Bloomberg’s Bubbly Beverage Ban

Time for another Constitutional Amendment: The right to eat and drink what we want. America is about the freedom to choose.

I have so much to say about New York City’s proposed ban on large size sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas, delis, and fast food franchises, that I don’t know where to start. 

For one, do we really need a governing body to do something for us that should be within the limits of our own self control!?!  I’m outraged, and insulted. 

First they are trying to tell us how much soda we are allowed to consume ... What’s next? Limiting drive thrus to serve you no more than once a month? How about enforcing a law which allows a person to only eat ten French fries per week?

Have people lost all sense of moderation that the government sees us as being incapable of deciding for ourselves how much we can and can’t eat (or in this case drink)? Apparently our leaders think that we, the general public, are just too stupid to know when enough is enough. Thanks for the insult, Mayor Bloomberg.

If people want to consume more of any substance than they “should”, that’s their prerogative. This kind of legislation will do nothing other than cause cola companies to generate more plastic bottles to pollute our planet, and allow them to get richer at the same time. 

Sales won’t decline. People will buy just as much soda or sugary juice as before.  Except now they will have to buy it in smaller sizes. This leads to a higher production cost per unit for the manufacturer, or restaurant; and in turn that cost will be passed along to the consumer. Coke and Pepsi must be loving this legislation. They stand to profit off of it, for sure.

If this proposal passes, who is to say that other cities and states won’t adopt the same measures?  And if they do, there will be no more picking up a two liter bottle of Coke at the pizza parlor on your way home to share with the family.  Why? Because Chinese food establishments and pizza places are restaurants, and they will now only be allowed to stock bottles 16 ounces or less of sweet beverages.

There will be no more “super sizing it” either. On this point, I see both the good and the bad.  First of all, I really don’t think there’s a need for anyone to consume more than 16 ounces of soda in one sitting. That’s just gluttony. If you’re still thirsty after having that much pop to drink, then perhaps you should hydrate with some good old H20. 

On the other hand, when people order the largest beverage size, they usually get it with ice, when it’s served in a cup.  Ice takes up at least half of the volume if not more. So in reality, even if you sprang for 32 ounces of fizzy liquid sugar that could clean battery terminals or remove rust, you’re still left with about 16 ounces of government okayed soda to imbibe.

By the way, free refills would be still be allowed when you order, so you can call it the proverbial back door to working your way around this legislation.

Also, this ban is discriminatory. It does not apply to diet sodas or drinks. That’s like saying if you drink as much diet soda as you want to, it’s perfectly fine, perfectly safe, and it won’t make you fat. That is a completely false statement. 

In large quantities, diet soda has been shown to both promote obesity and the artificial sweeteners increase drinkers’ risk of developing diabetes. And if that doesn’t concern you, what about the increased risk of stroke, cancer, and kidney damage? But I guess if you aren’t “fat”, according to Mayor Bloomberg, you won’t mind having chemo or getting dialysis.

I don’t want any governing body force feeding me or preventing me from making personal choices. Instead of legislating common sense, maybe moderation should be practiced on the personal level. Although Bloomberg’s bubbly beverage ban won’t be affecting the town where I live, I am opposed to the precedent that this could set for future legislation.

For the record, I have never, ever supersized a soda in my life. There’s just no need. But I don’t believe in a supersize government either.


The original blog post was published first at http://theladyinredblog.com, the author's own blog site where you can find thought provoking articles on hot topics, the most delicious recipes, and a whole lot more.

