The Mayor vs. Soda Pop

Thursday, May 31, 2012

(Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Michael Saul of the Wall Street Journal, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, and Marion Nestle, professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and professor of Sociology at New York University and author of Why Calories Count, talk about Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to prohibit the sale of "super-sized" sugary soft drinks in NYC's restaurants.


Dr. Thomas Farley, Marion Nestle and Michael Saul

Comments [61]

The Mayor has the last word

Mr. Bloomberg: “Come on, it doesn’t sound ridiculous. One doughnut’s not going to hurt you. In moderation, most things are O.K.”

Jun. 02 2012 07:14 PM
Roy from Queens, NY

An educated public is a healthy public, not treating certain beverages as contraband. Otherwise it's WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

May. 31 2012 01:27 PM

Delis that prepare food are included, but all grocery stores aren't? What about grocery stores that sell prepared food? Most groceries I know of have a deli counter just like the ones at the delis. Actually, they probably offer more options.

May. 31 2012 01:21 PM
Zach from Brooklyn

He also fails to address the reason WHY these beverages and other foods are so CHEAP in the first place. Not that the Mayor has control over the national government's subsidy of the food industry, but as a previous guest mentioned when discussing the farm bill we are paying for obesity three times in this country - in our taxes - at the register - in health costs. If the Mayor really cared he would discuss this and try and raise national support against subsidizing the unhealthiness of America.

May. 31 2012 12:36 PM
Dina from Brooklyn

What about the 9% of the population that is underweight, or those who suffer from hypoglycemia? Cigarettes aren't good for anyone (except perhaps those who suffer from altitude sickness) but there are people who benefit from drinking high calorie beverages and even perhaps those who benefit from beverages with high sugar content. Sometimes endurance athletes benefit from drinking sugary drinks to aid in recovery. Anyway, the whole thing is absurd. How is that cigarettes are legal but high-calorie drinks are not? A tax is one thing, a ban is quite another.

May. 31 2012 11:27 AM
Edward from NJ

@ladyjay114, I haven't heard any official statement on this, just journalists and bloggers *assuming* that the Board of Health considers 7-11 a convenience store, and since convenience stores are exempt... If that is the case, perhaps the solution would be to properly categorize 7-11 as a delicatessen. Given the amount and variety of prepared food that they sell "convenience store" doesn't seem accurate.

May. 31 2012 11:03 AM
Helen Savage from New Jersey

Soda should not be allowed on food stamps. But toilet paper, menstrual pads/tampons and diapers should be.

May. 31 2012 10:55 AM
Jeff Park Slope

Couldn't listen, but comments are interesting.
Liberal fascism in NYC. How unexpected?
Some may be having second thoughts about government coercion, others just want it to be done differently, but still have govt tell us what to do.
Of course if I have to pay I want to tell you what to do right? Where does that stop? I like cycling, that puts me at greater risk than sedentary people. Must I be stopped?
Bloomberg doesn't restrict food choices in expensive restaurants, just for the peasants.

May. 31 2012 10:51 AM

From the Twitter Feed:

May. 31 2012 10:45 AM

"Teach the children" - Where? - In the same failing schools that the mayor regularly finds to be unable to teach children adequately?

I would suggest that the Mayor authorize the NYPD be authorized to "stop, frisk, and instruct" any person appearing to have an unhealthy "BMI".
During the "interaction" the "BMI suspect" could be given verbal instructions and literature on healthy eating habits and the corrosive effect that poor nutrition has on the public's financial investment in public health care.

I suggest that Professor Nestle be made an NYPD Deputy Commissioner for this program.

I would suggest it if I didn't think that this corrupt megalomaniac would probably do it.

May. 31 2012 10:41 AM

The Truth from Becky~

Then I have a right to NOT pay for a FAT slob's DAILY type-2 diabetes treatment or their emergency room visit when they have a heart attack!!

Or their kid's type 2 diabetes treatments... etc etc!!!

May. 31 2012 10:40 AM
Susan from Upper West Side

Really, I can't understand how anyone can DRINK more than 16 ounces at a time. I think most people drink more simply because they bought it and/or they thought buying more is a deal. I think kids will drink the amount of the container. When I was growing up the serving size of drinks was much smaller. A better approach would be to mandate that all restaurants offer smaller portions -- 8 ounces servings.

