Why NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s Soda Ban Will Pass and What The Food Industry Will Do To Fight It : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Thursday May 31 | BY |
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soda ban
Health experts do say to eat the colors of the rainbow…

Regardless of what you think of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, you have to respect his strong stance on health and dietary issues.

In the past, he’s helped to ban smoking and trans-fats from New York City restaurants. He’s also passed laws that require posting Health Department grades on windows of establishments that sell food — something I saw noticeably for the first time when we were in the city last weekend. (I felt like I was in California!)

Now, he’s fighting to ban abnormally sized sugary drinks from New York City restaurants. These drinks include soda, sweetened coffees and teas, as well as fruit drinks with sugar.

soda ban graphicHere are the details…

The New York Times has a fantastic graphic that I’ll post here for you visual learners (like me.)

As you can see on the right, the ban is quite extensive.

Here are the highlights:

  • Any soft drink with sugar that is more than 16 oz will be prohibited.
  • Diet soft drinks of any size are allowed.
  • – Any bottled soft drink over 16 oz is prohibited.
  • Any sweetened coffee or tea that is more than 16 oz is prohibited.
  • Any size latte or cappuccino with 51% milk is allowed.
  • Fruit juice with at least 70% real fruit juice can be sold at any size.
  • Fruit drink with sugars over 16 oz are prohibited.

Keep in mind this ban will only be enforced — once it’s passed — in places that sell food. Convenience stores that only sell packaged food may not apply, but those that do sell hot or prepared foods and are under the watch of the Health Department may have to adhere to these new regulations.

Also from the Times…

The ban would not apply to drinks with fewer than 25 calories per 8-ounce serving, like zero-calorie Vitamin Waters and unsweetened iced teas, as well as diet sodas.

So is the ban possible? Will it pass?

A lot of times there’s a big press uproar about something like this that is proposed, but before you know it the bill, law or ban is shot down by governmental agencies — the demise of which is likely never published with much or any of the same fanfare.

This was the case in Connecticut recently. There was a bill proposed to label GMO foods, but it was vetoed by the Governor with much less media coverage than when it was first announced.

In the case of a sugary drink ban in New York City, the chances of it passing are extremely high. The New York Times reports…

“Mr. Bloomberg’s proposal requires the approval of the Board of Health, a step that is considered likely because the members are all appointed by him, and the board’s chairman is the city’s health commissioner, who joined the mayor in supporting the measure on Wednesday.”

If that’s all that needs to happen, it’s a good thing. The Mayor has stacked the health department deck in his favor.

(It’s funny how this is a good thing in this particular health department, but maybe not so much in the Supreme Court or the FDA.)

The food industry will now start to pass the blame.

Here’s what will happen next…

Now that sodas and sugary drinks have been “attacked” by the NYC administration, the food industry will start to pass the blame and remind everyone in the media and public that the individual must be responsible enough to purchase healthy products.

They’ll say things that essentially translate to…

“The people should know better.”


“It’s up to the individual to make informed decisions about their health.”

I actually used to believe this wholeheartedly. I used to think that the individual was the one ultimately responsible for their own health.

And while you or I may be responsible, there’s more to it.

In my case, I was lucky enough to have a mom who taught me a little bit about health. I was lucky enough to go to a great high school and college.

I thought this is why I was eating more healthy than others, but when I looked back to really examine if this was true, I realized it wasn’t.

My health was not a product of my particular education and assumed privilege. Here’s why…

Even after all this “education,” I still ate McDonald’s, drank soda and didn’t think too much of it. I knew it wasn’t great, but I didn’t know the extent of how bad it could actually be.

So making healthy decisions at a restaurant or grocery store is not only an issue of education or having a good family — I had the schooling and the family — it’s an issue of regulation by well informed, proactive and caring legislators. Without the regulations, the food industry controls us with marketing and presence on the shelves.

In this case, removing these larger sized beverage options off the menu may help some people eat hundreds of calories less a day — whether they know how much sugar is in soda or not. There is no need for family intervention or community classes on health food (that many people would never attend) for this to happen.

This is why regulation is so important. It cuts to the chase. No community watch groups or initiatives need to be organized and run.

It’s as plug and play as large sweeping changes can get — I’m saying this tongue in check, because I know this won’t be easy to implement.

(BTW: If you’re interested in reading more about how this ongoing battle between health organizations, advocates and the food industry is waged, please read Michele Simon’s book “Appetite for Profit.”)

Next up, the fight for the profits of the little guy

The food industry advocates will next start to fight by saying that the little guy, the restaurant, is the loser in this game.

In essence, they’re saying no one will buy soda if it’s in smaller containers.

I find that hard to believe. People will still buy soda, just maybe not as much.

And for those who think people will buy less and profits will erode, Mayor Bloomberg — a multi-billionaire — suggests the restaurants “could simply charge more for smaller drinks if their sales were to drop.”

I agree. Soda is not a necessity. It can be priced at a premium and people will buy it. One of the reasons we’re into this whole health mess is that the unhealthy foods are disproportionately cheaper than healthy ones.

Let’s make juice cheaper and soda more expensive.

And of course, there will be so many soft drink industry spokespeople who say nonsensical things…

Here’s a quote from a representative from the New York City Beverage Association…

“The New York City health department’s unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top,” the industry spokesman, Stefan Friedman, said. “It’s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front.”

Mr. Friedman should be careful of what he’s asking. If real health professionals took over and really did the hard work, there wouldn’t be any soft drinks allowed at all. He should enjoy the compromise — and his job — for now, at least while it lasts…

My final thoughts…

Regardless of the industry pressure, this is sure to pass.

For me, it’s good news to see that a city can be so proactive on health issues.

What I’m interested to know is if there is any way to track the health of the city, to see if soda consumption declines, or to directly attribute a ban like this to weight loss.

If so, this will make the case against soft drinks even stronger. What’s holding us back from a complete ban is that the industry knows we haven’t gathered all this data yet and they keep pointing out the fact we can’t tie soda to obesity directly.

(Oh wait, this has already happened today here — keep in mind this is written by a finance and law specialist, not a health advocate or expert.)

Unfortunately, they’re technically right. I haven’t seen a viable study that has used soda as the only variable and shown increased weight. I’ve seen soda as a part of the study, I’ve seen corn syrup studied to show weight loss and weight gain, I’ve seen the same with sugar.

The challenge is studies done with soda that do show weight gain or none at all are generally survey based and you cannot determine the many other factors that people may or may not be eating or doing to contribute to their weight loss or gain.

The biggest issue is that people who drink soda tend to eat other unhealthy things, so you can’t pinpoint the actual factor that is causing health decline, outside of saying an overall poor diet.

But to counter that, what we do know, even researching back as far as Weston Price’s work in the 1930’s, is that the introduction of white flour and sugar into the diet of natives causes many different health challenges.

This detail alone could be the only evidence we need — particularly considering the increased amount of sugar consumption the world has seen since then.

Anyway, back to this issue…

I think a ban on large sized soda and other sugary drinks is a move toward bringing more attention to the possible causes of obesity. It’s a good thing, it creates a media buzz and more people will be aware of it.

It’s hardly the only solution though.

Personally, I think all soda should be banned since it serves no purpose whatsoever in a healthy diet, but I’m a little less diplomatic.

I’ve surprisingly survived over 10 years without a sip of it.

I think everyone else could benefit from doing the same.

(Or at least that’s my untested theory, that is completely anecdotal, is completely my choice to make and is hurting the little guy as I write this — as the food industry experts would say.)

Your question of the day: Do you drink soda? If no, when was the last time you had one?

Live Awesome!

Resources: NYTimes — http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/nyregion/bloomberg-plans-a-ban-on-large-sugared-drinks.html

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. jerry says:

    I quit drinking soda about five years ago and have had a sip a few times since then. I had a grape soda at a school function where no bottled water or tea was served. That was the first soda in years. Since then, I lost 50 lbs and have become very healthy. Analogous to your comment that people who drink soda also make other bad food choices; when I quit drinking soda I also made better food choices as I learned more about what was good for me. And I agree, that unless government steps in, which I hate the thought of, people will eat transfats in restaurants or make other choices because they don’t know what’s in the food. MSG is a good example, unless it’s naturally occuring, of chemicals that should be banned. There is no other purpose for it but to create addiction. Do I still eat chick filet, yes I do. There is MSG in some of their food and I’m sorry. I guess I limit my intake to once a week and figure I’m getting some. It’s all about the money, and since industry will do anything to earn more money the only means to stand up to them is more regulation. As a Republican, I hate more government.

