I’m not a fan of Mayor Bloomberg. In fact, I’m often heard railing against the mayor’s real estate policies, which have seen ugly condo towers soaring around the city at random, granted huge subsidies and tax abatements, disfiguring historic neighborhoods. The same policies have driven homegrown ma-and-pa eateries out of business in favor of awful national franchises, cavalierly obliterating what is best about New York City and sending the profits out of state. But there is something attractive about Bloomberg’s ban on bathtub-size sodas. Here are 13 reasons to admire the ban on huge soft drinks.
1. Huge sodas are spectacularly unhealthy, a causal factor in obesity, dental decay, and vitamin deficiency, more so for children than adults.
3. The average adult consumes from 70 to 140 pounds of HFCS per year, representing crazy levels of a synthetic chemical that does not occur in nature. It is an ingredient in nearly every form of processed food, but sodas contain the greatest concentrations.
4. While sodas sometimes pose as food, and take up space in your stomach, they are totally devoid of nutritional value and often act as a replacement for meals or parts of meals. They are disgustingly targeted at children. Don’t confuse this issue with “freedom of choice.” It is a food safety issue, like salmonella in your ground meat.
5. The corn monoculture, subsidized by the government, encourages the production of HFCS as a primary agricultural product. This has totally imbalanced agriculture in America. You pay for the HFCS twice – in taxes lost to the government, and with your health when you drink huge quantities of soda.
6. Soda sweetened with HFCS tastes awful compared with soda sweetened with sucrose.
7. Soda is served in plastic bottles or cups – petroleum-based products that often end up in landfills, releasing pernicious chemicals into the environment long after the soda has been consumed.
8. Water is good for you. Soda is not.
9. Watching Americans drink huge barrels of soda makes us look like idiots.
10. In an era of hyper-inflated health care, when many are deprived of necessary medical attention, the practice of drinking huge quantities of soda places further stress on the healthcare delivery system.
11. This “pig gulp” restriction doesn’t deprive anyone of drinking huge quantities of soda if they so desire. They just have to buy several human-size servings. It’s like putting a tax on cigarettes – drinking large volumes of soda will simply cost you more money, resulting in more taxes recouped by the city. The bodega owner or 7-Eleven operator will enjoy a larger profit.
12. Children will learn moderation by watching their parents drink smaller sodas. It’s a good lesson to learn.
13. By “drinking” rather than “gulping” you’ll enjoy the soda more. We teach moderation in drinking booze, why not moderation in drinking sodas?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 31, 2012