New York City’s portion size proposal – which will be voted upon by the Board of Health on September 13 – would limit the size of sugary drinks to 16 ounces or less at restaurants, mobile food carts, delis and concessions at movie theaters, stadiums and arenas. Sugary drinks are high in calories, served in large sizes and yet deliver no nutritional value. They do not create a sensation of fullness, so people typically do not cut back on other calories when they consume extra calories through sugary drinks. The long term weight gain and increased risk of diabetes and heart disease associated with sugary drinks has been documented. In 2010, experts from Harvard University and three other leading nutrition research institutions in the United States and Canada concluded that because sugary drinks are important contributors to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, consumption “should be limited and replaced by healthy alternatives such as water.”
In addition to limiting the size of sugary drinks, New York City has a comprehensive approach to changing itd food and exercise environment and is committed to increasing awareness among New Yorkers about good nutrition, healthy food options and exercise opportunities – such as Make NYC Your Gym and BeFitNYC – as well as improving the availability of healthy food and educating New Yorkers about the importance of a healthy diet.
I strongly support this. It still baffles me that some interpret this proposal as an attempt by government to restrict an individual’s free choice when it’s clearly a constraint placed upon the food and beverage companies that will do anything to make more money at the expense of the public’s health. Beverage companies know almost everything about how consumers think and why they purchase things while consumers know next to nothing about how beverage companies are manipulating them. People are dying unnecessarily, healthcare costs are exploding and it’s time for a bold, new, research-supported plan to address the problem.