Confessions of a soda fiend

NYC Mayor wants to ban large sodas but is that the best long-term solution?

By 
Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

Last week New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed one of his increasingly common ideas for bans in the form of restricting the size of the sodas, energy drinks, and presweetened teas that can be sold in restaurants, movie theaters and sports arenas to no larger than 16 fluid ounces. Now the mayor has good intentions. He wants the city to be healthier, and it is common knowledge that soda is a leading cause of empty calories that lead to obesity. Diet sodas, dairy-based drinks (milkshakes!), fruit juice drinks and alcoholic beverages would be exempt, and convenience stores could still sell their version of Big Gulps.

Even I—a self-confessed soda fiend—must admit that the idea of purchasing an actual small soda at the movie theater rather than something that resembles a popcorn bucket is very appealing. I absolutely am addicted to soda and though I’ve made various attempts to quit drinking it over the years, none has been overwhelmingly successful. Despite my understanding of where the mayor is coming from I don’t think this is the best solution in the long term.

As evidenced by my many attempts to quit drinking soda, the mayor and the city have already found a solution that works and it isn’t based on banning anything. When you are in an NYC subway and you come face to face with this, it’s tough to not think about what you are consuming when you drink a soda. These posters started showing up a few years ago and I must say, they’ve definitely made an impact on me. I think they are representative of what should be happening in the fight against obesity; education, not regulation. The same concept has worked well in the posting of calories at fast food restaurants. Customers are educated about the calories and then hopefully make a better choice. But forcing them to make a certain choice doesn’t seem to me to make the lesson stick as well. It’s unclear whether Bloomberg’s new crusade will actually come to fruition; even health crusader Michelle Obama was hesitant to endorse it, but I hope common sense will prevail and the city will realize they should just double its education efforts rather than another ultimately ineffective ban.

Couldn't resist adding this too. Jerry Seinfeld has a different approach to the soda ban here.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of New Mexico’s proposed on-campus taproom has officially been approved by the school’s Board of Regents.

Construction on the $650,000 student union taproom will begin this summer and is expected to finish in August when students return to campus. The school’s food vendor, Chartwells, and UNM’s Dining & Food Services department will split the cost of the taproom evenly.

Designed by students in the school’s architecture department, the space will feature a rotating selection of beer and wine, and will also welcome guest brewers. Chartwells will be...

Ideas and Innovation
cafeteria

Three years ago, Colonial School District in New Castle, Del., started a pilot supper program at its high school. The goal: To make sure the district’s students, 57% of whom are on free or reduced-priced meals, would not be hungry when school is done for the day.

Since its inception, the program has expanded to 12 schools and now provides afterschool meals to children participating in YMCA activities. And it's just one of many such programs popping up in districts throughout the country, as operators add supper to the list of daily meals they provide for students.

Building...
Ideas and Innovation
hydroponics

We put our hydroponic gardens in a spot where students can watch them grow, but at the same time it’s safe from being tampered with. At one of our elementary schools, the gardens are in the kitchen, but there’s a window where students can look in as they walk down the hallway. Some even stop to count how many cucumbers they see.

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

FSD Resources