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Jennifer June 03, 2012 at 04:38 PM
When I go to the movies with my kids, it costs me $40 for the tickets. The difference in price between the smallest size soda ( exorbitant) and the HUGE bucket of soda is something like $.50. So we share a soda and save $15. Do I have to go before a panel and explain myself? This is rediculous. And, BTW, there are so many contradictory studies about what foods do what to you that I don't believe anyone can say something like " diet sodas make you fat". Whole grains make you fatter. Every couple of years scientific opinion swings to a new paradigm - Mara rind is good for you, no, margarine is bad for you, low-fat is good, oh, but that makes the foods high in carbs, so maybe low carbs, no whole grains, no definitely not if they contain gluten, but oh, gluten-free foods have some of the highest glycemic indices...what? Stop trying to pretend anyone really has a grip on how to make most people eat in a way that keeps them healthy. People need to decide for themselves what is and isn't working.
louis Chinn June 03, 2012 at 06:40 PM
wow how clever...dope
louis Chinn June 03, 2012 at 06:42 PM
stop being so 2 sided and make a descision. We dont ban things like soda stop the nazi stuff
louis Chinn June 03, 2012 at 06:42 PM
right. personal choice and freedom, as long as its moral and legal...
Laura Madsen June 03, 2012 at 08:01 PM
@Jennifer - If Bloomberg gets his way, anyone caught selling you that large soda would be subject to a fine. The soda police might even arrest the offenders! ;) You can pick the most healthy substance on earth - and if you eat too much of it, it can make you fat! :) How much to consume of anything is a personal decision and I think most people don't want Big Brother making it for them. I hear you on the cost, too!
BobDee June 04, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Outlaw soda pop and legalize marijuana,way ta go moron,,this is the result of an over bloated over-reaching government.
Wolfman June 04, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Big Brother Bloomberg only one hot dog per person at the ball game. This guy should be concerned about creating more jobs and lowering NY City Taxes
Wolfman June 04, 2012 at 05:49 AM
Hot Dogs Are Next ?
Chris Brenner June 04, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I'm no fan of legislating behavior, but how about this angle: the explosive rise in YOUR healthcare insurance costs are largely due to the effect of diabetes. One survey says a third of all medical costs in the US are tied to this disease, one that almost totally preventable. We legislate seat belts, helmets for bikes and motorcycles, why? Because we don't think individuals can make the right choices- how is this different? Would you support it if it cut your health insurance and property taxes in half?
Laura Madsen June 04, 2012 at 12:53 PM
There are a few things that get me about this. If a person wants to harm their own personal health, by smoking, eating what some deem as "unhealthy" foods, or stepping in front of a bus, they should be able to. All of these things that I've mentioned can result in increased healthcare costs. The people making these personal decisions are paying for healthcare, too! And they're also paying for increased healthcare costs as a result of "natural causes" that adversely affect the health of others as well. We all collectively bear that burden. It's not like those who choose not to drink large size sodas are the only ones paying for the increased healthcare costs. Everyone is. There's more to the rising healthcare costs than obesity. Additionally, you can eat too much of something "healthy" and get fat too.
Anthony Ruiz June 04, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Bloomberg is a prime example why you don't want a rich person in political positions. They don't want to impact their fellow rich guys, in fear of impacting their own businesses and investments, so they come up with these laws that restrict freedom but increases profit. Two 16 ounce drinks cost more than one 32 ounce drink. The vendor and supplier will make more money. The Real Answer: Stop subsidizing Corn and Cane farmers. Sugar products at the counter will cost more money and level prices between healthy choices and bad ones. Especially, products made with High Fructose Corn Syrup. Its banned in Europe. Why, because scientists, who developed the product for farm animals, reported it fattened cows and chickens faster than regular sugar. And, its cheaper than real, cane sugar.
Laura Madsen June 04, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I forgot to mention, I'm all for education, not legislation in situations like these.
Laura Madsen June 04, 2012 at 01:05 PM
You make some excellent points, Anthony. Many European nations have banned the usage of harmful ingredients and chemicals that companies may use in consumables, or at the very least they do not subsidize industries which produce such products. The American demand for cheap "food", has compromised the quality of what we eat in many instances. I think I would pass out and faint if the U.S. government only subsidized organic farming in this country.
Curious George June 04, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Laura, education about healthful nutrition hasn't helped. You can't tell me that "the people" haven't heard about the dangers of consuming too much sugar, whether it be in sodas, fruit juices, cereals or almost anything else they eat. Yet, they choose to eat or drink those foods regardless of the information. They are addicted to the sweet taste and don't or can't convince themselves to break the habit...They also don't recognize the fact or don't care about the fact that those eating decisions are costing them more money in health care (which we all subsidize) than might cost them if they bought healthier foods...They can easily start saving money by buying seltzer instead of colas and mixing a small amount of a good fruit juice in a glass and adding the seltzer to fill it up. My wife and I bought some lounge chairs the other day and I was surprised to see that they now sell oversized models because so many people are obese. They cost more money also. Frank Bruni wrote an excellent article in the Sunday Times about this same thing. Stand on any supermarket checkout line and notice the xtra large bottles or 6 packs of colas that the fattest people are buying. They just don't care and we are all paying for it. I think Mayor Bloomberg is right. You have to start somewhere. Just as he banned cigarettes from restaurants and bars and people complained...it's working. If someone is so desperate to have their gigantic container of soda, make them buy a couple of smaller ones.
