Super-Size Soda Ban in NYC – Missing the point?

super-size soda banNYC’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed banning the sales of super large portions of soda, a ‘Super-Size Soda Ban’. Super-sizing is common in the States where the large sizes were originally born out of the “need” for construction workers and manual workers to stay hydrated during a long hot day.  Of course, says the industry, the large size was meant to be consumed over an entire day.  With modern jobs that require little exercise and with 156g of sugar per 142 litres the pounds sure pile on.

Kids have cottoned onto the fact that they are getting “more bang for their buck” say dieticians Mary Mullen and Jo Ellen Shield.  Presumably they can get whizzed up on the sugar and the caffeine whereas water by comparison is quite boring.  Moreover, in certain economic groups, with the cheaper per litre price it does not seem to make sense to go for a smaller and by comparison, more expensive smaller size.

Many conservative groups are saying that the “nanny state” approach by Bloomberg is missing the point and that people naturally rebel against a ban.   However ineffective any ban actually is, (it will not be imposed in convenience stores)  the beginnings of a discussion is the beginning of being able to instigate change.  Look at what happened to the resistance against smoking.  The smoking discussion ignited anger from smokers who were up in arms about rights of the individual being infringed.  This “right” of course was pitted against the rights of society at large.  Of course, drinking soda doesn’t step on the anyone else’s rights directly (unlike smoking with the obviously issue of second hand smoke polluting any number of people’s rights) but drinking  soda you could argue, ultimately turns into a problems for society if diabetes or obesity is the result.

I find, with my work within companies that staff are literally addicted to soda drinks with some people drinking upto 4 litres a day.  Commonly people drink the diet versions but with the whack of caffeine that accompanies these types of drinks, energy is a real problem.  What goes up must come down and energy can crash as a result of this addiction. Coupled with the effects on the digestive system, excessive drinkers can really start to notice an effect on health.  Of course in the UK the super-sizing is less common but these products are of course highly addictive and so people just buy more cans whether it is in a bigger serving or not.

One way to really get change to happen is to start to really demonstrate the benefits of adopting a healthier diet foundation but this takes time and doesn’t deliver the immediate hit of the caffeine.  Any ban in NYC will ultimately proved to be ineffective but it could start a discussion and awareness leading to that all important education and the beginnings of that long journey from consciousness through to real change.

Kate Cook can be contacted regarding Wellness Programmes – 0845 050 2442

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