberty to pursue our happiness. Denying a choice in any form is a denial of the liberty to pursue our happiness, be it a sugary drink, mixed drink, king sized candy bar, an all you can eat buffet or a measure to double the size of a filter on a standard cigarette. (All of which are likely targets of an expansion of the same measure after all its the same principal governing the drink size)

Bottom line is the Government can not tell us to do anything without our permission. The measure has to pass. We have a voice, a phone and elected representatives. Call your councilman, senator and congressmen and voice the opposition to the proposal. All of these individuals seek your support at election time and as Bill Murray said in Ghostbusters, “If I’m right, and we can stop this thing, Lenny, you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters.”

But of course that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

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Laurie June 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I can also see both sides. I don’t think that the Mayor wants to erode the rights of individuals to make their own decisions about food and drinks. As a culture, perhaps with the influence of soft drink manufacturers and other food service chains, the size of beverages has gotten VERY inflated. I’m sure someone else has done more research on this. 16 oz. is actually a very reasonable size for a drink. It’s a pint, after all!

I think what this measure WOULD do is put the brakes on the ever increasing size of beverages. Really, sizes of drinks have gotten pretty ridiculous. Drinking soda or any sugary beverage is something people do mindlessly. It takes far less effort to drink out of a straw than to chew food, and probably it doesn’t have the same impact to satisfy hunger cravings as food. In the long run, tempering the size of beverages is a small step, but could very well help people take in less calories. People will still be able to enjoy sipping a Coke or Pepsi, but won’t sipping calories just because it’s there.

My mom is a Dr. Pepper addict. She drinks it from the time she gets up to the time she goes to sleep. One day I added up her calories from the soda she pours and drinks throughout the day. It was 1,800. She likes the taste and I think more than anything, having it available, she just drinks out of habit, not necessarily thirst. And no, this revelation did not convince her to cut back or even switch to diet. Maybe if all her glasses were a little smaller, would she drink less? I don’t know, but it might save her a few calories here or there, and that could always add up.

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Nicole June 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I support it. I think back to when I was a kid and I would order the biggest size of sugary drink available. If it wasn’t available above 16oz, then that was what I would have gotten.

A ban like this will do nothing to stop the liberties of people who intentionally want to consume larger portions. Because they can just order another one. If the ban was saying it would limit one per person then THAT would be infringing on our liberties. But it’s not. It’s limiting the largest sizes available, which I think will go a long way towards checking our mindless (as opposed to mindful) consumption.

When these giant sizes are available, the implication is that the giant size is a “normal” and appropriate portion. When these sizes get larger and larger, it sets an artificial and constantly growing upper limit for what people perceive an acceptable portion size to be. Sure, it would be great if everyone knew how to reference appropriate portion sizes for their age, sex, and activity level. But we don’t unless we make a conscious effort to do that. And when we are young and growing, it is unlikely that we will have made any sort of conscious decisions about our health. By the time we do, often the damage has been done.

So I guess what I am saying, having been a very overweight child who grew into a very overweight adult, is that I wish those giant big gulps and 44oz sugar sodas had not been available when I didn’t know any better.

I think what a law like this will do is curb the unconscious consumption of these large portion sizes but it does NOT stop the conscious consumption. That is why I think it is not only okay, but a good idea.

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Rachel June 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I lived in the Bronx for a year and a half and can tell you that this ban will do nothing to confront the growing obesity epidemic in New York City. Banning large sodas is illegal for constitutional reasons that I won’t really get into here, but there are much bigger problems causing obesity, mainly poverty in poor neighborhoods.

In the neighborhood I lived in in the Bronx it was next to impossible to get fresh produce even though the Hunt’s Point Market was only 4 stops away. The only vegetables available would be ones that were sturdy and could last a long time on the shelf such as root vegetables. Besides vegetables aimed towards the Hispanic market like plantains you could not find anything else.