Smaller servings won't prevent people from drinking more if they want to. And really this isn't a BAN on drinking anything. It is a OFFERING SMALLER PORTIONS. OFFFERING smaller portions really don't limit anyone's civil liberties. Get a grip here -- they can always order a second portion. What's the big deal? I'd like it to go further and have 8 ounces be the standard. That was the standard drink size when I was a kid and the childhood obesity rates for elementary school kids wasn't 25%.

May. 31 2012 10:39 AM
Marie from UWS

My family often buys large sizes of take-out things to share -- much cheaper than several smaller containers of the same thing. Downsizing soft drink sizes will just make still more money for soft drink companies! If Bloomberg really wants to do something about childhood obesity, he should make schools comply with NYS physical education requirements! Also, childhood obesity is linked to drinking too much fruit juice as pre-schoolers as much as to anything else.

May. 31 2012 10:36 AM

Cory from Adirondacks
fat people self deport themselves to the suburbs, where they can use cars to help them get around

May. 31 2012 10:35 AM

Edward from NJ,

I think 7-11 would be exempt because its considered a convenience store.

This just points out the silliness of this bill. You won't be able to buy a 20oz soda from McDonalds, but you will still be able to buy a 50oz soda from the supermarket.

May. 31 2012 10:33 AM

Regardless of whether you think the overall push to control soda sales and intake is good or bad, this particular measure seems to have a gaping hole in that it misses the bodegas and grocery stores. I understand that this is likely a result of the political window that the mayor has, and not their calculation of the greatest possible public health impact. What percentage of soda sales to children occur in bodegas versus prepared food venues? Particularly in "food desert" areas of the city where metabolic diseases and obesity are particularly endemic?

May. 31 2012 10:32 AM

Everyone should read the Newsweek magazine that had on the cover a baby with the headline "I Will Grow Up to Be 300 Pounds. Help!". It was a fantastic article and it debunked so called anti-obesity campaigns like this one.

May. 31 2012 10:30 AM
Jack from Brooklyn

How standardizing the definition of 'small,'medium,' and 'large' drinks. It has been a trend to call what used to be a large drink a medium, and not even sell a small drink.

May. 31 2012 10:29 AM

As long as my taxes are paying for medicare I want the government to do its best to improve health

May. 31 2012 10:29 AM

"you have the right to be unhealthy" is that really true, Becky? do i have a right to not pay for them who are unhealthy? hospitals have to take anyone, cuz we're not going to let people die in our streets, so where does an unhealthy person's rights end and mine not to pay for them begin?

May. 31 2012 10:28 AM
Edward from NJ

How on earth would 7-11 be exempt? They serve prepared food like any other deli, and that's totally Board of Health territory. I would triple-check that fact.

May. 31 2012 10:27 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

The caller wants to 'teach the children'?? Is he serious? These are the same children that start smoking because the cigarette makers put up cartoon billboards....Or demand an hour in a tanning booth before the prom.

May. 31 2012 10:26 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

It would be more useful to get rid of all the vending machines--out of schools, libraries, etc. There are food prompts everywhere, one is constantly being reminded to eat/drink something. When i grew up in NYC in the 70's when you got hungry it was too bad, you had to wait to get home to eat and drink. Also, portion sizes were much smaller.

May. 31 2012 10:25 AM
Mark Kirk from NYC

There is already significant restriction on children's advertising in regards to food products.

May. 31 2012 10:25 AM
The Truth from Becky

This is too much, you have the right to be unhealthy in the USA..increase education programs on nutrition and back off!

May. 31 2012 10:24 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

To Inquisigal from Brooklyn - yes, yes! More emphasis on physical education for kids - get them moving, NOT playing video games and studying for idiotic state tests!

May. 31 2012 10:24 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Anther thought: maybe Bloomberg doesn't really think this will go through but he wants to start a push the conversation. It has nothing to do with his wealth.

May. 31 2012 10:22 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

How about the Mayor let's people smoke again, in exchange for getting rid of large, sugary drinks? ):

This cherry picking of outlawing certain things that are "unhealthy," but not others, is the wrong way to go. It removes every ounce of responsibility from the individual, and discourages people from seeking out information, and making intelligent decisions for themselves. I find the enormous soda cup sizes they push on you at the movie theater and other venues to be offensive and unhealthy. But I choose not to buy them because I know they're both a rip off, and I don't need that much soda in one shot. How can the Major get more people to think like that, is what he should really be focusing on.

