Michelle Simon, author of Appetite for Profit and Baylen Linnekin of Keep Food Legal recently got together on Bloggingheads to discuss the New York City Board of Health’s decision to “limit the amount of sugary soda drinks that can be purchased at food outlets to 16 ounces.”
Watch them hash out the issue here:
No one is banning anything or restricting anyone’s freedom. The city is simply placing a reasonable limit on how much soda (or other sugary beverage) can be served in a single container. According to Coca-Cola, in the 1950s, the “traditional” bottle size was 6.5 ounces. New York’s proposed 16-ounce limit is roughly 2.5 times higher. Seems more than reasonable.
Linnekin countered that disallowing the sale of soda in containers larger than 16 ounces did in fact constitute a ban and challenged Simon to provide empirical data on how the ban would improve the health of the average New Yorker.
In the August issue of The American Conservative, Rod Dreher warned readers of the dangers of reverse-snobbery often directed against healthy eating:
[W]hen New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a war on super-sized soda, conservatives made fun of the puritanical pol but had no response to the real and very expensive public-health problem he’s trying, however badly, to address.
This knee-jerk populism, which transforms the vices of sloth and gluttony into politically correct conservative virtues, has a lot to do with why, according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development projections, 75 percent of Americans will be obese or overweight by 2020. And according to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Health Economics, obesity and obesity-related disease add $190 billion to the U.S. healthcare tab each year—a phenomenal 21 percent of America’s total annual medical bill.