September 13, 2012

Say Goodbye To Super-Sized Sodas In New York

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

Say goodbye to that super-duper, mega-sized soda, New Yorkers. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to ban the super-sized soft drinks has been approved.

New York City's Board of Health approved the mayor's proposal to ban large, sugary beverages that are sold at city restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts.

"NYC's new sugary drink policy is the single biggest step any gov't has taken to curb #obesity," Bloomberg wrote in Twitter after the vote. "It will help save lives."

The ban applies to sugary drinks that have more than 25 calories per 8 ounces, and will not affect 100% juice or beverages with more than 50 percent milk or milk substitute.

Under Mayor Bloomberg's plan, bottled drinks and fountain beverages will have to be either 16-ounces or under.

One group called New Yorkers for Beverage Choices formed after the proposal was made to try and fight the ban. It included companies like Coca-Cola and associations like the National Association of Theatre Owners.

"This is not the end," Eliot Hoff, spokesman for New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, said in a press release. "We are exploring legal options and all other avenues available to us."

While there is plenty of backlash from several associations throughout the city, the ban does have its supporters as well.

"The Board of Health did the right thing for New York," Steven Safyer, president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, told USA Today. "For the past several years, I've seen the number of children and adults struggling with obesity skyrocket, putting them at early risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer."

"Sugary beverages play a major role in this cycle, and are so heavily marketed to children, they jeopardize the next generation of New Yorkers."

According to a report by ABC, capping drinks at 16 ounces means that for regular Coke, you are shaving off about 40 calories when compared to drinking a 20-ounce size of the product. For someone who drinks a soda a day, it would ultimately save about 14,600 calories a year, and shed about four pounds of fat.

City statistics show that 58% of New York City adults, and nearly 40% of public school students, are obese or overweight.

“For more than 100 years, the soda industry has had free reign and for many years it was not a problem because people mostly drank in moderation,” Michael Jacobson, CSPI´s co-founder and executive director, said in a statement back in July. “Now container sizes have jumped and the marketing of these drinks – especially to adolescents – has exploded to more than $2 billion a year.”

The new rule wouldn't apply to lower-calorie drinks or to alcoholic beverages. A violation in offering the drinks would lead to a $200 fine and enforcement will be conducted by existing city restaurant inspectors.