Laura Madsen June 04, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Education has helped in some instances. I think the majority of the people are capable of making their own decisions as to when enough is enough when it comes to anything. In regard to smoking, you don't see the sale large cartons or multipacks of cigarettes being banned. And smoking is a bit different anyway, as one commenter mentioned on my facebook page. Smoke travels and affects the people around you. No one is going to pour soda down your throat if you don't want to drink it. But you have no choice but to breathe in the smoke of others if they are near you. Some people are well aware of the risks of smoking but do it anyway. It's their choice. With choice comes taking responsibility. People are having more personal choices become restricted by legislation because many do not want to take responsibility for the decisions they make. I can just see it now - someone will turn around and sue a soda company because they got fat and purchased soda from that vendor, instead of taking responsibility for making their own choice. Just like when that woman sued McDonalds for spilling hot coffee on herself. Instead of taking responsibility for using her own common sense when handling a hot beverage she wanted to place blame on someone else. If someone chooses to consume something that isn't necessarily the best for them, it should be their choice. But, they should take responsibility for the consequences.
Laura Madsen June 04, 2012 at 02:20 PM
What's scary is that if measures like this one pass, then it sets precedence. Governing bodies can use this as an example to restrict anything they want, whether we feel it's good or bad to put into our bodies. I don't know any two people that follow the same dietary regimen. We all have different metabolisms, health concerns, and amounts of physical activity. I might be able to eat 3 hot fudge sundaes every day and not get fat. Who's to say I shouldn't do that if I wanted to? (I'm not saying that I do that - but I'm trying to make a point. :) ) Everyone right now has a choice about what to eat and drink and how much. That's how it should be. Most people don't agree on the categories of what's good and bad. I'll give you an example - me, I try to eat organic produce whenever possible. But, there are others, including the government, that say non-organic produce is just as healthy. Would I want the government restricting my decision about what I am able to eat? No. Just because we don't agree on what's healthy, doesn't mean they should step in and treat me like a child.
Victor Olefson June 04, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Despite my libertarian inclinations, I agree with Mayor Bloomberg. We are a fat, sick nation, and a big share of the blame goes to the farm and food manufacturing interests, who have successfully created a nightmare of cheap, corn syrup-filled soda & processed food. I think the 'nanny state' or the conservative vs liberal arguments are bogus-I personally am against most of the drug laws on the books, but the State does have the responsibility and burden of countering the influence and power of Corporate America, especially where the health and welfare of the public is at stake.
Laura Madsen June 04, 2012 at 02:43 PM
To me, this particular issue does not have to do with political affiliation. It just has to do with common sense, SELF control (not governmental control), and retaining our personal freedoms. That's how come over the past few days I've seen people, regardless of which party they associate themselves with, unite (for the most part) against a proposal like this. Additionally, we have to take responsibility for our own health and welfare - not the government. Just because the government says something is healthy or unhealthy doesn't make it so. The old adage comes to mind regarding education, despite concerns, having the freedom to make your own choices: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't force him to drink." The horse can decide for himself if he wants to drink and how much!
Laura Madsen June 04, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Curious George, I thought of one more thing. Even if people pay more for smaller containers of soda (which is what will happen) - do you think that the additional money that the vendors and soda companies make off of these sales will really go to reduce the costs of healthcare? I highly doubt it.
Mike June 04, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Laura, I agree with you on this issue. Democrat or Republican our government should never infringe on our personal freedoms. I did however want to point out how completely incorrect your are about the McDonald's Hot Coffee incident. Please take the time to watch this documentary on HBO ... http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/hot-coffee/index.html You will be shocked by the truth of that incident and how completely incompetent our media and government truly are.
Curious George June 04, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Victor, as much as I agree with your point about the state has the responsibility of countering the influence and power of Corporate America....remember, the "state" consists of the people we elect to represent us and there, my friend, is the problem. They are all beholden to Corporate America for the largesse they receive for supporting them in the first place....and Laura, you mention the dangers of 2nd hand smoke to the general public as the difference between banning smoking and banning the sale of large soda containers...However, as stated before, while there isn't a direct connection at the moment of ingestiion, there is the residual and longer lasting connection to everyone's health care costs...
Laura Madsen June 04, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Thanks for the link re: the coffee incident, Mike. :) I went on what I heard of that story when I listed it in my comment. *I strike my McDonalds coffee comment from the record!* LOL However, I still think people should take responsibility for the choices they make when it comes to what they eat and drink, good or bad, and not be so quick to say that they need a "government nanny".