Every Saturday we would take the 6 train to the Whole Foods on 14th Street and buy our vegetables and other healthy food for a week. It put a huge dent in our budget as we were both on unemployment at the time but not qualified for food stamps. (I’m not sure if Whole Foods takes food stamps anyway.) We would then take our bags of groceries an hour back on the train. It would be an all day affair but it was the only way to get vegetables such as brussels sprouts, green beans or asparagus. (Along with items like whole grain cereal, brown rice and quinoa.)

When I started working again and we got more money we got a parking spot and would drive to Westchester County to get our food as it was significantly cheaper than the food in the Bronx. It would still be an hour each direction in good traffic and we had to buy a cooler.

The way to solve the obesity epidemic is to make it cheaper to cook healthy food in the inner cities than to eat junk food. Why spend $12.99 for a pound of turkey breast when you can get a 2 piece meal at Popeye’s for $2.99? Why not encourage farmer’s markets in poor neighborhoods by making it easier for vendors to accept food stamps? Why encourage the purchase of sugary cereals, white bread, potato chips, and yes, soda by allowing them to be purchased with food stamps and WIC checks? You are simply making it so that those without money must eat garbage in order to afford to eat. Making it so you can’t buy a 20 oz bottle of Coke will do nothing about that.

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Cat June 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm

We cannot expect a change in our nation’s obesity epidemic by passing a law. Period. It will only end if we each start taking responsibility for our own actions, one person, one choice at a time. We can’t wipe it out by eliminating options because the addictive behavior will just be transferred to another undesirable thing. We will still have an addiction. Our government may have our best interest at heart, but if we are told we can’t do something for our “own good”, people will rebel and find ways around it, much like a rebellious teenager.

I don’t drink sugary drinks anymore, either, but that’s because I chose to stop. If a law had been passed making my favorite Starbucks drink illegal, I would have just learned how to make it at home, probably having it much more often than I did when I purchased it at the coffee shop. And it wasn’t Starbucks’ fault I was obese. It was MINE.

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Marla June 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

What’s going to stop someone from buying two sugar bomb 16 oz drinks for themselves? I feel limiting sugary drink sizes is the government overstepping their bounds. We all know how prohibition turned out. What’s next? Limiting the amount of grams of fat in a serving size?

Bottom line, I am an adult. I know what I need to do and what I should be eating. Do I do it all the time? No. Do I understand the consequences of not eating right? Yes. Is that going to stop me from going out and having a large margarita? No. But I consider exercising more to burn off all those calories that I didn’t need. How did I learn about how many calories I should consume in a day and how many I should burn through exercise? Education and not through the education I received while in school.

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PerriA June 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I totally agree with you. I was thinking those same things when I first heard about Bloomberg’s proposal. As an American you are free to make choices for ourselves unless you are under the age of 18. Consumers need to be the one to force companies to make changes on products. If we don’t drink the sugary drinks and choose more healthful alternatives then those drink companies making sugary drinks will have no choice but to change.

There are so many products out there that people are eating, drinking, smoking, and using daily that can cause long term harmful effects. Heck, if you have a fast car you COULD crash and kill yourself. Do we ban fast cars? No. Polution can cause lung cancer. Do we ban breathing in cities? Come on. No. Of course not.

Bloomberg’s intentions are good but the logic is faulty. Why ban sugary drinks when you don’t push to ban cigarettes? What other rights will be taken away by some do-good politician? Instead of making a positive change in people’s diets, the change will be in the right for each person to have a choice. To learn. To make alternative choices. Start at the schools and educate kids on healthful eating and drinking. Educate parents. Make healthful foods available to low income families. Right now it is more affordable in a grocery store to by junk food and un-healthy food items then fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat choices. You can buy a 2-liter soda for $1.50 and it will cost you up to $5 for a gallon of milk or orange juice. A large bag of chips is $2 and a fresh apple can cost up to $2 for one.

Perhaps Bloomberg should stick to figuring out how to make it possible for us all to eat a healthful diet so we can make the right choices for ourselves.

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KCLAnderson (Karen) June 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I think the effort should be towards controlling what and how “food” companies market their products. Cigarettes have a warning label because they cause a host of health problems…so do sugary drinks.

