On March 11, Justice Milton A. Tingling of the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan decided that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s limits on sugary beverages were “arbitrary and capricious,” stopping the restrictions in their tracks just one day before they were supposed to go into effect. Thank god. The only chance the ban now has is an appeal, which is Bloomberg’s plan.
I wasn’t concerned about the “Super Big Gulp” disappearing or removing the option to make my soda at McDonalds the Xtra value size. I was most worried about how my cup of Starbucks would be affected. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry anymore.
The original ban was also set to go beyond the oversized sodas and affect coffee sales in NYC as well. Those who go to Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds for their caffeine fix would have had to add their own sugar packets instead of having the employee do it for them.
The fate of various coffee beverages would have varied according to the ratio of milk, sugar and calories that each cup contained. The size wouldn’t have been affected, though, as long as a barista didn’t add any more than 5 sugar packets to the cup. How much sugar finally would have ended up in the cup, however, is completely up to the customer, since they could have added as much sugar as they wish once they receive the coffee.
How was this supposed to prevent obesity? I don’t really see it. As mentioned, customers would have been able to add as much sugar as they wanted once they received the cup of coffee, and anyone who wanted more than 16 ounces of soda could just buy two small ones instead of one really big one.
The loopholes on this piece of legislation were numerous. Even the companies that would have been affected admitted that there are a lot of ways to get around the ban. If Bloomberg was concerned about the health of New Yorkers and is still determined to lower the risk for obesity, why were there so many ways to circumvent the ban?
Not every sugary beverage has a loophole, however. If the ban gets appealed and goes into effect, Frappucinos will still be up for debate. While milk is exempt from the large drink ban, Frappucinos also contain a lot of sugar. The mixes that are used to make Frappucinos have at least 54 grams of sugar in them. Even when compared to a 20oz bottle of Coca Cola, which has 64 grams of sugar, that’s still a lot of sugar.
It’s not that I have a problem with Bloomberg trying to prevent obesity. It’s great that he is trying to do some good. The only issue is that it would affect people’s ability to choose whether they want to be healthy or not. My coffee-drinking habits have made me biased in regards to the idea of the ban.
Luckily, the ban has been brought to a halt for now, but Bloomberg does plan on appealing the judge’s decision. In the meantime, I’ll just continue to buy my Venti Frappuccino with all of the fix’ns and enjoy the sin of sugar a bit longer.