  2. Danielle says:

    I do not drink pop, but since you stating you believe it’s okay for the government to choose for me, I am unsubcribing from your newsletter. I do believe in karma, so when the government expands its grasp to your products, you have no one to blame but yourself.

  3. Angela Schluneker says:

    I personally do not drink soda nor do my children. I am in my late 30’s and gave up soda back in high school for lent one year. It has been many years since I have had any soda. I do admit to having a rootbeer float maybe once every 2 – 3 years though.

  4. Goodie says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I haven’t replied to any of your posts but I thoroughly enjoy reading them. I felt I had to on this post. First, to answer your question, I don’t drink soda very often….. mostly with pizza but if I don’t want empty calories I decline. And there is my problem with what Bloomberg is doing…..I have a real problem with the government telling me what I should and should not drink or eat. Do we still live in a “free” country? For me, labeling of GMO foods, etc. is much more important so I can make a CHOICE…like in drinking soda or not. If they do limit the size will they also tell you how many sodas you can buy? One can still overdo the amount by buying more. I do however feel that the reason for so many overweight people needs to be addressed and I believe – like in so many things – there is more to the cause than soda. How about making sure that PH is not cut from schools, etc.

    Thanks for all of the important info you write about.

  5. pacific_waters says:

    I am totally opposed to junk foods but I am also opposed to a nanny state. There is more than sufficient information available for consumers to MAkE THErE WON CHOICES! It’s hypocritical at best to say drink fruit juices instead of sodas. COmmercial fruit juices are loaded with additives and fresh squeezed provides far too much fructose for most people with a high glycemic index. Get off the prohibition bandwagon. How far do you want to take your nanny state? What do you want to outlaw or penalize next? It’s none of your business what others choose to eat or drink. Stay out of other people’s lives. You’re no better than anu other self righteous jerk.

  6. Linda says:

    Nope – no soda for me. Dad drank it. I called him a pop-aholic. He developed diabetes and heart disease, had his first heart attack in his late 50’s and died from a massive coronary in his mid-60’s.

    I never had soda in the house when my kids were growing up, and never buy it now either.

    The Farm Bill needs to stop subsidizing HFCS and other junk food ingredients. Our tax dollars should not be supporting these scourges to health.

  7. Linda says:

    I want to add that while I am against subsidizing HFCS and other junk food ingredients, I disagree that the stuff should be banned. The government needs to get out of our lives, not increase regulations on what we ingest. I’m all for education, but banning certain ‘foods’ is a slippery slope.

  8. Shirley says:

    Kevin, This is so wrong on so many fronts, where do I even begin? Do you really want to give any (federal, state, local) government any more control over us? Who’s to say that next they will not regulate the healthy products that you sell on your website. But, they are good for us you say, the federal government might think differently. Just because we know that drinks loaded with sugar are bad for us, we still should be allowed to make that choice. God could have made us all perfect, but in his infinite wisdom, he gave us free will to make choices, either good or bad, and then we learn or suffer the consequences.

    I know you think that this is a good thing, but just stop and think about this regulation. What will be next? Look at all the places where smoking is not allowed, but many people still smoke. We are slowly having our freedoms taken away each day (TSA anyone–your choices–be subjected to radiation, or be felt up.) No, no, no more power given to Mayor Bloomberg, or any other government official.

    Still love you, even though we have different opinions on this.

  9. Mark Shields says:

    Yo, WHAT’S UP SEAN… Good stuff dude… I put it this way. Some people are saying, “I’ll just order 2 sodas.”… No they won’t, same reason people in 1980 didn’t order 2, it’s inconvenient, and there are studies that back this up.

  10. Karl Seidel says:

    I haven’t had a soda since my early 20’s – so it’s been over 30 years. I’m not so certain Bloomberg’s wisdom will prevail. I hope you’re right but I’ve seen no indication his reach will go that far.

  11. Jim says:

    Regulation is a very slippery slope. I’m not for people drinking 32oz Big Gulps. But I am against an ever increasing Nanny State and Big Brother.

    And what difference will this make anyway? I can’t buy a 20oz soda at the restaurant, right? Ok, so what’s going to stop someone from just drinking two 16oz glasses of soda at the same meal???

    Are you seriously going to tell me the typical person that drinks soda is going to stop at one? Don’t most restaurants offer free refills?

    Is the Board of Health going to arrest the person because they drank two sodas? They’ll shut down the restaurant?

    Slippery, slippery slope, my friend. Keep coming up with those regulations and see where it eventually gets you. I think when more and more of your freedoms are removed by legislators you’ll be wishing the days of 64oz blue slurpies were back!

  12. Heather says:

    While I am not a fan of government, I am a fan of protecting future generations from the stupidity/lack of education of parents raising children on empty calories and sugar. As a teacher, I am appalled at what is allowed to be served in the cafeteria, what students bring in as snacks, and what they eat on a regular basis. Some parents actually think their diets are harmless. I would LOVE to see the price of nutritionally void foods skyrocket (yes those who still REALLY want it will still buy it, akin to the tobacco industry) while nutritionally abundant foods drop in cost (fingers crossed). I can’t feed all of my students, nor can I go home with them to ensure they eat a proper diet, but if their parents have to pay more for empty calories or have to make alternative choices, my students will benefit in the long run! Some are just not equipped to “go it alone!”

  13. Mike Maybury says:

    I have made a proposal in the United Kingdom that might be applied equally in the US.
    This would work as long as there is a committee which is independent of suppliers and manufacturers, and composed mainly of nutritionists and health professionals.
    Taxes should be applied, and possibly increased at regular intervals, to many ‘bad’ basic ingredients like white sugar, white flour, saturated fat etc.
    This will leave it to manufacturers to reduce these ingredients little by little, in order to keep the prices of their products down.
    Consumers should not wish to campaign, as they would really not be affected.
    Some of the tax income generated could be applied to subsidizing whole-grains and other beneficial ingredients.

  14. Terry says:


    I love reading your info, and have benefited a lot from your posts.

    I really disagree that this ban is a good thing. No, soda isn’t going to improve anyone’s health, but neither is a vegan organic cupcake or cookie. When you let government decide what is good or bad, and let them legislate it, you better hope that you agree with whoever is in power at the time. Even if you do, the next administration is right around the corner.

    Soft drinks, if consumed at all, should be in moderation, and so should so many other things that aren’t (chips, sweets, etc.). But the last thing I want is the government making my nutrition choices for me (food pyramid, anyone?).

  15. Ryan says:

    This ban will do absolutely nothing to improve the health of anyone. It could actually make things worse. Most diet sodas contain aspartame. Look it up. Look at it’s history, it’s effects etc. So the gov is saying too much sugar is bad but aspartame is ok??? Wow.

  16. Therese says:

    Great article! I have never been a big soda drinker my entire life. I never really liked the bubbles. I occasionally have a ginger ale at a restaurant. Last time was about a month ago at an Olive Garden. The glass was about a foot tall but very slim at the bottom. So it looked like a lot, but only about 10 ounces. I do not believe I even finished it.

  17. Cathy says:

    Really? You are seriously advocating taking away more of our freedoms? I want my freedoms back!! People need to make their own choices and take some responsibility for themselves. I don’t drink soda because it neutralizes stomach acid, which prevents you from digesting your food properly. That’s my choice, for me… I don’t want to be told what to think OR eat, this is ‘supposed’ to be a FREE country! The government does NOT know what is best for us!! For heaven’s sake, look at their track record. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see it. Do you realize that this ban does NOT include DIET Drinks??? What a joke. Sugar is bad, but poisonous chemicals that destroy your brain and actually make you FAT by making people crave CARBS are just fine. This ban is a horrible idea on so many levels. With every regulatory ‘good idea’, we are sliding into an Orwellian world. This is NOT about doing something good for the people! It’s about getting us used to being OPPRESSED SLAVES in a nanny state. Period.