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Jessica June 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I disagree with the government banning soda. This, to me, is a true example of a slippery slope in politics. It’s not their right to control how much soda is consumed by individuals.

I understand their intentions, but it’s not within their power.

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Frank OHara June 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Kenlie wrote: “he has suggested that restaurants (and places like Starbucks as well) should no longer be allowed to sell sugary, calorie-laden drinks that are larger than 16 oz.”
I doubt he “suggested.” People have a need to control the actions of other people. They want that ultimate power. I suspect Bloomberg was trying to get legislation passed. That would of course, have been unpopular. Not the territory of a politician. But, if he could get a ground swell of support?
Look around at the professions that control other people, teachers, principles, politicians, Police officers (probably the worst) career military officers, there are hundreds of them. That need to control is evident in their actions on the job.
“but this attempt to control our caloric intake is eroding the rights of Americans.”
Yes, those who want to control want to control every aspect of our lives often in minute detail.
“I’m overweight even though I weigh a lot less than I used to, and I’m afraid that Mayor Bloomberg simply does not understand the the psychological (and in some cases) physical damage that could result from telling Americans what they can or cannot consume.”
I also doubt he understands and I also doubt he really cares. That type wants to dictate your every meal. They especially want to tell you if you can have snacks and deserts. Bloomberg is just a very public face of this.
“The government already controls so much more than it”
A talk radio personality in my area used to challenge his listeners to name a part of our daily lives that the government didn’t have some control over. In several years, no one was able to answer his question.
“It may not seem like a big deal to some, but my question is when will it end? Where will we draw the line? I don’t want to look back at my life fifty years from now only to wonder at which moment America was no longer a free country”

Think about this Kenlie: Every year for more than 200 years, people have been meeting in House and Senate chambers in Washington and the 50 states to pass new laws to control our lives. In 200+ years, shouldn’t we already have enough laws? How often do they repeal laws? Very seldom and seldom are there new situations that require new laws but they are there every year passing new laws.
Yet, every political season, candidates promise the electorate that they will go to the legislature and pass new laws for you and me. I don’t want any new laws. We’ve got enough already to address any legitimate issue just by applying existing laws.
This is control pure and simple. Control by people who have a psychological need to control other people’s lives.

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Kenlie June 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Yeah, it’s a control issue…Absolutely. And allowing the gov’t to erode our rights just because they already have too much power is just silly.

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Daisy June 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm

It seems to be that the intentions are good, but what’s to say that once they can’t buy the mega-super 32 oz or whatever they won’t just say “two 16 oz sodas please!” And don’t most places offer refills for people dining in? I just think it’ll be rather useless because people are going to abuse their bodies any way they please, whether the government tries to stop them or not. Being the defiant bunch we Americans are, some may choose to simply BECAUSE the government tells them not to.

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Eric Van De Ven June 1, 2012 at 4:32 pm

What is next, no desserts in fine dining establishments?

I guess we are going to need a “Free Range Adults” site next!

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Gail @ Shrinking Sisters June 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm

We spent last weekend at Universal Florida and all I wanted to do was smack the monster turkey legs and soda vats out of the hands of the obese 7-year-olds stuffed into rental strollers.

And I’m not exaggerating.

A trip to one of America’s fine theme parks lets you know that we’re incredibly unhealthy and unwilling to change our eating habits on our own. While soda is unlimited if you buy a special giant refillable mug, water drinkers have to shell out $3 for every 16-ounce bottle. That’s where the priorities are.

Talk all you will about self-control and willpower — food manufacturers have worked long and hard in their labs tweaking their secret recipes to short-circuit all those biological controls.

Seat-belt laws, speed limits, motorcycle-helmet laws (except in bonehead Florida), open-container laws and smoking bans — all are similar in that the government would prefer you not kill yourself. Limiting the size of sugared sodas is similar.

America needs “nannying” because its bad habits are far too entrenched.

(Stepping off biodegradable soapbox now …)

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Cathy June 2, 2012 at 7:33 am

Add bonehead Michigan to your list of states with no motorcycle helmet laws. They just changed it.

