Sweet drinks in the City

By Denise Pinkney

New Yorkers may not have the choice of ordering a sugar-sweetened 20-ounce soda or Frappuccino if Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s proposed ban becomes law. If approved, restaurants, delis, sports arena vendors, movie theaters and food carts could no longer sell sweetened beverages larger than 16 ounces in New York City.

The ban includes sodas, sweetened teas and coffees, energy drinks and fruit drinks. But drinks containing a certain percentage of milk and alcoholic drinks would be exempted.
Some people are hailing the move as a way to stem the country’s obesity epidemic. Others see it as a threat to personal liberty.

There’s little doubt that America has an obesity problem. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030.

I enjoy sweets drinks, and sometimes it’s hard to curb my enthusiasm. One week, a nearby coffee shop offered a half-price sale of my favorite dessert coffee during its Happy Hour. Three times that week, I hurried to the shop on my afternoon break.  I also indulged in four Classic Cokes that week.  And a few double chocolate chip cookies.

By the end of the week, I had gained three pounds. My beverages were all within the proposed ban of less than 16 ounces, so I have decided to moderate my consumption of high-calorie drinks, reserving them for a special treat.  A weekly gain of three pounds would add 156 pounds to my 5-foot-2-inch frame in one year.

What do you think? Should we have bans that force us to drink smaller beverages? Or is it up to the individual to regulate his or her consumption? Do you have a favorite beverage that you find difficult to resist?

Denise Pinkney works as an editor at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

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