  18. Jacky says:

    No, no gov’t controls on what we eat or drink. I was a young, reproductive mother when birth control pills were introduced. My friend used them and at that time, they didn’t know what they might do in the future so you could only use them for a year. No big deal. My friend just kept changing doctors and used them for many years and there have been consequences. A different subject? Nope, people will compensate, and still consume as much as they want to. We don’t need any more laws limiting our freedoms. I don’t eat junk food or drink pop. But if you want to its your business. Maybe drinks should be labeled like cigarettes, warning of the dangers. Education is the answer, not limiting freedom. I am sure his motives are good, but the method is wrong. Have him have the NY health dept. start an education campaign and run it in the papers and TV and radio, have contests, inspire interest in being healthy. No more foolish laws. I love your health info, but this is just plain wrong.

  19. cindi says:

    wow… this one is getting some strong reactions and totally understood…. i agree with the one that said it will not make a difference because people will just order a second one… even if they have to pay for it… as some places do still have free refills…. but i have to say too..that unless that diet soda is sweetened with a natural sweetener than it should be limited “if” the other is because that is just as bad or worse….
    it is crazy tho because just as another stated… yes please label everything so we can make informed decisions but it is still “our” right to make those decisions…
    i stopped drinking soda a long time ago.. i do not even like it anymore i do like sweet tea tho… not too sweet so unsweetened is good and i can add my own sugar but again i like having a choice…. and those hooked on soda will still drink it…. even if they go in one store and send their kids into another to load up…. there is always a way….. lets just make them put in big bold numbers the calories on the front of that can/bottle or cup…. mite stop some even if not others… but again… they are taking away our rites to raw milk… and other things… they need to be stopped…. my opinion… but i love u guys and it is ok to agree to disagree…. so i am not leaving….. ty Kev and Ann….

  20. Mr. E says:

    I quit sodas years ago and am glad I did. We don’t give the children sodas either although they get them outside the home from time to time. However, banning the sizes of sugary drinks is hardly a function of government. If anything, their job is to inform us of some of the dangers with proper labeling. Looks to me like preferential treatment is being given to the artificial sweeteners which may even be more dangerous than sugar. There is a lot worse stuff in our food that manufacturer’s don’t have to tell their customers — hormones, antibiotics, human body parts, GMOs — why isn’t Bloomberg going after these killers? My guess is that this move is just to get us used to the idea that the government is supposed to tell us what we can and cannot eat. Looks like they got Kevin, too, now to support such fascist measures. We need the freedom to grow, trade, and ingest REAL FOOD and natural medicines, and Bloomberg has not demonstrated any support for that, only more statist control ‘for our own good.’

  21. Sue says:

    I don’t drink soda.

    I think that if the government would stop farm subsidies, the playing field would be more level and the producing of unhealthful products would naturally decrease. The government is involved, so now the government has to get involved more to undo the damage.

    That’s stupid. Just get the government out entirely.

  22. Robbie says:

    Kev, I sure appreciate your feelings about this proposed city legislation, since many of us following diet and nutrition issues (and practicing healthier eating habits) know full well how non-essential and actually dangerous excess sugar consumption is. Apparently Mayor Bloomberg feels the same way and has the power and authority to try to do something about it.

    But both he and you are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to singling out just one of the many perpetrators of our epidemic of chronic illness. The answer here is more education, not greater infringements to individual freedom and expansion of the “Nanny State.”

    Look…Bloomberg is a billionaire. What’s to keep him from using a few million to leverage other contributions, new advertising approaches and public service announcements to create a buzz within the citizenry of NYC about this issue? He could sponsor contests, for example, for the best print and video ads educating consumers on the dangers of excessive sugar consumption and their direct connection to obesity, Type II diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more. Ad agencies and p.r. firms could participate by producing the winners pro bono and placing the winners on bus and subway ads, on TV as public service announcements, and in educational materials for schools, colleges, and large employers to use in raising awareness.

    Perhaps the mayor could compromise with the soft drink industry and others affected by his proposal by allowing them to contribute funding to this program in lieu of the draconian governmental response he is favoring.

    Just saying, Kevin, there are other ways for us to accomplish a good thing.

  23. Dulcey says:

    Part of the problem with the sugary soda ban is that fruit juice is also sugary and diet sodas have artificial sweeteners that cause cancer and mental problems. I stopped drinking soda a year ago as I learned more about what is (or is not) in the food (term used loosly) I am eating. What we need is a massive informational campagn explaining to people in simple terms to stay away from processed food as much as possible and the reasons why. I truly had no clue until I started reading Weston Price’s book and many others on nutrition. When people are informed, they can at least understand the consequences of their decisions. Like others, I do not believe in the government deciding what I can and cannot do (think about governments who have burned books they considered inappropriate). Educate not legislate.

  24. walter lev says:

    i think it’s funny how much people spout the nanny state myth. there is so little real freedom that is left. banning pop is so insignificant it’s funny. we are so buried in the nanny state it’s like living in the matrix.
    when ny or cal. ban stuff the businesses make changes that often give healthy eaters more options. i love being able to go into public and not have to smoke someone elses cigarette. most of the restaurants i go into give as many refills as i want. i have to tell them no more thank you. this will probably only apply to fast food and take out. so if you really need more pop stop on the way home and buy a bottle at the corner store. it’s cheaper anyway.

  25. Krestia says:

    I drank soda & diet soda but a few years ago stopped- not really sure why other than my caffiene intolerance – I get migraines from too much caffiene so I save it for chocolate! I still have the occasional soda- never diet soda though- but the carbonation makes me nauseaus these days if I have more tha 4-6 oz.

    I don’t advocate the gov choosing which foods I eat but it would be nice if the crappy junk food was expensive & the good food was cheaper. What would be great is more ‘in your face’ labeling about the harmful effects of the foods & laws enabling people to have restitution for their health problems -then companies would stop trying to kill us with their crappy food- and yes, I do still eat plenty of the crappy stuff, but a lot less than I used to. BTW, my lactose intolerance? A thing of the past- it was a nutritional deficiency- not that I eat a lot of it now, but at least I can have some without blacking out from my tummy cramping up- still have to deal with the mucus though- GROSS!

    Love to read your articles. WOW, some people are really extremists! Their loss if they unsubscribe cause you provide interesting info & they disagree with your opinion. What losers. (am I being extreme now? giggles)

  26. Elaine says:

    While I have mostly given up soda, and other sweet drinks, what disturbs me most about a ban on sugary drinks is the fact that in a free country, this is even considered a good thing. It is not up to any elected offical to determine what people want to put into their mouths. Those of us in the alternative/natural community don’t want people telling us our supplements are harmful to us and then banning them…do we? Bloomberg is doing exactly the same thing that we fight against, and we are thinking this a good thing? Not a chance. We are either free to choose what we put in our mouths or we are not. If NYC can ban sugar and salt, they can ban supplements and organic food. No bans on anything for me, thank you.

  27. Shelley says:

    I think I’m more outraged about the ability of a mayor to “stack the deck” with his appointed positions than whether or not people’s soda consumption is regulated. Sounds like Bloomberg is more interested in power than health.

  28. larry says:

    Head over to the NYC newspapers.
    Tomorrow, Bloomberg is declaring the day as National Doughnut Day.


    We haven’t had soda in our home in 10+ years.
    It’s garbage and we don’t drink it.

    Anyhow, a ban on food by a govt agency is not a good thing.
    Today they’re banning something you don’t like, so it’s sort of okay.
    Tomorrow they’re banning foods you do like.
    Such as raw milk.
    Can you buy raw milk in NYC ?
    I doubt it.
    What if I buy as much soda as I want to in 16 oz bottles ?

    Bloomberg is a very powerful, influential person.
    When he uses that authority to dictate – with govt threat and sanctions – one has to say that’s it’s a slippery slope.

