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Ban on Sugary Drinks in New York City

Soda companies in the US are not happy with New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Mayor recently announced a ban on sugary drinks in the city with volumes more than 16 ounces. This includes all soft drinks such as coke, sprite, and fanta. They will be banned in  restaurants, delis, sports arenas, and movie theaters beginning in March of next year. 

Soda companies argue that education, not outlawing the volume of drink is the best solution to fight the war on obesity. It’s a bit too late for only education to solve America’s obesity problem.

With more than one third of American adults and 17% of children obese in the US it has become a national health epidemic causing a plague of health related problems including the escalation of diabetes and heart disease. This is also causing billions of dollars in health costs and loss of work time, and for the first time in the history of the US the life expectancy of the next generation of children is less than that of their parents.  There are tangible studies that show that sugar plays a major role in causing these health problems.  There is a long way to go to fight the battle against obesity but the ban is a start. It makes you think about the amount of sugar you are consuming in one sitting.

In India our sugary drink consumption is not yet out of control. A 64 ounce drink (1.8 litres) is usually enough for a party of kids. The drink companies are not happy about this — Pepsi and Coke are aggressive marketers and after they have got Indian public to drinking soda regularly, they will begin to increase individual consumption by making the product more affordable if bought in large companies. 

To get a perspective — 16 ounces is the equivalent of half a litre of liquid — a whopping 50 grams of sugar. And 16 ounces is not really the target of the Mayor’s plan — there are drinks available in 32, 44, and even the 64 ounces! People are drinking 2 litres of sugary drinks in one sitting. The ban allows the public to buy as much soda as they want but not in large quantities — this will make them concious of what they are drinking – hopefully. During his three terms in office, Mayor Bloomberg has banned smoking in the city, prohibited trans-fats in restaurants and forced chain restaurants to put calorie-counts on menus.  

Sugar is the major source of India’s obesity as well(in addition to inactivity). The substance is addictive and drinking sodas is habit forming — Most kids would love to have a cold coke with their pizza or chaat. Shouldn’t these companies begin their education campaign NOW in this country before they create a generation of obese soda drinkers? I don’t think the Coke or Pepsi cares about our health and they know that our corrupt government doesn’t either. 

Please limit soft drinks for yourself as well as your children. Diet drinks are not better — made with even more chemicals than their sugary counterparts.

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