Emily June 04, 2012 at 04:43 PM
it's very difficult to change the culture of the "American" diet. Sugar laden cereals, enormous portions , fast food, etc. have all added to the poor choices many people make when it comes to eating. It begins at an early age when we offer children sweets as a reward or McDonalds and so on. With all the literature out there and information about good eating habits and exercise, you would think people would absorb these messages and do the right thing. Eventually , they will compromise the health of their organs -liver, kidney, etc. The liver of an obese person looks entirely different from that of a healthy individual. BTW, Some people deceive themselves by thinking that diet sodas are better for them, but they're just as bad because of the artificial ingredients. Common sense should rule.
Laura Madsen June 04, 2012 at 06:12 PM
To me, the government (or in this case Mayor Bloomberg) saying it's ok to drink as much diet soda/juice/liquid as you want, (by virtue of only banning large size non-diet sugar derived drinks) is the same as the government saying it's ok to eat as many chemicals as you want. You won't see me eating diet, low fat, or no fat anything. And while many may not agree with my choice in that matter, I personally feel it's better to consume things that are as natural and unaltered and chemical free as possible. Again, I like being able to make a choice - good, bad, or when it comes to the amount of something I eat. It's my body - not the government's!
Emily June 04, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Laura, nutritionists and Dr. Oz would agree with you. When the fat is taken out, it is sometimes replaced with more sugar. It's important to self educate and question everything. Many physicians are not nutrition savvy. Reading labels and keeping up with the latest information is important. There's also a great deal of confusion and contradictions in medicine and nutrition. So it's good to glean information from various sources and make comparisons. You seem to be aware of all this stuff. But, many in the public don't care and don't want to change their habits. Unfortunately, they'll be paying a high price for ignoring the warnings.
Laura Madsen June 04, 2012 at 07:28 PM
It's just not smart to rely on the government as a food nanny. There are too many financial and political incentives involved in the decisions made. If measures like this one pass, we are welcoming more government control over other personal choices as time goes on, too.
Tony Frezza June 05, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Laura, I know this was a long time ago but at one time you were a very impressionable little girl who was shaping her thoughts and ideals about the world based on everything you saw around you. While you may be an extremely intelligent adult now, think about the time when you were still learning about the world. Is it right to learn that 32 ounces of soda is ok to have at once? This can be as much as 100grams of sugar in one drink! And a drink that is supposed to accompany a meal nonetheless. At one time you had to be taught that 100grams of sugar at once was not ok. Try to think back who taught you this. You had to learn it from someone. You had to base your opinion on moderation through what you saw and learned. You were not born with an instinct to moderate.
Laura Madsen June 05, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Hi Tony, You're right - I was taught moderation, by my parents and I remember learning it in school, too, during health class. I was never taught by the government, though. I just don't feel that a governmental body should be the one to set the limits. But I think as a child, (in some cases) you are born with some instincts about moderation, too - it's probably rare, though. I have a little girl, who ever since I could remember, would tell me that she didn't want to finish a piece of birthday cake because she was full, or on her own closed a box of cookies because she didn't want anymore. She never overindulged. She learned to recognize that full feeling, which I think is awesome for her. :) And now, I try to set an example for her, and always tell her that she's never "required" to finish her dessert. I like being the one to help my child learn moderation. I really don't favor the government doing that for me. Many parents take such a hands-off approach already and want the schools or childcare workers to discipline their kids (a bit off-topic, I know - sorry)....when I think it's better for parents to be more involved in taking responsibility when it comes to raising children - whether it's teaching them right from wrong, or how much is too much to eat or drink.
Emily June 05, 2012 at 12:28 PM
"Freedom means responsibility" as quoted by Michael Tomasky-journalist. He states that eating anything you want is indulgence not a definition of freedom.Those huge tubs of movie theater popcorn along with soda are a calorie nightmare, according to Dr. Keith Ayoob-prof. of pediatrics at Albert Einstein school of medicine. Why do people connect movie going with eating a whole serving of popcorn , giant size , absentmindedly. They are consuming thousands of calories in a short amount of time..So, although we see a lot wrong with our eating habits, it's up to the individual to make wise choices. Another law will not solve the problem. Be vigilent. Eat well and shop wisely. Be aware that supermarkets display certain products up front including huge bottles of cola..on sale. Be aware of the aroma of popcorn when entering a movie theater and think twice before eating such a large amount of saturated fat in one sitting.
Tony Frezza June 05, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Thats great your daughter can push away a piece of cake. I wish I had that willpower. :) She is easily 1 in 100. You don't have to consciously teach your kids what foods to eat. They learn more from what they observe everyday. So you may feel like you didn't directly teach her anything about health but I'm sure shes learned a ton from you. Teaching your kids mindful eating is pretty impressive and I hope to do the same with mine (when I have them). I just posted a post over at my blog livingsuperhuman.com on the subject. Hope you give it a look when you have a few minutes. Thanks, Tony


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