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Erin Alexander June 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I think it’s unconstitutional . No one should be telling people how to live their lives, or force them to behave in a certain way. If people want to drink high fat sugar filled drinks, that’s their business!

I think we should focus more on educating people than forcing them to do what “we” want.

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Tracy from My Tiny Tank June 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm

This was a great post. I think telling people what they can and can not drink is silly. People will consume what they want to consume. I do think for some having a smaller portion available to them will curb consumption, but others will just order another.
As for it being a law, wait a minute, a law telling me what I can and can not drink. Aren’t we adults! So I don’t believe a law is the right approach.
Education is way more effective.
I have a soda story. I was addicted. Addicted to diet soda. I couldn’t start my day without it and I wasn’t alone. It was information about the effects of the artificial sweeteners on my body that made we want to STOP. It was a very difficult process. Remember I couldn’t go a day without it. BUT the information scared me and I STOPPED!
INFORMATION is key. Mr. Bloomberg spend the money on education!

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wow June 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm

WOW!!! I’m shocked that people are so up in arms about this. I really don’t see what the big deal is. It’s not restricting what you drink, it’s just reducing how much you are served in one portion. If you want to get up and refill your glass or have the server bring you another, no one’s stopping you. So I can’t get my vendi iced coffee from Starbucks. They put over 4 oz of ice in that drink anyway. I’ll just order a grande without the ice and get just about the same amoount.

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deb June 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm

No, I don’t feel like my rights are being trampled on or it’s unconstitutional to limit the serving sizes of sugar drinks. Now if I had to show ID, punch quota card, or produce a blood sample so they could test my glucose levels in order for me to get a soda, then I’d start to think my rights are being infriged upon. These supersizes that people appear to be defending with their lives really didn’t exist until the late 80s/early 90s, and it was a marketing ploy to get us to spend more for something to think we were getting a bargain. Why are we defending what was essentially a sales tactic as if it’s one of our inalienable rights?

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Frank OHara June 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Deb, what size “sugar drink” should be the maximum? What about a milkshake? They have far more sugar AND they contain fat. Carbonated beverages do not contain fat. If carbonated beverages should be limited to 16 oz., Milkshakes should be limited to 5 oz or just over a cup or even less if you figure in the fat. Is a cup of milkshake enough in your opinion?

What about cholestrol? Cholesterol clogs the arteries, especially the heart so it is a danger to your health. Should cholesterol containing foods be banned? Some of our favorites contain high amounts of cholesterol like ice cream, cheese and sausages. Should those also be banned to protect other people. Two foods I especially like are fried chicken livers and shrimp. They both contain high levels of cholesterol but they can be eaten in moderation. Do you want those to be banned or portion controlled? What if I were advocating removing a couple of your favorite foods from the grocery or restaurants? Would that be me trying to control *your* actions? Would that be OK with you?

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deb June 14, 2012 at 5:31 am

Frank – No one would stop you from having your 32 ounces of soda – you just order a refill or buy a second drink if you’re getting it to go. Have 20 refills or buy 20 drinks if you want, no one’s going to stop you. It’s just that your 20 refills or drink orders will be served in a 16 oz cup.
I guess I just don’t understand why people are hung up on the size of the cup. Now if people were concerned about how much it will cost NY to implement and enforce this law, then I’d understand the objections.

Personally, I think a better deterrent would be if we paid a consist cost per ounce. If a 16 oz drink is $2, then the 32 oz drink should be $4 because it’s twice the size of the 16 oz drink, not $3 because it’s a bargain. I bet if buying a 48 oz soda was no longer a “deal”, it might deter some people from buying these drinks fequently.

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Ann June 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I really don’t like people telling us what we can & can’t have. The govt has become too much of a nanny state & people need to take responsibility for their own actions.

I don’t drink a lot of soda & I’m not addicted, so it doesn’t affect me much, but there’s just a day here & there when I just really want a nice big, cold coke & I should be able to have it. I just know I shouldn’t have it every day, and I dont, that’s not something you can legislate. Plus the diet stuff isn’t better for you anyway!