  29. Mari says:

    Dear Kev,
    I think you have good intentions in trying to prevent people who make bad food choices from slowly killing themselves BUT letting the government tell us more and more what to do with our lives and how to do it is wrong.
    People must be allowed to make their own choices even if they choose junk food.
    Government is not like a good parent who tries to guide us into making good life choices. Government has become a mindless machine which passes the buck when it makes errors and will not take responsibility.
    It is better to do what we can to educate the people who will listen…even though it takes longer & requires a great deal of patience.
    This is a complex question because many of us feel that we are having to pay for ignorant people’s bad food choices in the form of higher medical insurance costs for one thing.
    But there are solutions to that problem too.
    We have become a nation that seems to think it is wrong to say “No.” to medical treatment for someone who has not financially contributed to the “health care” system.
    Final thought, if “health care” was treated with the emphasis on health (ul) instead of “drug care” and people were given incentives to stay healthy there would be fewer people running to doctors and emergency wards. I do not have health insurance and it gives me hugh incentive to stay healthy!!! I don’t drink pop either.

  30. You have illustrated two camps here: Republican (Conservative) and Democrat (Liberal).

    Each views the reasons for one’s personal life failing or succeeding from two fundamentally different perspectives.

    Ask a Republican why people are fat, and they will chalk it up to personal choice and responsibility (interiors).

    Ask a Democrat why people are fat, and they will tell you it is because of political policies, economic policies, agribusiness practices, etc (exteriors).

    SO, Kevin, you appear in the above to have taken the Liberal, Democrat view that ultimately it comes down to changing the external systems (laws). As you say:

    “The people should know better.”


    “It’s up to the individual to make informed decisions about their health.”

    “I actually used to believe this. I used to think that the individual was the one ultimately responsible for their own health.”

    “I don’t any more.”

    Kevin, I know you…. you think in larger and more integrated, post-conventional terms than this.

    Public education and legislation can hold an important role…

    And so does individual education. Which is why you run this site, and do what you do.

    Ultimately, the decisions do come down to individual choice, provided the person HAS ALL THE INFO.

    Government legislation of the Bloomberg NYC type is predicated on a populace of sheeple. And because there are so many sheeple, the policy will have some limited, measureable effect.

    But it won’t stem the tide of obesity, diabetes, heart disease… because these are interior crises of meaning, understanding, and culture.

    People need to wake up and make better food choices because they find food personally, ecologically, spiritually, and/or culturally significant enough to give a damn about.

    And no government can ever legislate giving a damn and making post-conventional choices of true depth and meaning.

    So keep doing this site – it is post-conventional, and post-governmental.

    Thanks for inspiring the writing this afternoon 🙂

    David Rainoshek, M.A.

  31. Charles says:

    The fed govt is already on the warpath against supplements and raw milk. The FDA is close to attempting a crack-down on vitamins, so yeah, lets give government (fed, state, local) more power to control our “choices”. Good plan! Today, they are winning over the “health-sheeple” by demonizing sugar, ’cause after all, it IS evil! Tomorrow it will be grass-fed meats. Then Home-grown “non governmentally certified” fruits and veggies. I’d love to chat further, but I need to check the FDA website and make sure my paleo lifestyle is still “legal”. Maybe they can make some more decisions for me. Baaa…Baaa…

  32. Tamara says:

    Seriously? No, no, no!!! The many comments before mine have all made great points. We are born with free will for a reason and to let government step in and start making all of our “choices” for us will lead us down a very dark road. Clearly the government does not have our best interest at heart most of the time and if we start giving them more and more power when does it stop? It doesn’t and pretty soon our society will become the society portrayed in “Idiocracy.” No one will know what free will is, no one will think for themselves, no one will even know how to think for themselves.

    My husband once made a joke that we would all soon be walking around in bubbles, I laughed, but with this proposed ban I’m beginning to think that his joke just may turn into reality.

  33. Kuru says:

    If any ban needs to occur, it should be in producing this size soda in the first place; therein lies the blame, the assault to health. People don’t need to be regulated; corporations do!

    As far as bans go though, I’m still trying to digest the mandatory seat belt law, even though I know they’re helpful. And the child seat: forcing a small child to sit so far from his parent may be one of the culprits to obesity, who knows?

  34. Violet says:

    People get so threatened by the idea of their freedoms being taken away that they stop thinking. It’s idealistic freak out mode. We aren’t free to make a choice, when the only drinks available are soda, soda, and chemically flavored “tea”. Maybe with less soda, there would actually be a choice! We are not free, we have been colonized by the junk food industry, and swindled by the insurance industry to pay for it. As long as I’m paying for everyone else’s diabetes, ADHD, hypertension, and depression, the libertarian argument for choice just doesn’t cut it. The general public has proven itself too stupid to make its own choices about health, and the children are suffering. Shouldn’t it be called child abuse to make your kids obese, ill, and drugged?

  35. Cindy says:

    “Diet soft drinks of any size are allowed.” Hmmmmm………Has Mr. Bloomberg never heard of the hideous effects of ingesting the poison aspartame????

  36. Donna says:

    I DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU! GOVERNMENT HAS NO BUSINESS IN MY LIFE!! This is supposed to be the land of the free with the right to pursue happiness! Let people decide for themselves! The government is getting into MORE THAN enough now!!

  37. Daniel Lanzilotta says:

    If people want to drown in sugar water go for it. How come this fraudulent government isso eager to protect us from evil sugar, cigarettes and wants me to buckle up but the only industrial nation on earth can’t provide its citizens with basic healthcare that covers natural non-allopathic remedied. There is lots of hoopla to make it illegal to use supplements and to go to alternative practitioners of natural healthcare.
    What is the FDA and various other fraudulent government agencies afraid of: GlaxoKleineSmith? Monsanto? Bayer Crop Science? ConAgra, Tyson!
    More people get food poisoning at home because people have no blue as to handle and store food? Is the government going to knock on your door to check the the refrigerator is below 40 degrees F?
    This is a dictatorship! Get government out of the bedroom, out of the kitchen and out of protecting me from myself! Give people the tools to figure it out and teach people that there are consequences to making decisions for oneself! The issue is that this fraudulent government is frighten by educated happy people! Who else would go over to fight their useless wars? Bloomberg is a Wall Street Criminal! GMO’s Fukushima fallout, New strains of STD’s, pesticides? Really Mr. Mayor with all that loot you can apply your talents to solving real human issues. Get Dunkin ‘ Donuts out of poverty stricken neighborhoods and that will be a step in the right direction.

  38. Oscar says:

    I don’t drink soda, I consider it very bad for my health; however I can’t support the government or some genious with authority (Mao Zedong and Stalin were some of those) forcing my choice. I believe in education and information so people can make their own choices. Mayor Bloomberg is working on the authoritarian version of things, the one of the forced solutions on the ignorant by the enlightened. This is not the America i want to live in.

  39. Mr. E says:

    What is being ignored is that our servant government has not been given the authority to dictate what we may ingest — this power is being assumed. The greater danger is the consciousness of the people crying out for more government dictates, benefits, and subsidies. It ought to be remembered the Hitler was a vegetarian and abhorred smoking — obviously the means do not justify the ends.

  40. hyesun says:

    i agree with most of the people who have commented. i hate what sodas and other junk food do to people’s health, but i also want the government out of my face. less regulation.
    however, i do understand what mayor bloomberg is trying to do – he has good motives, but the whole regulation thing is tricky.

  41. kat says:

    I don’t drink soda. The whole thing is kind of silly because it doesn’t include diet pop which is worse than sugar laden beverages. In fact, pop with real sugar is actually healthier than diet pop, so IMO they are missing the mark.

    Also, addicts will find a way to get their fix.

    It would have more impact if they did a before and after reality show complete with medical testing of peeps who gave up sugar. I rarely if ever watch TV, but I would find a way to watch that!

    Sugar is the first addiction. When I worked in the shelter system I saw moms give babies [as young as 3 months old] pop and fake juice. We need to educate, and instead of taking away, show what can be added to enhance health.

  42. Eve says:

    Hi Kevin,

    I applaud your eagerness to see the demise of soda consumption, and I appreciate that you seem to know your views on what “should” be banned are a bit strong.

    My position is that the problem is so much bigger and more complex, so bans like this move us in the wrong direction.

    People need more clear data on what our food choices do. The vague “it’s bad for you” has little power next to the contant barrage of pro-junk programming people get from commercials, billboards, other print and radio ads and now – product placement in movies and TV shows. The power of ads to make soda look healthy and acceptable just seems to outweigh everything else. If they had to use actors/models who really represent – proportionally – the population that actually drinks the most soda, we might stand a chance!

