As expected, the New York City Board of Health approved the recommendation of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, banning the sale of oversized sugary drinks. This means that in some restaurants and other venues, you will no longer be able to purchase a sugary soda larger than 16 ounces. Now, for the sake of clarity, this also means that:
• You can still buy a 64 ounce Big Gulp at 7/11 because convenience stores are exempt.
• You can still buy a giant fruit juice anywhere, no matter how much sugar it contains.
• You can still buy a giant milkshake, sugar and all.
• You can still buy a giant beer, without any size limitation.
• You can still buy more than one 16 ounce sugary soda at a time.
• You can still buy a giant calorie-free diet soda.
This law makes little difference to me personally. When I visit New York, as I do a few times a year, I never purchase giant sugar drinks, or beers, or whatever. The only impact on me will be that if I go to a fast food restaurant that allows me to serve myself from drink dispenser, I won’t be able to get a cup larger than 16 ounces for my diet drink. I can probably live with this sacrifice.
I’m all in favor of Americans (including me) cutting down on calories, especially empty ones. But I’m not all in favor of the government mandating such things. I wonder what will come next? Surely there are other unhealthy foods that Mayor Bloomberg and his pals can ban. How about overly sugary donuts? Or what about candy? Or what about cotton candy at Coney Island? Or how about the use of half and half in coffee drinks? Or oversized bagels? Or pizza with too much cheese? Or movie popcorn with butter? Or . . . ?