The man behind calorie counts is set to announce a new public health initiative to battle obesity, taking aim at super-sized sugary drinks.It's one thing to require calorie counts so that people can have the knowledge to choose products that may be healthier and lower in calories.
In other words, it may soon be time to say goodbye to those Big Gulps, those Slurpees or even Venti at Starbucks, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported.
“That’s okay,” one person said.
No it’s not, according to Mayor Bloomberg, who is set to propose a ban on sugary drinks over 16 ounces everywhere, all across the city.
“I disagree with it, because it’s the right to choose. If you want to drink a Slurpee, you should be allowed to drink a Slurpee,” said Jamie Sawyer, a tourist from Oklahoma.
It's quite another to ban an entire size category - anything larger than 16 ounces. Nothing stops those who are already buying those products from simply buying two of the smaller size - and increasing the costs to the purchaser (which might be part of Bloomberg's strategy).
However, soda and sugary beverages aren't the sole culprit, or even the main culprit in an obesity epidemic. Consider that most folks aren't getting enough exercise. A sedentary lifestyle plays a far greater role than soda.
Then, there's the caloric intake due to super sized meal portions or even portions at high end restaurants that blow the scales on calories. Consider that a famed restaurant like Junior's in Brooklyn is notable for their desserts, including cheesecake. Those portions aren't small. In fact, a single serving could feed two or more people in many cases. We're not talking an insubstantial calorie count either.
How about the steakhouses around the city (either sole locations or chains). They offer up huge steak portions - thousands of calories, tons of fat, protein, and other nutrients. Those aren't even being considered.
So, does this in fact turn out to be a "tax" on those who are least able to afford food cost increases? Since many vendors charge far less for the largest sizes of beverages per ounce than those with the smaller sizes, sharing among family members or friends would be out of the question with Bloomberg's ban, and it would mean that customers would incur higher charges to get the same amount of product.
Moreover, there's no reason to single out sodas and sugary beverages from other products - like juices or milk-based products (like milk shakes) if we're talking strictly calorie counts - the basis of Bloomberg's premise behind the proposed ban.
It appears that the only reason that juice and milk-based products aren't included in the ban is because they have other nutrients. Yet, juice and milk shakes can contain as much or more calories per ounce than soda - and the fact that soda doesn't have any other nutrients could be altered if the soda manufacturers add other nutrients to them - to get around a proposed ban.
If Bloomberg goes ahead with this ban, watch soda manufacturers consider lawsuits seeking to overturn the ban, as well as consider adding vitamins or minerals to show that these aren't merely empty calories (and undermining Bloomberg's premise). UPDATE: To give you an idea of how asinine Bloomberg's proposal is, consider that a T-bone steak - 8 oz worth is 448 calories. That compares to 8 ounces of Coca Cola that runs 98 calories. It would take 32 ounces of soda to equal the steak, and the steak has other issues (namely fats that contribute to obesity, although there is protein and other nutritional value to steak in moderation.