Freedom Fighters or Calorie Counters?

Forbidden fruit is always sweeter. Since the beginning of time, this is a known fact. There’s something about telling people they can’t have something that makes them want it even more. For New York City citizens, they may become all too familiar with this scenario sooner than they think. Last month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that in order to promote healthier lifestyles in the city, there should be a ban on the sale of large-sized sodas (over 16 ounces) in restaurants, coffee shops, sporting venues, etc (besides grocery stores). He believes the city is obese, and this will help them make more health conscious beverage selections. Ironically, New York City was participating in National Donut Day the very next day after this very press conference. Entenmann’s even unveiled a 1 foot in diameter donut in Madison Square Park. That happened at the same time Michael Bloomberg’s proclamation letter was set to be unveiled by the public. WTH?! So it’s ok to eat donuts, as long as you don’t drink 32 oz sodas????

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs, tried to defend the conflict between the red light on sodas and the green light on donuts by stating, “The celebratory events, the naming days in honor of individuals or items, or frivolities that are fun and [bring] exceptional joy are quite distinct from a public health agenda.” Yeah….Right Mayor Gibbs. If that helps you sleep at night…. As if to give the city some kind of treat to avoid cold turkey soda binges, Diet soft drinks and 0 calorie options would be excluded from the soda ban. But if you thought New Yorkers were taking this lightly, then think again. Although they will not be able to vote to stop the proposed ban (only approval from the NYC Department of Health is needed), members of the New Yorkers for Beverage Choices hand delivered over 6,100 comments from New Yorkers who oppose the ban. They also brought forth a very good point on the scheduling of yesterday’s public hearing: “By scheduling this hearing in the middle of a business day during many restaurants’ and delis’ busy lunch periods, the Department of Health is sending a clear message that they are not interested in hearing what real New Yorkers have to say about this proposal.” New Yorkers are not standing by to watch how this situation fizzles out. They’re taking matters into their own hands to make a difference.

When I first heard about this, I was honestly very angered by it. With all of the poverty, senseless acts of violence, and equal rights issues floating around to be dealt with, why is soda such a big deal? True, we all know sodas aren’t good for us, but is Mayor Bloomberg really crazy enough to think that this will stop obesity??? If he was really concerned, do something like buying people healthy groceries with their gym memberships. How about that Bloomberg? (he doesn’t even get the handle of Mayor right now). I’ve never even been to New York, but I feel their pain. And to top all of it with a National Donut Day?! WTH? Let’s a take a minute to break these calories down. There are 310 calories in a 32 oz soda. A medium-sized donut is 255 calories. That’s a 55 calorie difference from not picking up the 32 oz soda. But the reality is, you’ll probably just drink one 32 oz soda in a day. But will you just eat one medium-sized donut? Highly unlikely! That’s 510 calories in less than 5 minutes (if you eat fast like me). Should have reached for that soda instead huh?

What are your thoughts on this foolishness? For more info on this insane proposed ban, check out

6 thoughts on “Freedom Fighters or Calorie Counters?

  1. OMG!! This is crazy…I didn’t even hear about this and I have friends who live in NY. I think Mayor Bloomberg needs to focus on other matters than banning soda. I understand obesity is a problem in our society but how about national walk day and alter the schedule of the public transportation or your suggestion above. I just think it’s so many other programs and ways to address the problem of obesity and banning soda is not one of them. I wonder how long this ban is actually going to last. Good post!

    • Yes, I thought it was crazy too! I love the national walk day idea. Right, something like that is more effective than banning sodas. Yes, I wonder how long it will last too, if it’s even passed! Thanks!!

  2. Carlos,

    There’s a bit of a back story here. In “The Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell talked about how New York subway crime was insanely high in the 80’s. The mayor at the time, rather than seek out serious criminals more heavy-handedly (by using more traditional means like more policemen in the subways), decided instead to remove graffiti from all subway cars and crack down on those who were skipping paying the train fare. This was seen as “out of touch” and received a big public backlash. The mayor also received resistance from the police force after passing these new laws until policemen routinely collected groups of 50 or so cab skippers, and 5-10% of the people that were detained were showed to have outstanding warrants for bigger ticket items. Crime disappeared soon thereafter.

    Fast forward to this issue. The removal of these nutrient poor sodas will remove, by the numbers you used, 155 calories per serving. So, say that a person who buys a soda every day is forced to (and sticks to) a stepback from 32 oz to 16 oz of soda. That 155 calories, times 250 workdays a year = 38,750 calories removed. At 2,000 calories per pound, you’re looking at a person dropping 19 pounds over the course of a year from this concept. While I understand that folks would likely eat a bit more throughout the day to compensate, the logic makes sense when you use the aforementioned instance of New York City problem-solving.

    As for switching from soft drinks to donuts? That’s not a wise idea over the long haul.

    • Drew, you bring out some very valid points here in relation to Malcom Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” book. Although I haven’t read this one yet (it’s on my long list to get to), I did read “Blink” and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I don’t see how the New York subway crime situation would is quite the same as this. True, it is an unusual method to stop something, such as the soda ban. But I’d be curious to see if those crime stats spiked up again after a few months of the hands on approach dying down.

      I would also like to see if Mayor Bloomberg has stats to prove that soda is the #1 weakness of New Yorkers and unhealthy eating. I say this because soda is definitely not a weakness of mine. But put some chips in front of me? I can’t resist! I just think that people may just turn to what they enjoy if the ban passes, which may not even be soda.

      Thanks for responding and checking out the post! I’m more interested now to check out “The Tipping Point”!

  3. Is there a problem with attacking ALL pertinent issues at the front door, as opposed to trying to circumvent problems, by climbing through a side window? If I can’t purchase one 32-oz. drink I may then purchase two 16-oz drinks. This may help with company sales, but this seems to push the ‘forbidden fruit’ syndrome into overdrive. Keep up the good work, Carlos!

  4. I enjoyed reading this post and I especially like the first picture. I cant stop looking at it. It’s so funny! Haha! Is it real soda in that Super Big Gulp? Dude looks proud of his soda. I feel sorry for the person that tried to touch it or even thought about taking a sip from it. Drinking something that large, there’s no telling what he may eat!

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