Bloomberg’s Soft Drink Edict: New York State of Mind

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I’m not in favor of Orwellian control of things like drink sizes.

HOWEVER, what seems to have been lost in the recent NYC brouhaha is that there is something huge in the idea of managing down drink sizes (and food portions overall):

1) we all know that humans have essentially zero self-control, and like puppies, will continue to consume whatever is put in front of them until it is gone – – so somehow influencing options makes sense from a behavioral perspective
2) a recent study put Americans’ caloric intake from beverages at around 24% of total caloric intake, yet people to a great extent don’t think about drinks when counting calories – – it’s thought of as sort of a free play.
3) there are roughly 350 calories and about 88 grams of sugar in a single 32 oz cola drink — which chips away quite a bit toward daily recommended intake of 2000-2500 calories and exceeds the recommended daily intake of around 50g sugar (depending on where you source your info).
4) When you consider that a lot of these drinks will be consumed with food, and that restaurant food portions are very often too big and unhealthy, it starts to get scary.

No less an authority than British boy band One Direction (please don’t ask), when asked about the biggest difference between the States and the UK, their immediate response was not the weather, not the girls, not the cars, not the great dental environment – – it was FOOD PORTIONS.    (see 16:47 to about 17:15)

So, I understand Mayor Bloomberg’s objectives, but government mandate can’t be the answer (impractical, unfair; people can apparently easily work around gun laws, so gaming the soda restrictions might just be doable).

If there could be some market-driven way for consumers to somehow be trained to be satisfied with non-excessive portion sizes (food and drink), there could be forward progress.  I wish I had an answer.  But as we’re so trained to equate ‘good value’ with ‘big meal’, getting our arms around this problem will be a tall order (puns intended).


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