    The fact that this ban permits sales of diet soda in ANY quantity proves, to me, that people simply aren’t getting the information and thinking these decisions through. One of the arguments FOR the ban is that sodas are consumed with “bad” foods – but this is true of diet sodas, and some suggest even more so because a diet soda gives the illusion of having more wiggle room. Even if one views data on aspartame dangers as inconclusive, we know that diet sodas change taste perception, and are usually consumed with junk, so… But our public’s emphasis on nutrition seems fixated on weight issues only, and that is a key part of the problem here.

    If we pour our resources into bans like this, are we detracting from “real” food education?

    Maybe, like smoking, it deters some people for awhile. But just as smoking seems to be enjoying a robust comeback, the measure may be viewed dismissively in the long run.

    I do agree with the comment that people who say they’ll just buy two sodas, probably won’t… to that end, what about a ridiculously high surcharge / tax on sodas larger than 16 ounces? That way, yes, people CAN still buy two 16 oz sodas to avoid the extra $$, but will they? Somehow that seems to me more likely to spark second thoughts, discussion and dissection of the issue.

    Measures that increase public awareness and influence our choices more subtly may prove better competitors to the mighty advertising campaigns that create the desire in the first place. (Anyone knowing of a concrete example of this in action – I would LOVE to see it!)

    So yes, banning the corn subsidies (thus raising soda prices) would probably do more to affect soda purchasing habits than banning drink sizes, IMHO. Loudly labelling GMO products might help, too, since corn syrup is from GMO corn. But what about diet soda?

    If a measure it gets people asking, “Why is this supposed to be bad for me?” that might be a good start. But I wonder, if you trigger people’s “freedom” nerve with a ban, does the discussion move away from health and over to government intrusion?… thus defeating the purpose a little?

    Cigarettes are still available, but the very high price / tax has hurt the industry. I say, tax the shit out of sodas! Junk food, too, but I understand the argument that some people “can only afford” junk food… no one, however, can “only afford” soda.

    Of course, killing corn/soy subsidies while taxing junk food to subsidize small local organic farmers would be the ultimate solution – hence making healthy food choices cheaper than crappy ones. But, I am afraid I’m a dreamer on that one…

    And back to cigarettes – the “scare” ads seem to be helping, aren’t they? (even with a small smoking comeback) What if a new junk food tax went to fund “scare” ads about junk food and sodas? Again, I’m a dreamer…

    Because really, the industries that sell these horrific products have so much power now. So part of the issue’s complexity is, how do we make ANY effective policy changes in this realm, when those in power are selling the poison?

    Do I drink sodas? YES… a Mexican coke or pineapple or tamarind soda about ten times a year. (Mexican = made with sugar, not corn syrup…lesser of two evils.)

    I bought a water carbonator to make my own sparkling mineral water, because that’s what I drink most – and it’s great with a squeeze of fresh fruit juice. Orange, lemon, pomegranite, or pineapple are really good. In fact, it almost tastes like a “light” soda if you put 1:5 juice:water; I’ve had soda drinkers taste it and nod approvingly. Maybe someone needs to market a machine like that, choose your fruit and watch thru a window as the machine crushes it into your sparkling water? Maybe that could catch on the way cappucino machines caught on? In a capitalist culture, sometimes change requires great profit.

    Thanks for another fascinating, complex and thought-provoking topic, Kev! 🙂

  43. Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

    Thanks for all the comments, guys! Please keep in mind this is could be a “step towards,” not a complete solution. I made this point in the article.

    Here are some more comments from Bloomberg, which I think clarify a little more where he (and I) are coming from.

    It’s a move that clearly shows the mayor understands human psychology:

    New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg appeared on MSNBC on Thursday to explain portions of his controversial proposed ban on soft drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces. “We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things, we’re simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup,” Bloomberg told MSNBC.

    Bloomberg told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell that his porposed ban would not limit the sale of soft drinks to individuals, but it would force many vendors to only sell small portions and force consumers to buy two small portions if they wanted more.

    “The idea here is, you tend to eat all the food in the container in front of you,” said Bloomberg. “If it’s a bigger container, you eat more. If somebody put it in a smaller glass or plate or bowl in front of you, you would eat less.”

    Bloomberg went on to cite the “epidemic” of obesity in America and said that his is a concrete proposal of what to do about this crisis. He stressed, however, that there would be no limits on the sale of beverages – just their portion size.

    “We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things, we’re simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup,” said Bloomberg.

    “It’s not perfect, it’s not the only answer, it’s not the only cause of people being overweight – but we’ve got to do something,” said Bloomberg. “We have an obligation to warn you when things are not good for your health.”

    (From http://nation.foxnews.com/food-police/2012/05/31/bloomberg-soda-ban-were-simply-forcing-you-understand-whats-better-you)

    What I also want to be sure you know is that I support some legislation, but am against much more. Any legislation that aims to get toxic foods out of the hands of my friends, family members and future child are OK by me, but if you touch my healthy, farm grown food or supplements (at least the ones that don’t turn up toxic), I’m going to raise hell.

    And, yes, please change the subsidies!

    I wrote about this here:


    (…which, yes, does require legislation too)

    Live Awesome!

  44. Katherine says:

    Never much cared for soda even as a child, only in emergency(I’m diabetic) would I go anywhere near them, much rather drink juice for sugar, water or herbal teas.

  45. Miriam says:

    Hi Kevin, I agree with you most of the time,however, on this I disagree. I believe what we consume is our choice. This used to be a free country, but, piece by piece our freedoms are being taken away from us. I am a raw vegan and that is my choice. My husband has cancer,views my lifestyle as radical and continues to live the SAD life.But, I respect that because that is his choice.He is a very intelligent man but!!!!! Same thing with users of illegal drugs. Even if the drug is illegal they will find a way to get what they want!!! Same thing goes for guns. It’s not the gun that does the killing it’s the person behind it. Same thing goes for the motorcycle helmet laws, the seat belt laws and so on. We have become a society of thoughtless individuals. Let us use our heads for more than a hatrack!!! Human nature comes into this picture big time. If you choose to be in the very best health possible, you will educate and prioritize to the very best of your ability. There is all the education one needs, to be all that they choose to be, in this age of information. The government NEEDS to stay out of my life!I live in the USA and stand for what it means! FREEDOM!!!!

  46. Linda Miller says:

    I am totally against the government (state or federal) banning food choices from people. If the government went together with the dairy and meat industry and told us we HAD to eat meat and dairy, we in the plant based world would be extremely upset. People should have the right to choose what they want to eat. It may take longer but education is the best way to go. I notice all the time that more people are becoming aware of raw foods, plant based lifestyles or just a general idea of needing to be healthier.

    I would support things like insurance companies raising their premiums on overweight people since they are susceptible to many diseases.

  47. kit says:

    Watch Dr Robert Lustig on utube – the skinny on obesity. I provides scientific evidence on the link between sugar and obesity and cancer (not to mention mental health). He is the leading expert on obesity in children.
    no evidence that soda causes obesity? I think not!!

  48. Sarah says:

    I am a nutritionist and one might think I would be in favor of what Mayor Bloomberg did. But I am NOT. I deplore the “nanny state”. Who is he to decide what we will do or not do? There are so many problems with this edict it’s hard to know where to begin. When I work with my clients, I educate them but at the end of the day, it is THEIR decision as to what they want to do or not do. His edict here allows for diet sodas to be given out in large amounts so part of what will be a result of what he is doing might be to drive more people into drinking drinks with artificial sweeteners. New York seems to be in the vanguard in dictating what we are allowed to eat. But where does this kind of thing stop? Enforced vaccination programs? The elimination of certain foods because some registered dietician somewhere has decided this food is not good for us? Enforced drug therapies? (Hey, you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol – you MUST be put on statins and blood pressure drugs for your own good and if your numbers don’t go down, we will arrest you for non-compliance). I do a lot of functional medicine testing with my clients. Guess which state until recently was the only state in the union where this kind of testing was illegal – New York! in other words, only “gold” standard testing by allopaths is allowed. Ugh. Well, at least I don’t live there……

  49. Sarah says:

    To Linda Miller: Seriously??? You are in favor of insurance premiums being raised on obese people? Are you going to go into their houses and weight them? I am sorry but this is total ignorance. There are people who are obese who cannot help it. Should we then raise the premiums on everyone who has anything other than perfect health? I just hope you never become one of these people. And by the way, there are many overweight people who are in perfect health and a load of skinny minnies who are in poor health. Your prejudice is showing.

