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

Ideas and Innovation
oversized portions

Here are the trends FSD's Chefs’ Council members wish would go away.

Kale Gluten-free Sriracha Chipotle Microgreens on everything Sous vide cooking Aversion to bread Healthy desserts Vegan diets Lies about local sourcing/organic food Fast food Cupcakes Pumpkin spice Fat-free or low-fat Meatless Mondays Bread cones Rigid child nutrition guidelines Bacon on everything Cajun Doughnuts with over-the-top toppings Oversized portions Fried foods Pinterest
Ideas and Innovation
Frose

Frose, sushi burgers and single-item restaurants are hot topics as of late, according to Forbes, which recently released a list of seven buzzwords in the foodservice world. Here’s what’s trending, in no particular order.

Blended burgers Frozecco and frose Goth food Hemp Single-item restaurants Sushi burger Upcycling
Industry News & Opinion
MeuDirections

One of my favorite cartoons shows a commander whose soldiers are in the midst of fighting a war with bows and arrows. Without turning around, he tells a man who has come up behind him, “I’m sorry, I’m too busy to talk to you.” The man was a rifle salesman.

In today’s time-pressed world, we are all too busy. So, it can be difficult to find time to reach out to others for ideas, solutions and best practices. But as that cartoon illustrates, it’s critical to being successful. The sharing of knowledge is a pillar of FoodService Director . Through our magazine and events, we have been...

Ideas and Innovation
chefs

We started inviting chefs and FSDs from other districts to come prepare lunch. Through featuring different chefs and chef-inspired meals, I’ve found the students have been looking forward to coming into the cafeteria. They are willing to try new things with crazy names, and to ask for their favorite outside items turned healthy.

FSD Resources