So I’m not sure if you heard yet, but the soda ban went through in New York City.
The soda measure would bar the sale of sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, smaller than the size of a common soda bottle. It would affect a range of popular sweetened beverages, including energy drinks, presweetened iced teas and common brands of nondiet soda.
The restrictions would not affect fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; no-calorie diet sodas would not be affected, but establishments with self-service drink fountains, like many fast-food restaurants, would not be allowed to stock cups larger than 16 ounces.
Only establishments that receive inspection grades from the health department would have to obey the rules, a group that includes movie theaters and stadium concession stands. Convenience stores, including 7-Eleven and its king-size “Big Gulp” drinks, would be exempt, along with vending machines and some newsstands.
I wrote about it a few months ago when it was first proposed and while I still think that it’s not the most effective way to help people live healthier lives, I think that it will do some good. After all, do you really need to drink a gallon of soda as you watch a movie in the theater?
The silly part about the ban is that it’s not across the board. You can’t get a 20 ounce soda at a food cart. But you can walk down the street to the grocery store or other convenience store and get the 20 ounce soda that you want. If we’re going to do a ban, why not make it uniform? I’m also curious if they will eliminate free refills in restaurants. Like OK, I can’t get a 32 ounce refillable cup… but I can get a 16 ounce refillable cup. What won’t stop me from refilling that twice as often?
So while I don’t think it’s the magic cure to obesity, the soda ban may do some good in the areas where you just keep drinking… and drinking… and drinking without realizing that you are sucking down hundreds of calories. I know when Bloomberg first proposed the calorie count on menus, people thought it was ludicrous. But you know how easy it makes going out to eat when you are trying to make healthy decisions?
What do you think about the soda ban? Do you think it will make an impact on obesity?