Paging Mayor Bloomberg and other elitist nanny-state types:
Attempts to outlaw mega-sized sugary drinks, like New York’s controversial soda ban, could have the unintended consequence of increasing soft drink consumption and obesity, research suggests.
In a study published in the April issue of PLoS One, researchers examined whether price trumps portion size when it comes to consumer soda buying habits.
The behavioral simulation study found that people purchased more soda when offered deals on multiple smaller-sized drinks, suggesting that a ban on container size will not work if businesses have an economic incentive to offer ‘bundled’ drinks at reduced prices.
A New York State Supreme Court Judge struck down NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on extra-large sugary drinks last month, a day before the law was to go into effect. The city is appealing the judge’s ruling.
The law would have prohibited the sale of many sugary beverages in containers larger than 16 ounces at businesses regulated by the city health department, including national restaurant chains like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. But businesses not regulated by the health department, like grocery and convenience stores, would be exempt from the ban.
In striking down the law Judge Milton Tingling called the proposed regulations “arbitrary and capricious.”
Critics agree, and one major concern is that businesses selling sugary sodas will find ways around the ban because the drinks are so profitable.
New York University professor of nutrition and author Marion Nestle, PhD, who supports the soda ban, concedes the point. But she said the study does little to convince her that people will buy two or three sodas instead of one just because they get a better price.
“Sure, some businesses will do everything they can to increase sales,” she told MedPage Today.“Sodas are cheap and they make huge profits on them. But I’d like to see the portion-size cap tried at least. Let’s give it a chance before dreaming up reasons why it won’t work.”
It’s an absolute no-brainer that businesses can and would easily find ways around the Big Gulp ban by offering deals on 16 ounce sodas, including lower prices, free refills, etc – and they would be stupid not to, especially considering how hard it already is for people to make ends meet in this wreckovering economy, families in particular.
But, hey, as Professor Nestle inadvertently reminds us in the quote above: Don’t let the facts [the study results mentioned in the piece, which you should read in full] stand in the way of a professional liberal who knows better how to control your portion sizes than you do. Just shut up and obey, dammit!
Heh! Photo via Stan Brooks/1010 WINS, as seen on CBS NY’s website.