New York's Supersized Soda Ban Doesn't Reach Big Gulp

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We are fat, and there are a lot of things that made us that way. One of them is drinking a soda in a bucket the size of a small child.

The goal of the ban of all supersized soda and sugary drinks in New York proposed by the Bloomberg Administration is to fight obesity.

Will it work?

The Facts

  • The Bloomberg ban includes both to-go packaged and bottled soda over 16 ounces, as well as sweetened coffee and tea, and fruit juice with sugar.
  • The ban would apply to restaurants, movie theaters, street carts, delis, fast-food franchises, and sports arenas.
  • The ban does not apply to alcohol -- meaning you could still drink your self silly, getting all of those calories and be roaring drunk to boot.
  • You can still drink supersized diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes.
  • The ban doesn't effect free refills.
  • The ban also does not apply to grocery or convenience stores. Between the lines: The Big Gulp from 7-Eleven is here to stay.

Ellen DeGeneres sums up the over-the-top drink sizes here:

Downing 7-Eleven's 32-ounce Big Gulp means you've just consumed 364 calories -- and those are not the good calories, as they are all from sugar. Still thirsty? A 38-ounce Super Gulp is 512 calories.

Is the Ban a Violation of Personal Rights?

So why are we drinking these supersized sodas?

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A 1987 ad by 7-Eleven introducing the Big and Super Gulps in 1987 seems to explain that it is all about personal freedom:

When getting a little thing like a soft drink starts geting hard, come to 7-Eleven where you'll always get your favorite soft drink fixed by someone who knows just how you like it, you.

Bloomberg is taking that freedom away.

Or is he? When if comes down to it, the ban would only be an inconvenience for the die-hard soda drinkers. If you really want to drink 32 ounces of Coke, no one is going to stop you from ordering two.

Why Soda is Such a Big Fat Offender

The problem with soda is it is misleading -- it's easy to suck down without realizing those calories add up. People confuse it with hydration, and think passing up on sweet desserts is the way to go for a healthy diet.

But a Super Gulp is only slightly less calories than a 540-calorie coffee milk shake at Wendy's and you'd have to eat nearly three packages of Reeses Pieces Peanut Butter Cups (630 calories).

To put it in perspective, that's about a third of the calories a 125-pound woman should consume over an entire day. (Livestrong says a 125-pound woman should consume around 1,375 calories per day, and a man about 2,100 calories.)

Will it Pass?

The New York Times says yes:
Mr. Bloomberg’s proposal requires the approval of the Board of Health, a step that is considered likely because the members are all appointed by him, and the board’s chairman is the city’s health commissioner, who joined the mayor in supporting the measure on Wednesday.

I don't drink soda -- or very rarely. Probably because I was not allowed soda (or candy) as a child -- unless it was somebody's birthday. It was always considered an indulgence -- not a daily beverage. And the stuff just wasn't in our house at all.

These supersizes are ridiculous, but when it comes to making a difference, I have more confidence in the publicity around the ban verses the ban itself. Getting people to stop drinking excessive soda is more about the education and the mindset.

What do you think about the ban? Let us know in the comments.

Tags: Food Safety | Food Security