This doesn’t apply to stores, so people will still be able to get large portions there & drink it at home. Like you said, people that want it will still find a way to get it, so it’s not going to help those people with a problem. Yes, maybe I will have even less, but I’m not the one with the problem. Trust me…gave up soda for Lent one year & didn’t lose a lb, so this ban won’t help me be thinner.

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Frank OHara June 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Ann wrote: “people will still be able to get large portions there & drink it at home. Like you said, people that want it will still find a way to get it, so it’s not going to help those people with a problem.”

Yes, Ann. The government tried to prohibit alcoholic beverages in the days of prohibition of the 1920′s. It didn’t work but it did increase crime. It was the way the Mafia got a foot hold in the country.

With the way *some* people want tp control soft drinks, would we see the rise of another Mafia to supply the demand?

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Abby Clark June 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I am a soda drinker and I am also overweight. I do not drink soda every day, but I enjoy having a soda from time to time. I don’t drink enough soda to say that it has caused me to be overweight though either. I also do not drink soda when I go out to eat. I usually get water because most of the time soda is more expensive.

Do I think they should pass a law forbidding restaurants from selling soda in more than 16 oz (which is actually quite a bit of soda), NO. Why? I agree with the others who posted they will just order a 16oz more than once. I also do not think it will stop there. Before long you wont be able to sell it at all.

Plus, from a business perspective it is not a good idea. Some places lose money on the sale of soda, however, the sugar from the soda increases appetite and therefore people buy more food. So, I think most restaurants would lose money *that is if they have a person who is drinking 4 or 5 glasses of soda during a meal). Would this ban keep restaurants from giving refills? Maybe they should pass a law requiring restaurants to charge for soda refills. If I had to pay $3 for a glass of soda I would not have more than one to drink during a meal. I am cheap, I drink water because most restaurants here give it out for free. If they pass a law banning soda from the restaurants it may not be free much longer (We may have to start paying for water when we eat out). The only place that I have been charged for water was a bar, which brings me to my next point. Alcohol is apparently better for you than soda. It has not been banned in restaurants.

I have other issues with this law as well. Kenlie makes some good points! Mostly, I think it takes more rights away from people. I have read a couple of articles that link this soda ban to most cities having a smoking ban, but I feel like that is comparing apples to oranges.

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Frank OHara June 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

Abby wrote: “Plus, from a business perspective it is not a good idea. Some places lose money on the sale of soda,”

You don’t know much about the restaurant business, do you? The cost of a cup of soft drink is about 5 – 8 cents per serving. The most profitable item for restaurants is tea at 3 – 4 cents cost per serving. Tea is the most profitable item restaurants sell. Soft drinks run a close second. Many restaurants would close without these two.

.

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Abby Clark June 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm

The rest of the sentence was the sugar from the soda increases appetite and therefore people buy more food. I don’t think the soda itself is where they will lose money :)

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Abby June 5, 2012 at 12:23 am

Sorry….please disregard this comment. I left myself logged in & my best friends daughter (my neice ) left the comment. She is 9 and thought she was being cute. My apologies. I have tweeted Kenlie to request the reply be removed.

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Frank OHara June 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Abby Clark wrote: “Do I think they should pass a law forbidding restaurants from selling soda in more than 16 oz (which is actually quite a bit of soda), NO. Why? I agree with the others who posted they will just order a 16oz more than once.”

This is exactly what has happened with alcoholic beverages at bars and restaurants. Servers are responsible for limiting the intake and shutting patrons off when they have had too much. Has this stopped drinking? Has it stopped drinking and driving?

“I have read a couple of articles that link this soda ban to most cities having a smoking ban, but I feel like that is comparing apples to oranges.”

It is really all about people wanting to control the lives of others, taking away from them what they don’t want them to have.

I live my life in moderation. I drink soda but limit it to a reasonable amount. I’m within 5 lbs of my ideal weight. Should I be denied a large soda on a hot August afternoon? If I should be denied a 32 oz. soda, should I also be denied an ice cream sundae? Should I be denied a slice of cheese cake? (sugar and fat and cholesterol)

Should I be told I can’t drink a 6 pack (of beer) if I’m going to be at home all day?