  50. kt mm says:

    @Sarah: I work for a nameless health insurance company. Higher premiums on obese and skinny minnies w/ health problems are pretty much already in place. People think that the Affordable Healthcare Act is going to get everyone insured by removing pre-existing conditions. Well, of course they will be covered but at a much higher premium. The company offers “credits” off the premium for being a non-smoker and meeting certain criteria in regards to blood sugar, waist measurement, blood pressure, and cholestrol to name the first ones that come to mind. By not being able to pass on these things, a person ends up paying a higher premium. Thus the higher premium on obese AND skinnys. With that said, I DO agree with you.
    On a side note, while this doesn’t TAKE away a person’s right to choose soda, it doesn’t foster a healthy choice either. Unlimited diet soda?? No restrictions on latte / cappuccino w/ 51% milk??? I think this was a great discussion, and more of these discussions need to take place in mainstream.

  51. George says:

    I don’t live in the USA, so perhaps I shouldn’t comment on this issue. The consumption of “soda drinks” (soft drinks as we also call them, as distinct to alcohol)is also a problem in Australia. In fact we could say that it is a worldwide problem. When you add alcohol to the sugary swill, it adds another level of danger. It is years since I even had a glass of wine at Christmas. This was expected at the festive season at the office parties, or at the home gathering. Now we have the “energy drinks” which contain as much caffeine as a cup of strong black coffee. Yet young people can buy these cans readily and toss them down like water without a thought of what it is doing to their systems! Banning will cause a legal struggle similar to that mounted by the tobacco companies, who still won’t admit that their product kills and they are therefore murderers in the first degree, but the death is not immediate, and the victim has a choice. Education has to be the weapon, and I think the mayor (with all due respect to him) is naive if he thinks a ban will work. In Australia the battle about plain labelling for cigarettes still rages. The companies make claims about their “artistic rights”, “Loss of trade”, etc. They need to have a colourful packet to hook more addicts! In a similar way we have to remember the days of “Prohibition” in the USA. The prople still got their “booze”, either by smuggling, or making their own. The same would apply with an attenpted ban on these drinks. I don’t use them by the way. Yes, we need to have our freedom as was said in the contributions above, but it is better if it is freedom guided by knowledge.

  52. Bryan says:

    Wow! I thought the breast feeding thread was lively.

    I don’t drink soda.

    I don’t want the government telling me what I can or cannot eat or drink.

    I have a great deal of concern that there is more focus on the law Mayor Bloomberg is trying to get passed than how he has actually lined up a bunch of ringers in all the right places to get it passed.

    Looking at the fact that diet sodas are not restricted makes me dubious that the people’s health really has anything to do with this.

    The cost of all those extra cups, possibly remodeling to control the self serve fountains, new packaging…. I am afraid there is a very different game afoot than what is being ballyhooed in the press.

    I was against the laws on smoking too, even though I hate cigarette smoke. I was impressed that government was taking on such a large population base to screw with their liberties. I knew it was just the beginning.

    I wish I had the actual quote and who wrote it, but it came out around the end of WWII. First they came for the Gays. I said, “I’m not gay. I don’t know any gays.” Then they came for the Gypsies. I said, “I’m not a Gypsy. I don’t know any Gypsies.” Then they rounded up the Jews. I said, “I’m not a Jew. I don’t know any Jews.” Then they came for me and there was no one to stand up for me.

    The methods for making lots of people go along with what is going on, or turn a blind eye to it until it is too late may get more sophisticated, but they are executed by praying on the same old fears for the same old reasons.

    Sorry Kevin, but I don’t think any good for the masses can come from the route Mayor Bloomberg is taking.

  53. fred says:

    I also disagree with Mayor Bloomberg (the government) limiting our choices. I think information and education are what is needed instead of increased government (and corporate) control of our lives. We can educate ourselves and limit or refuse drinks and foods that we know are bad for us. Mayor Bloomberg is going to far with this.

    I also don’t think this equates at all with the GMO issue. In this case we are being deliberately deceived, manipulated, and harmed, and government help is needed in this area.

    Kevin and Ann Marie, you are two great people with a great website, but I have to disagree with you this time.

  54. Stanley Patenaude says:

    No matter how good the cause I don’t believe the government should be legislating what we can or cannot drink.

  55. RW says:

    First big government took away the salt at restaurants and I did nothing because I did not consume extra salt. Then big government took away large surgery soft pop drinks and I did nothing because I did not consume soda pop. Then big government took away unpasteurized milk products and I did nothing because I did not consume unpasteurized milk products. Then big government decided that what was really healthy for me to eat was processed GMO modified foods and then it was too late to STOP big government from controlling my food consumption. I had to eat whatever big government told me to eat because there was nothing left to eat, except what big government decided I should eat! The basic freedom to choose what food we can eat is the most important freedom we can have to maintain our health and happiness.

  56. Marcey says:

    Many good comments. I don’t drink soda/pop at all except for an occasional ginger ale to aid an upset stomach. (Only has happened once in the last 10 – 12 years.)I get the kind with less harmful sugars at Whole Foods. It is still too sweet for me… but helps calm down the insides. I have to stay quiet when my adult children order pop, especially the diet kind, ugh! They don’t want mom preaching.

  57. Trayce says:

    I hear what your saying, who needs a 40oz Big Gulp from the local convienience store. I just don’t agree with government making laws to stop me. I don’t drink soda much, but I do on occasion at outings, or when I go to the movies (where the massive drink is shared). What I don’t understand is why would Bloomburg okay DIET SODAS in any size when the diet sodas are the worst culprit in the fight to overcome obesity.

    It is up to each and every individual to decide that they want to be healthy and make the right choices. Thats how I found your site, I made a choice. I wanted to be healthy and feel good. Others have to find that for themselves too, unfortunatly we can not force the population to see things our way. We can teach people that want to listen. We can support those who have the courage to come out and speak against the food industry. I just don’t believe in forcing people to comply.

  58. Julia says:

    “Any legislation that aims to get toxic foods out of the hands of my friends, family members and future child are OK by me, but if you touch my healthy, farm grown food or supplements (at least the ones that don’t turn up toxic), I’m going to raise hell. Kevin Gianni”

    I think you still don’t quite “get it”. I really liked David Rainosheck’s post up above; it was very well articulated. Kevin, it just doesn’t work that way – as long as the government always legislates according to your personal preferences it’s ok to give the government all the power they want? No way.

    Who defines “toxic foods”? They think raw milk is toxic. They think vitamins are toxic. The government is not your caring and compassionate friend, like you painted them to be in your article, far from it. Your thinking is VERY dangerous, in my opinion, especially for any health practitioner/leader.

    Wake up and empower the PEOPLE not the government. Empower the inner passion of the human soul to truly LIVE and all that that means including making all the right wellness choices appropriate for each individual for themselves and truly own their own lives…

  59. Anna21 says:

    I live in NYC and have to say Bloomberg is a tyrant. A fascist. A dictator. He has no right to large ban soda or any other food. People must be free to make their own choices.

    Alcohol is so much worse than soda, yet alcohol remains legal in large sizes & soda in large sizes will be banned?!? How is that even logical. We’ve all heard of DUI’s (and tragically many innocent people are murdered or maimed by drunk drivers) but there’s no such thing as a SUI (soda under the influence).

    Are you aware that in March of this year he BANNED FOOD DONATIONS TO HOMELESS SHELTERS! What sort of heartless tyrant would ever do such a thing? Bloomberg of course, because it’s impossible to gauge the items’ salt, fiber, and other nutritional stats. Bloomberg is a multi-billionaire and is so out of touch with the reality of the average person.

    Enough ranting about Bloomberg. Kev, you have written countless great articles, and provided wonderful health information free of charge, and I thank you for that. But you are totally wrong on this issue. The last thing we need is more gov’t interference in our personal lives. I don’t even drink soda but I would fight Bloomberg on this issue tooth & nail. This is not about soda. It’s about gov’t interference. People are sick & tired of the ‘nanny state’.

