A few days ago the latest Hungry for Change newsletter popped into my inbox with an article in it about the proposed ban on the sale of supersized beverages in New York City. The ban would pertain to some (not all) sweetened beverages 16 ounces or larger. I find this very interesting and thought I would share. This is what I know.
According to a September 2012 article in the New York Times, “Seeking to reduce runaway obesity rates, the New York City Board of Health on Thursday approved a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, street carts and movie theaters, the first restriction of its kind in the country. ” The article also states,”Only establishments that receive inspection grades from the health department, including movie theaters and stadium concession stands, will be subject to the rules. Convenience stores, including 7-Eleven and its king-size Big Gulp drinks, would be exempt, along with vending machines and some newsstands. 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.”
In a measure meant to protect the health of its constituents, I find it hard to believe that diet sodas are not addressed in this ban. This would mean that I could still go into a New York 7-11 and purchase a 44 ounce Super Big Gulp Diet Coke containing harmful chemicals such as aspartame and caramel E150d. Click here for more info on the petition to remove the harmful caramel E150d from the FDA (GRAS) Generally Recognized as Safe list.
I am torn because the optimist in me feels like there is valor in at least trying to create an environment where healthy habits can begin to flourish. My god, at least someone is trying. But I also feel like the government should keep their laws out of restricting what goes in my mouth and focus their efforts on education, food regulation without influence from lobby groups and more equitable access to healthy foods. Restrictions on the consumer simply at the point of purchase of a supersized beverage seems short sighted to me. Though well intended, the supersized beverage ban falls flat.
What do you think?
Have a delicious day.
Click here to read the NY Times article in its entirety
Click here for the Hungry for Change article
New York Times article written by M. Grynbaum
Soda image from Hungry For Change