If you are a fan of large “sugary” beverages like soda you better watch out if you plan on traveling through New York, as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has moved to ban “sugary drinks” larger than 16 ounces from restaurants, street vendors, and stadiums. Now it seems that he has popcorn and milkshakes in his sights as the next targets on the agenda of “things to ban.”
Mayor Bloomberg seems to think that limiting the size of ones drink will help to lower the amount of sugar and calories they are taking in, but how this will actually play out leaves many wondering how effective a ban of this nature will really be. It all sounds fine and dandy to limit sugary beverages in terms of preventing obesity, diabetes, and other health issues. All of which raises the question: do we really need the government to tell us how much is too much?
I personally believe this is only the beginning and it will become a slippery slope of ban after ban on so called “unhealthy” foods and beverages. Many people may say, “Why do I care if they ban 16oz sodas in New York? I don’t live there.” Well, here in Northeastern Pennsylvania we may not yet feel threatened by what Mayor Bloomberg is doing in New York, but it could turn out to be the latest government enforced “fad,” and Pennsylvania and other nearby states may decide to follow Mayor Bloomberg’s example.
As a matter of fact, something may already be brewing a little closer to home as Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter has proudly praised Michael Bloomberg’s proposal. Could Philadelphia be next? Additionally, Cambridge, Massachusetts mayor Henrietta Davis brought a similar proposal to a city council meeting in her state. So as we can see, the idea is already being floated and will most likely spread — whether or not it is actually effective in changing peoples eating/drinking habits or making them healthier. If this is something you would be opposed to here in Northeastern Pennsylvania then it is well worth keeping an eye out for similar legislation, because education and awareness is the key to prevention!
In all honesty, I think banning sugary drinks over 16oz just encourages people to buy multiple smaller sized drinks. For example, instead of purchasing one 16oz beverage customers will more than likely now purchase two 12oz drinks, which adds up to 24oz — a whole 8oz more than if they had just purchased one 16oz drink to begin with. The argument is that some will do this and some will just purchase a single 12 oz beverage and move on. I understand where the thought comes from, but I personally believe it is beyond the scope of what government at any level should be doing in terms of becoming more and more involved in our personal lives.
I think this issue should not be between citizens and government, but rather between people and their doctors. If your dining and beverage habits are unhealthy and they are reflected by your weight or health, then shouldn’t the problem be addressed by your doctor? I suppose that would just be logical thinking, and as most of us already know, the government isn’t very logical at any level. They only specialize in one thing: making things more expensive and less efficient.
Stopping bars, restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas, food carts and delis from selling sodas and other sugary drinks in servings larger than 16 ounces is just nonsense from the perspective of trying to prevent obesity, etc., and the idea of attacking popcorn and milkshakes doesn’t really help the issue either. If banning sugary drinks is just the first step imagine how far this could go.
Every day, people ingest many other things that are just as unhealthy or worse in large quantities as a 16oz sugary drink. Next, maybe your morning coffee or eggs and bacon will be banned because the caffeine in the coffee might raise your heart rate or blood pressure, and the eggs and bacon aren’t good for your cholesterol.
Maybe that fast food hamburger or pizza you pick up once a week will be banned because the salt might raise your blood pressure, or maybe they’ll just ban pizzas over a certain size, even though you’re not planning on eating the whole thing alone (but they won’t know that). So, instead of taking home one large pizza you can now take home two or three small pizza’s to feed your family. Enjoy.
If we allow the government to take these actions, even on a citywide level, what comes next? It’s a question worth asking, since it is typically easier to enact these types of legislation than it is to repeal them once they are in effect.