    Banning any food- even junk food- will just make it easier for them to go after herbs, supplements, organic food, anything they choose. Once the floodgates are open, you just can’t close them.

  60. Faye says:

    I agree with Heather and Eve…tax the crap out of the junk food…all of it! Soda, chips, etc., and let the people have their choice but give their business a hard time. Then use some of those tax dollars to teach people what they seem to not know and help the poor people be able to afford the more nutritional choices. Junk food is not just and “American” problem, but one that is becoming world wide!

  61. Lori says:

    I agree with Dr. Lustig who said that we already live in a nanny state. The major corporations of our country already tell us what we should eat. Many of them are heavily-subsidized by the government and all of them participate
    in the culture of corruption that exists between their lobbyists and our politicians. It’s time to reverse the nanny state and give it back to the people without the brainwashing.

  62. Maria R says:

    Good insight. My question is, “Won’t people just drink two or three if they can’t get the big size?”

  63. Terry says:

    I have not touched coke etc for 12+ years after learning about Aspartame and other bad foods at a Living Health Seminar at an Antony Robbins UPW event. After that I went vegetarian for 18 months.

    This seems like a typical Problem – Reaction – Solution senario.

    This is a Trojan Horse to get people to blindly start consuming Low Calorie (Read Aspartame) Drinks. Bye Bye Pineal Gland.

    If we think for one minute that our governments have “OUR” best interest at heart them we are all doomed.

    Good to see so many people that are awake to the lie and deceit of the governments and are voicing their opinion here.

    If they were truly looking after our interests. They would have regulated Coca Cola and MacDonalds years ago.

    Aspartame switches on Nero Transmitters in the brain to expect food. Thats why those two companies are closely linked. Drink your Coke (Brain were is the food?) Ah a Burger. Once the Mac is eaten the brain says Where’s the food. (Zero Nutrients, Minerals and Vitamins in the burger) So they have more food due to the cravings in those two products.

    Then the Addiction to those two products begin. Wherever those to companies go in the world. Obesity Follows. Fact!.

    Now lets thank our government for fluoridating our water. They care so much about our health and welfare. Fancy a GMO snack anyone 😉

  64. sue says:

    I live in a suburb of NYC, so am still shocked about hearing today’s announcement by Mayor Bloomberg. I don’t drink sodas, nor do my kids. Yet the Mayor has gone too far. Especially re coffee & tea. 16 oz of caffeine is not so sugary, I don’t think.
    Maybe he will rethink this. It is even kind of creepy, I think.

  65. Leena Nortamo says:

    For my part thuis question is the same as about tobacco. Since we make wrong choises even when knowing better, for my part it is good that these products are limited. They cause a lot of damage and suffering for the citizens and cost money for the society.
    The debate about tobacco has in Sweden resulted in people smoking less which is a good thing. I hope sodas and other harmfull products will be treated in the same manner. They can be available but not everywhere as the first choice.

  66. Lilija says:

    Absolutely agree with you on this, Kevin! Our freedom is illusion, so there is nothing to loose here. There are many indirect tools of regulation (commercials, media, context) already in place. In this case the direction of regulation has been changed for the common good, and this definitely is for good. People are irrational in their choices, they are nudged by tools that influence subconscious decisions. So its dangerous to leave all “choices” (as if there were any left) to consumers whose free will is taken by industries long time ago. The most sneaky hidden tool of influence is to create a context of choice, which is designed in a way that our choices are directed in one way without us knowing that. A good example here is a dining menu – the way how food items are arranged impacts the statistics of food chosen, no matter how randomly food items are displayed on the list, consumption of those displayed at eye-level will increase (Thaler and Sunstein, 2009). Thus, being in a role of choice architect is a great responsibility as people will be nudged in some direction intentionally or not intentionally.
    I understand all the annoyed people who are quite aggressively defending their “free will” (because this is what defines a human being – an ability to choose), but its because they don’t understand the real underlying tools of influence.


  67. Cindy says:

    I haven’t had a soda in about 25-30 years. In that time, I maybe have had a sip of a soda less than 10 times, & each time I thought how sickly sweet they are. My 2 daughters (both in their 20’s) rarely drink soda. And my 2 granddaughter’s (ages 6 & 7) don’t drink soda because their mom’s don’t buy it. I think the 7 year old has never had a soda. The 6 year old gets an occasional soda when she visits her dad though.

  68. susan says:

    WOW WHAT AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE! i am 55 and soda just never appealed to me even as a child, i also had a natural extreme distaste for cool aid and orange juice concentrate and any type of sugary artificial stuff. I must have instinctively known that a grape lollypop did not taste like the fresh grapes or apples of the day. we had a milkman deliver fresh milk from a dairy farm and a well in connecticut so i suppose i drank alot of milk and water. I THINK IT IS WISE TO NOT RELY ON THE GOVERNMENT FOR ANYTHING! AND WHAT ABOUT DIET DRINKS WITH ALL THOSE CHEMICALS AND THE OBVIOUS ALCOHOL SOLD EVERYWHERE. iT’S REALLY TIME FOR EVERYONE TO LOOK WITHIN, DO THE RESEARCH, WITH THE INTERNET THERE’S PLENTY OF THAT, AND MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS ABOUT WHAT WE PUT OR DON’T PUT INTO OUR BODIES.!!!!!!MANY PEOPLE ARE JUST TOO ADDICTED OR LAZY OR SET IN THEIR WAYS TO CHANGE THEIR COMSUMPTION HABITS. iT’S KINDA LIKE I JUST HAD A FRIEND DIE OF LUNG CANCER AND SHE STILL SMOKED TILL HER DYING DAY. I AGREE WITH SOMEONE THAT THERE ARE DEEPER PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPE REASONS THAT CREATE THIS OBESE SOCIETY WE HAVE.

  69. susan says:

    The AWARENESS of the subconscious manipulation of big food industry helps create more freedom of choice-we can choose not to eat out, we can choose to grow our own food, we can single out the things in a grocery store with a clear list made with intention of our own menue and of course WE CAN ALWAYS BUY FOOD FROM KEVIN, which gives us healthier options. Heck you don’t have to leave your living room to buy decent health food products online, like david wolfs stuff. i made a whole gallon of fresh WATERMELON Juice this morning,The watermelon was grown here cost 3.99 took a little effort to cut up, make and clean the juicer…i JUST don’t see what everybody is complaining about!!!!!!

  70. Dana says:

    Don’t drink a lot of soda…hate the aspartame. When I do though, I have Sierra Mist with sugar, then cut it halfway with lime flavored seltzer water but don’t even have that very often; maybe a couple 2-3 times per month.

    I think these big cities (I live in Chicago) are overstepping their mandates by making things to eat or drink illegal…NOT a good idea. Too much of that crap going around.


  72. Brooke says:

    Kevin – I was really worried when I read your article. I’m so surprised you support such a non-grassroots approcach to this problem. We all woke up from our SAD lifestyles with education and experience. Why don’t you think others can do the same? Why do you think the government has to save you from yourself? I was so nervous about what the comments would say, but they are overwhelmingly positive in my opinion. It’s refreshing to see so many people acknowledge the problems, but also stand up for our freedoms. Banning 16 oz sodas will do nothing. People will just buy multiple 16 oz. sodas. Government cannot save you from yourself. Freedom is about making choices, even if they aren’t the right ones because that is where the life lessons are learned and wisdom is acquired…

  73. Brooke says:

    Awesome post, Terry! The government does NOT have our best interest at heart. That is clearly evident. Regulate the people, but don’t regulate the corporations (not that I would want the sizes of their products regulated anyways). Just because there are subconcious regulations through media/propaganda and other sources, does not mean the government should tell us what to drink. I do NOT drink soda, but if other people want to, I don’t care. It doesn’t hurt me. I don’t want others to hurt themselves, but when I tell them that drinking too much soda is bad and they still do it, there is nothing I can do. Are we really going to start jailing/fining people for drinking more than 16 oz of soda? Land of the asleep, home of the slave…

  74. Linda says:

    Hey Kevin,
    I have not drank soda for over 7 years now and do agree that it is not a good choice to make for something to drink. But it should be just that a choice. I do not agree that the gov. should be able to tell me what is good for me or any one else for that matter.