How about the Major goes on a major fund-raising campaign to both fund health classes, and home ec in every NYC public school, as well as fund gym classes and sports for kids?

May. 31 2012 10:22 AM

There are 180 calories in 16 oz of soda, but 190 in the same size beer. How does this help healthfulness at sports events.

May. 31 2012 10:22 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

The American concept of portion control has gone out the window. Our diets are out of proportion to the amount of work we perform in a day. Miss the ideal calorie intake by 100 calories per day and you've put on 10 lbs of fat in a year.

Our concept of a 'treat' - once or twice per month, tops - needs a serious re-think.

Poor people tend to eat out of the carbohydrate end of the menu. America's 'obesity' is a sign that we are all getting poorer.

May. 31 2012 10:22 AM
Aaron from Wall Street / Carroll Gardens

In Florida you can't buy a 40 oz bottle of malt liquor or beer -- the max size is 32 oz.

May. 31 2012 10:21 AM
Mary from uws

While I agree people need to cut their intake of sugary drinks, diet drinks, while maybe not as fattening, are a worse health hazard than regular soda in moderation. Diet drinks are full of artificial chemicals to make them palatable and are more addicting than regular soda. Diet sodas should be banned altogether yet no one is addressing that. I would much rather my kid drink regular coke in moderation than drink even one diet coke. But water, unsweetened ice tea and plain seltzer are our drinks of choice.

May. 31 2012 10:21 AM

I'm listening to this and its startling to me how the Commissioner of the Health Department of this city is so clueless as to the obesity epidemic. Soda consumption is dropping while personal weight continues to increase, yet he's still anti-soda thumping. When will these people realize that the problem is THE FOOD!!! We've attacked soda and banned trans fats but we're still gaining weight. We are continually gaining weight because the food is more processed and made with more artificial ingredients.

May. 31 2012 10:21 AM
Kat from Astoria

I applaud his efforts, but I wished he'd been able to regulate food stamp purchases. I also think the coffee/tea issue is going to cause even more problems with this.

If he is so concerned about obesity why is he not trying to fix the nutrition deserts all over this city? Why not take out a McD's or Wendy's and put in a legitimate, reasonably priced supermarket?

May. 31 2012 10:21 AM
Brian from Hoboken

This is taking things way too far. Bloomberg is reaching on this one. As a taxpayer who subsidizes others who are food stamp recipients, I would like to see Christie try to do what Bloomberg did and attempt to regulate te foods that can be bought using public funds. I see obese people with their obese kids using EBT cards in my local grocery store for a cart full of soda, frozen pizza, frozen dinners, chips, etc. the ridiculous thing is that fresh chicken, meat, fruits, and veggies are all cheaper than the frozen prepared stuff that is loaded with fat, sugar, and salt.

May. 31 2012 10:19 AM
Cory from Adirondacks

Why not just ban fat? Mayor Mike to finance mobile liposuction vans. Fat people could be snatched off the street and liposuctioned down to acceptable size. Or why not just deport all fat New Yorkers?

May. 31 2012 10:19 AM
Edward from NJ

Based on the description of the regulations, a 32oz coffee with 5 sugars would pass the test. It would only have 20 calories from sugar per 8 ounces.

May. 31 2012 10:17 AM
John A. from south of 200

I support. I have been overweight ~1/3rd of my life and never want to stay there. That society normalizes overweight ('It's just im my genes, its what I am.') is wrong to me.

May. 31 2012 10:17 AM

This Health Commish guy is awesome...he has it all figured out how to game his own system.

May. 31 2012 10:16 AM
art525 from Park Slope

My god he's a vile arrogant little man. It was a good idea to limit smoking as that impacts other people. I don't want to inhale your carcinogens. But it really is overreaching to tell people what they can or cannot consume. I have seen thsi behavior before. When you achieve a certain level of wealth you are no longer satisfied with collecting cars, houses and yachts and you instead focus on controlling and manipulating the world around you treating the people out there like a board game where you get to move the pieces around.

For this little Napoleon apparently his rallying cry is "Don't let them eat cake"!

