What about my right to Big Gulps? A prohibition New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to implement – if it survives the fury he has whipped up and gets approval (which is expected) from a city health panel – is on the sale of sugary soft drinks above 16 ounces in restaurants, movie theaters and other places where a person is buying an individual serving, not an amount to be shared.
This Op-Ed piece in the New York Times reviews many down sides (it’s not an effective measure but rather a futile gesture; there’s worry over encroaching upon personal liberties to name a few) but ultimately supports the measure: “Food ceased to be ‘a frontier too far’ when the fraction of American adults who qualify as obese climbed above one in three.” Read more…
Most restaurants and convenience stores have self-serve drink stations because this allows the establishment to reduce the number of employees required and the time needed to serve the customer. Would they have to sell only cups 16 ounces or smaller, or police the drink stations so that cups bigger than 16 ounces are filled only with water or non-sugared beverages? Or put only diet options in the drink stations?
Yes, people are fat. Yes, sweetened beverages have no nutritive value. Yes, people need to reduce their consumption of these beverages, and nobody needs to suck down a massive cup of carbonated corn syrup and water with artificial flavor and color added. You can easily buy 64 ounce cups and I have seen insulated cups holding 100 ounces of fluid. But this is going to cause considerable difficulty for the store owners, who are not holding a gun to any customer’s head and forcing them to purchase and consume the oversized beverages.