.

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Tammy June 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I cannot support a law that takes away my freedom. The ban is not right for me or America. I don’t even drink regular soda, but Come on!

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Frank OHara June 3, 2012 at 9:48 am

Tammy, this is a common desire, to control what others do by law. It is seen in many issues. People have a desire to control other people and try to get laws passed to exercise this level of control even when it doesn’t affect them.

It would seem that they are wanting a law like this to control themselves when they don’t have the self control to “just say no.” They want the self control and want a law that would force this self control on them while not thinking about everyone else.

.

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Amanda June 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I think the intent is good, but I don’t think people will follow through. People have to want to make changes for themselves.

Personally, I want to make healthy changes in my life on my own accord…not because someone is forcing me to do it.

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Frank OHara June 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Amanda wrote: “Personally, I want to make healthy changes in my life on my own accord…not because someone is forcing me to do it.”

That is The American way. The other way is something you would find in a communist country.

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kjpugs June 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm

When I was little, my sister (20 months younger) and I would ride bikes for hours on end. Well one day, my immature sister decided to goof off and rode her bike into a wall, bending up the bike and scraping herself up pretty good. My parents deemed it too dangerous, and we both lost biking privileges outside of our yard.

I had not had a bike accident, but because of her, I wasn’t allowed to go out biking again for a while (until we grew up a bit.)

That’s how I see government interference like this. Why punish people who have self control (or don’t care to!?) because it’s unhealthy? Focus on education- I love the places that mandate calories on menus- stuff like that- instead of slapping everyone’s hands. Let people make their own decisions… I already think the government is too involved in our lives, what I drink should not be included in that.

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Marcia June 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm

This is a very slippery slope. Soda today, fat camps tomorrow!!

I drink way too much diet soda. Did you go cold turkey or slowly cut down? How long did the side effects bother you? I am scared to take the step but know I need to many suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Kenlie June 5, 2012 at 1:58 am

I quit it all cold turkey. It was the only way that seemed possible for me, and it worked. I craved it for months, but one day I looked back and realized that I no longer thought about it. Now I find the thought of it appalling.

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Tim (Fat.Boy.Thin) June 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I was pretty horrified when I saw the sizes of soda when I went to America. In one restaurant I ate in, a small soda was the size of an XL soda in the UK. It really shocked me.

It worries me that people would want to drink more than 16 oz of sugary soda but even with the ban, the option is still there for people to buy as much as they want. Personally if this was the UK and the government proposed this tomorrow, I would want stronger action than a simple banning of drinks over 16 oz. I would also want people to be educated better too.

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jae June 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I like this idea!

It breaks my heart to drive by 7/11 and see the local jr high kids walk back to school with Big Gulp cups larger then their torsos!!

But it’s also disgusting to see adults, who should know better, walking around with those ginormous cups. However, in our society those sizes are the norm. Bigger is better, right? A 32 oz cup is tiny compared to the 64 oz that’s next to it so what’s the harm in getting that size? I think if people do buy two 16oz drinks maybe they’ll look down at the double dose of crap and think twice about what they are doing to their body.

Reading the comments for this post if infuriating! People throw around the word “rights!” as in “They are taking away our rights to choose!!”. Really? Not given the option of buying a huge soda is taking away your rights? I think here in America that word has been soooooo over used it has no meaning anymore. Well it does have a meaning, it means people can act as badly as they want and do what ever harmful thing they want to do with no consequences because it’s their RIGHT, and don’t take that away! Sorry, when child molesters and killers in prison live better than our lower class children because it’s their right, that word has lost it’s meaning.

Lastly, it’s embarrassing when people from other countries are appalled at the size of our food and drink portions. No wonder we’re the fattest country in the world! And if some government official wants to help us see just how gluttonous we are and help us get a little healthier then why can’t we just embrace the help instead of fight it?

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Jodi June 7, 2012 at 8:58 am

What really bugs me about this is that in my home state we can’t even get our politicians to agree to drug test welfare recipients much less make anyone stop drinking big gulps! How did he pull this shit off?

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