New York City ban : Soda goes flat

Ah, the world’s been watching you, New York City. And as I had expected, this soda ban idea fell pretty flat.

Now, I’ve expressed my opinion on this in an earlier post, but it’s interesting to hear the thoughts expressed by others closer to the lawmaking side of the ban. True, limiting the large drinks does seem like a great law in theory, when you’re trying to head off the obesity issue. But it starts at home, with parents instructing kids what to eat and not eat, like one of the defense lawyers mentioned.

I don’t think regulation is needed, I think better nutritional education is sorely lacking. Laws like this just step on the toes of Americans’ rights. And let me tell you, the last person I want to agree with is Sarah Palin. But that goes to show you how most people react to having their rights to buy and eat how they want taken away or limited, whether or not their rights will lead them to an early death and drain taxpayer money for medical bills.

Educate. Educate. Educate.

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Will soft drink ban turn New York into the “Skinny Apple?”

So – the mayor of the Big Apple, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has decided he wants  to try banning soft drinks larger than 16 oz. from being served in restaurants and other related establishments.

Uh oh.

While soda is probably one of America’s biggest (no pun intended) problem factors in the overall diet in our culture, it’s not about to disappear anytime soon. After all, as the band Cake so aptly notices in their song Rock and Roll Lifestyle, “soda cans are red, white, and blue ones.” Sodas, aka a Coke or Pepsi, are practically as American as apple pie (and probably contains more sugar, but that’s a different post altogether).

While I applaud the basic idea, calling it a ban is already putting the nail in the coffin of Bloomberg’s initiative. It’s starting to feel a little like prohibition all over again. Promoting healthier choices and education is the better way to go – after all, all a person has to do is buy two 16-oz, small soft drinks, and be done with it. Slowly limiting the availability of soft drinks is a tough sell, without the education to back it up from the start. He could have gotten more bank for his ban if he had partnered with nutrition groups first, who can disseminate information about the ills of soft drinks, and promoting better alternatives. Getting the people on board first is key.

But coming right out of the gate telling people, “No, you can’t take care of yourselves, we’re telling you what you can and can’t drink” is more of a chink in the chain of America’s First Amendment rights than a well-executed plan. Instead of limiting the larger cup choices, we should be promoting the smaller ones.

Good intentions, bad execution. Time to go back to the drawing board…

Entire aisles in supermarkets are dedicated to every soda can in the rainbow. Yes, something needs to be done about the consumption rate of sodas, but a ban is not quite the way to go.