National News

Oversized sugary drinks in NYC would be banned under proposal

Thursday, May 31, 2012

In a city where everything seems larger than life, something supersized could soon get downsized. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to slap a ban on sugar-sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces.

The ban would apply only to drinks that contain more than 25 calories per 8 ounces. It would not apply to diet soda or any other calorie-free drink. Any drink that is at least half milk or milk substitute would be exempted. Non-diet soda servings would shrink at restaurants, fast-food spots, movie theatres and even the city's food carts. The ban would not apply to grocery stores.

It's another move the city says would help a growing obesity problem. City Hall officials, citing a 2006 study, argue that sweet drinks are linked to obesity and increased rates of diabetes and heart disease.

Consumer groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington praised the proposal.

"In the long run, I think it's a sensible measure that ideally would be nationwide and help people lead healthier lives," said Michael Jacobsen with the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

But the idea drew criticism from industry groups like the New York Beverage Association and the National Restaurant Association. In a statement Thursday, McDonald's said:

"Public health issues cannot be effectively addressed through a narrowly-focused and misguided ban. This is a complex topic, and one that requires a more collaborative and comprehensive approach."

Some people here in LA. feel the same way.

"Because you look like who you want to look like and you are who you want to be. If they start telling us we have to be a certain way, are we going do that too? No, we should be able to make our choices and decide for ourselves. We don't need someone else to decide for us," said Shaun Gibson of Lake Elsinore.

During Bloomberg's administration, he's championed bans on smoking and trans fats and added calorie counts to menus at the city's chain restaurants. The New York City Board of Health is slated to vote on the measure this fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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