May. 31 2012 10:16 AM
Robert from NYC

i still say the way to do this is to educate parents and kids and anyone who drinks lots of soda that drinking too much of this product is just really unhealthy. Start a campaign on the subway ads and bus ads and ads all around on the health risks of drinking too much of the sugar (or eating it too). Also let's get campaigns on stopping bikes on the sidewalk and curbing one's dog. Curb your dogs folks a pick up their doodoo. And stop drinking so much soda.

May. 31 2012 10:15 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

Anyway, everyone knows (yes, KNOWS) that legal restrictions don't work. What does? Peer pressure and higher prices. Make it unpopular to be seen allowing your kid to drink soda AND make them more expensive. That may help. Idiotic laws won't.

May. 31 2012 10:15 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Joe, the good citizens allowed him to steal a third term so why would he not feel he could do anything.

May. 31 2012 10:15 AM

most juices are sweetened with sugar. some even with high fructose corn syrup. juices without any extra sweeteners are as popular as the regualr juice most people consume. just as bad as soda.

May. 31 2012 10:14 AM

I find a "nanny state" slightly disturbing but, I find FAT slobs having a negative impact on the cost of MY healthcare, even MORE disturbing!!!

May. 31 2012 10:13 AM
Anne from NJ

Forget immediate health impacts for a moment. Since people seem to have an even harder time controlling their impact on the environment, I say ban all small beverage containers, forcing people to bring their own beverage containers from home. It's only a matter of time before our single-serve mindset catches up with us.

May. 31 2012 10:13 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

Can anyone possibly believe that this is a good idea? I don't drink this crap, and I also don't eat Big Macs or smoke (cigarettes or pot), but I certainly don't care if anyone else does. Does he really have nothing more important to do?

May. 31 2012 10:12 AM
oscar from ny

Bloomberg deffinetly works for satan...doesnt he know that god loves sugar nd specially soda!!!

May. 31 2012 10:12 AM
john from office

No one will ever get it through to the average person. Where I live I see the huge people, smoking and drinking sweet drinks. All the ads and messages dont sink in.

Next we will ban Newports, Kools and fried chicken, it will never happen.

May. 31 2012 10:12 AM
Joe M from Manhattan

I understand the argument that parents should maintain the authority and responsibility of rearing their children, but let's face the facts: Many parents, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, are not making reponsibile decision for their children. Many years as a public school teacher in Canarsie was proof enough of this for me.

Just yesterday, I witnessed a child, about age 3, walking to school with his mother. His breakfast? A large Nesquick Chocolate Milk and a bag of Sunchips.

May. 31 2012 10:12 AM
Lidia from Queens

So a 20oz soda is a highway to death, but we can eat as many Big Macs and fries our heart contends?

What a stupid law this is.

May. 31 2012 10:12 AM

Tin pan tyranny, from a tin pan tyrant.

May. 31 2012 10:11 AM


Why did the good Mayor sell New York City schools to HIGH-FRUCTOSE-CORN-SYRUP Snapple™???

May. 31 2012 10:11 AM

7-11's don't belong in new york to begin with, they kill mon-n-pop stores, but can they still serve Big Gulps??

May. 31 2012 10:10 AM
FranciL from NYC

Oh, great. Now the drug cartels are gonna move in in another lucrative supply. Hey! Get away from my Big Gulp! Sheesh.

May. 31 2012 10:10 AM
Caitlin from Jersey City

What about free refills?

(I don't drink soda, but I find this kind of ridiculous.)

May. 31 2012 10:10 AM

Nanny State....I can't believe we allow mayor Bloomnerg to get away with this crap.

May. 31 2012 10:09 AM

will this also apply to beer or can i still get a tallboy at the game?

May. 31 2012 10:09 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

I don't drink soda, but this is really too much. I guess the city is Bloomberg's kingdom.

May. 31 2012 10:08 AM
fuva from harlemworld

The Emperor's concern here is absolutely valid. But it would seem to go too far. I mean, will he mandate smaller portions across the board? What's the "limiting principle"?

May. 31 2012 10:05 AM
Lambert Heenan from The Bronx

Unintended consequences?...

Soda addicts heading for picnics will buy many more smaller bottles and will leave more of them behind in the parks to be cleared up and wind up in landfill.

May. 31 2012 10:04 AM

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