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A parenting perspective on the latest headlines
Jun 13, 2012
12:36 PM

Ban on Big Sodas Planned for New York City

Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to ban soft drinks and other sugary beverages larger than 16 oz. from restaurants. But is there an appropriate serving size, really?

Ban on Big Sodas Planned for New York City

New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a big move to ban big sodas and extra large sugary drinks from city restaurants in hopes of making the city healthier.

But the possible regulation of big sugar-filled drinks in the Big Apple poses questions nationwide – and here in southeast Michigan – regarding appropriate serving sizes of our favorite sugary drinks.

The pending NYC ban

Bloomberg's proposal would ban restaurants and other food establishments in the city from selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, according to the Associated Press. The ban would also apply to beverages that contain more than 25 calories per 8 ounces, it reports.

Bloomberg's measure is an effort to curb obesity rates in the city, CNN noted.

"The single largest driver of these alarming increases in obesity is sugary drinks, which have grown in size," a statement from Bloomberg's office said, according to CNN.

The AP reports that nearly 5,800 people die from obesity per year in NYC, and about 1,700 people in the city die from diabetes each year.

The city's board of health considered Bloomberg's proposal June 12 and voted unanimously for the proposed legislation to move into the next phase, which is a "six-week public comment period," the AP says.

A formal vote on the measure will take place Sept. 13, according to the AP – and, if approved, would then take effect six months later, CNN reports.

How much soda should we drink?

Although the NYC soda size ban doesn't affect southeast Michigan, it does raise questions about how much soda we should be drinking – or if we should be drinking any at all.

According to the American Heart Association, people looking to stay healthy should limit themselves to no more than 450 calories of sugary beverages per week, which is about 36 ounces.

But Anne Baker, holistic nutritionist and owner of Nourish Holistic Nutrition, serving Oakland and Macomb counties, says there's no appropriate serving size for soda.

"(Soda) is completely worthless," she says of its nutritional value. "No soda is good for anybody."

Baker says most people know soda contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, but she says she's seen people who are "so hooked" on the sugar high and caffeine combined that they've actually replaced food with a sugary drink.

"They have sleep issues, (are) very jittery, have focus and concentration issues," she says.

Even diet sodas with artificial sweeteners are bad for the brain, she says.

"Artificial sweeteners have excitotoxins, (or) neurotoxins, that destroy brain cells," Baker says.

Better beverage alternatives

Baker says if you're thirsty, you should be drinking water.

"The body was never designed to intake that much sugar," she says of the amount found in sodas. "(It's) better to sip water through the day. Your body knows what to do with that."

For kids, Baker suggests water or making something equally as flavorful as soda, such as a fruit smoothie or homemade lemonade with stevia – a natural sweetener – rather than sugar.

As for the proposed ban in NYC, Baker says she "applauds" what Bloomberg is doing, but says the people drinking large amounts of soda don't understand the lack of nutritional value in soda – so a ban is not going to "solve the problem."

"It will cause us to talk about it (and) hopefully if people get angry enough about it maybe they'll research how bad pop is for them," she says. "It's one little change that would make a huge impact. We have to start somewhere."

Old to new | New to old
Jun 14, 2012 09:13 am
 Posted by  HallieHthree

As a nutritionist and practitioner, I have read massive materials that illustrate the damage that HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, which is the usual sweetener in cheap soda/pop, reeks on the liver. This refined carbohydrate will destroy human liver in no time at all, which also then loses its ability to create and distribute glycogen for energy, making FAT cells instead.

I appreciate Anne Baker "weighing" in on this important topic, especially since SE Michigan residents include the highest number of obese in any given region of the U.S. While I have no numbers to offer regarding the deaths caused directly by obesity, let me offer this statement: extra adipose tissue IS inflammatory and contain various biochemicals, higher ESTROGEN levels for one, that can and often do lead to chronic diseases ie., arthritis, cancer, diabetes.

Legislation is not the answer, however, and I agree Mayor Bloomberg has caused a mighty buzz, which I hope will get people to take responsibility for their health and well-being. Remember, too that former President Clinton led an iniative to remove Pop machines from high schools. Anyone know the status of this? Educating the young is one answer. Make them aware before the addiction starts.

My kids will witness that I never purchased pop for them and it was not in our home. They drank it at birthday parties at other peoples' homes, and today, mid-20 yr olds, they don't drink pop.

The question remains: How DO you wake people up? I educate my clients every day and they are responding positively and see the results. As a Standard Process consultant and clinician, I recommend a 21 day Purification program that cleanses, rebuilds and resets the liver and other organs of elimination. Then, the addiction cycle is broken and the patient has a fighting chance to change destructive nutritional habits. www.standardprocess.com

Jun 15, 2012 06:51 am
 Posted by  RoSpinner

My Husband, who has been an educator in the NYC schools has told me that soda has been replaced with bottled water in the schools' vending machines. As schools are houses of learning, I feel this is appropriate. After all, you would not want dentists to hand out candy, would you? That being said, I do not feel that a public "ban" is the answer. However, the fact that this is even being DISCUSSED creates public awareness of what people consume. Awareness is the first step necessary before anyone can change a habit. It is that awareness that led me to change my ways, lose 100 pounds about 40 years ago, which left me with a passion and gratitude.

Jun 16, 2012 11:06 am
 Posted by  nourish detroit

Yes educating people is the key, however those consuming large quantities of soda are doing so because it's inexpensive & they are addicted to sugar. While I do not believe we can or should legislate our way to health what Bloomberg has done will get people's attention. This a first step. Bottom line is you have want to change before you can change your habits.

Jun 19, 2012 12:13 am
 Posted by  PamKnowsNutrition

As a NYC Nutritionist with 10 years under my belt, I have written to the Bloomberg administration to let them know that the move they are trying to make is appreciated. However, I recommended the total ban of any foods and beverages that include High Fructose Corn Syrup or Corn Sugar in their ingredients lists.

Having smaller portions of something that is toxic does not make it safe. It might mitigate the number of years it takes to destroy the liver's cells and the pancreatic cells, but it will still do its damage. This is where Type II diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver in children comes from.

If you are a NYer and agree with my posting, take the time to write to the mayor's office to voice your opinion and let your voices be heard loud and clear. We want to do away with substances that were created in laboratories for profit and that are NOT FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.

Again, it's not the size of the sugary (corn syrupy) drinks, it's the fact that the ingredients used in them are TOXIC to the organs in humans, namely the liver and pancreas.

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