  75. I wish that they would keep their noses out of everything. People need to watch out for themselves. You give the government and inch and they will take the mile. I do not think the is a good thing. I hope it does not pass.

  76. Veronica says:


    I, too, am highly disappointed in your response. The government does not have the answers to everything, and we, the people, should NOT be giving the government control of everything we do, think, and say. I haven’t had a soda in over 4 years, but then, that is my choice. It should be MY choice, and not others taking it from me. Taking away something bad will not stop people. They will figure out a way to get what they want. It has to be the heart and mind that changes, then the behavior will come. Once you start telling people what they can and can’t do, then all you have is a society forced into behavior, which is like socialism and dictatorship.

  77. Denise B says:

    I think it’s been at least 10 years for me as well. I destroyed my stomach with Mountain Dew and Mello Yello back in the 90’s – I was drinking them on an empty stomach. I haven’t really touched a dark drink since then and gave up the light ones a few years later.

  78. Kimberly says:

    No matter whether you agree that people should drink or not drink soda. More government regulations that take away our freedoms is always bad. To say that all soda should be banned because you believe it is bad is just the same as the government taking away my freedom to choose to drink raw milk because they think it’s bad (or because big dairy is paying them more money). I agree with Goodie’ comment. I should have the freedom to choose what I want to eat and drink.

    Also, I don’t agree that people don’t really know the harm they are doing to their health when they drink giant cups of sugar. I think they just don’t care. People do know, they choose to ignore the truth because they just want to do what they want to do. If they really wanted to be healthy then they would change their behavior. It’s a well known fact that soda is bad. Now, trying to convince people that Diet Soda is just as bad (if not worse) is a different story. But if people wanted to really be healthy they would do their own research and reading and not just blindly believe what the media tells them.

    I saw the mayor on the news yesterday and he said that if the government can add just 3 years to a person’s life then that’s what they should do and if they didn’t then he didn’t know what government was there for. Well, maybe he should watch Burzynski The Movie or The Gerson Miracle documentaries, because it is VERY obvious to me that government only cares about money not saving people’s lives.

  79. Late bloomer says:

    No, I don’t drink soda. I stopped so long ago that I don’t remember when it was.
    When I was a kid, I seldom drank soda. Then when I went to nursing school and was out-of-the-house, I started eating and drinking like my peers and continued after graduating. At some point early on, I thought soda has no nutrition and I cut back on drinking them. But by my 30s I was starting to look a little plumb around the middle anyway and I found out that I had an elevated blood sugar level but still within the safe limit and overall my weight was still good. But at that time I started feeling toxic whenever I fixed lots of pancakes on week-ends for my family and I was frequently irritable. Instinctively, I think, I knew carb excess was the problem and made as few desserts and pancakes as I could get way with but since my family liked those things I felt guilty about it. In my 40s and 50s my sugar level was the same only borderline high, no change but I was still too thick around the middle and also gaining pounds, maybe 35 lbs overweight. That is probably when I stopped soda all together but I still drank fruit juice and ate noodles, bread and other starches. I could never get a flat stomach no matter how much weight I lost or how many stomach crunches I did. Even though I believed I was eating well, how wrong I was! Now in my 60s I have eliminated grain, sugar substitutes and added-sugar foods and I have increased the dietary fat, meat and vegetables. That’s when the big changes began. Wow, I love it.
    My 27 year-old son tuned me in to paleo. I have him to thank.

  80. Late bloomer says:

    It makes sense to be opposed to the government making decisions for us about food. After all it was the government that made so many mistakes already about what foods we should eat, encouraging less fat, more grain etc. For those who want milk and other dairy, the government has restrictions on raw dairy in many localities. Bad news since organic, grass-fed, raw dairy is the only fit dairy to consume in my opinion. No, food decisions should be left to the individual; however, there are some things that individuals cannot control without government interference. Such as labeling of foods for GMO, additives, food enhancers. I am totally for government requiring complete total disclosure on food packages. I have a right to know.

  81. Rudy says:

    “I’m all for education, but banning certain ‘foods’ is a slippery slope.”

    I totally agree.

    I have not touched any soft drink in years, but like so many others who have posted here, I would not prohibit anyone from buying them or selling them. I would not even prohibit my child from doing drinking the stuff. And I am very suspicious of the political machinery that takes liberties in limiting our liberties “for our own good.”

    Frankly, I find it bizarre that you actually think the bill is good thing, but of course you have a right to express your opinion. I hope you’re not motivated by the desire to get attention and generate traffic on your website, but it makes me wonder.

  82. sarah says:

    Shame on you Kevin! My husband and I never drink soda nor do I allow my child. However, I did not need bug brother to tell me that It was my choice. You may think this is a good thing because you agree with the mayor on this but what of you did not. How would you like the State telling you what you can and can not drink and how much of it you are allowed to consume. For this is just the beginning it will not stop there. Ever hear about a little thing called Probation?

  83. Manda says:

    I drink soda once in a blue moon. While I like to have a healthy diet, I do eat things that are not healthy from time to time. That’s my own choice.
    I think soda is terrible on a daily basis and I don’t allow my child to have any.
    However, this ban idea is ridiculous. Kevin, you’ve lost a great deal of credibility in my eyes after this post. Who is it who gets to decide what will be allowed and what will not? I hope you realize that the mainstream idea of “healthy diet” is not in line with what you and I believe is “healthy diet,” and if we go down this road of banning “unhealthy” then we serve to lose. I personally think that coconut oil has health benefits and I use it for many purposes outside of the kitchen. However, there are several studies that say saturated fats are horrible for health.
    The government has no business involving itself in my food choices. These are the folks who have declared ketchup and pizza vegetables, who are responsible for the nutritionally abysmal school lunch programs, the people who have subsidized processed meat/dairy, who think that irradiating all fresh produce and nuts is healthy, who raid raw milk producers, etc., etc., etc.
    A nanny state that takes away our choices is not an answer or an improvement. It is a cop out. The day that doctors start prescribing healthy diets and lifestyles and stop pushing pharmaceuticals for every possible discomfort is the day perhaps things will turn about. Until then, we need to make informed choices. We need to seek out information and take responsibility for our own health.

  84. Nicola says:

    Thank you Kevin! The world needs people like you who honestly care about the health of others. Your vast knowledge and honest opinions are what needs to be shared in order to focus attention and create dialogue concerning these issues. I’m impressed by Major Bloomberg’s attempt to create some type of restriction (not ban)on soda consumption. It really is a small step in the big picture but it is a step. I hope that his plan is enforced. Then other steps such as this can occur. I agree with you that people do not have enough information to make informed health decisions. As an educator of 23 years I have seen what some students are sent to school with each day (e.g. Hot Cheetos and a soda). Change occurs slowly and the only way that any progress can be made is with people like you and Major Bloomberg, who are courageous enough to take a stand and let their voices be heard. Again, thank you for standing up for what you believe in!

  85. Jana says:

    When I visited NYC last year, I was pleased to observe a lot of thin people. Where I live, however, is 2010’s fattest city in the USA, so I see derrieres a wide as the grocery carts every time I shop. I feel a bit of sadness every time I see an entire aisle dedicated to soda on one side and chips on the other. In an ideal world, I love to see the demand for these products diminish.

    Our world is certainly not ideal. I think in one sense the ban on large sugary drinks is a good thing. After all, the law requiring us to wear seatbelts was unpopular at first. And getting smoking out of restaurants was hugely contentious. My concern is people might drink more diet soda, and imo they’re better off with the sugar.

  86. Ashie says:

    I think this is an example of why this type of government intervention is a bad idea. What they’re saying is that sugary drinks are unhealthy but diet sodas (containing aspartame) are a healthier choice. This could to lead to far greater health problems with people switching from regular to diet sodas or people who already drink diet sodas believing they are healthier than regular because the large diet ones aren’t banned.

    IMO a better idea is education, most people aren’t fully informed about the consequences and also of the impact of marketing on their choices.

  87. I do NOT agree that is is OK to allow Bloomberg or anyone else tell me how big of a sugary drink I am allowed to buy… Not everyone who buys a very large soda drinks it at once… I personally buy a giant soda so I can drink it through out the day and end up putting the rest in the fidge for morning, or throw it away… I also would buy one large drink for my family and get 4 small cups so we could share it… However, because he wants to help these obese people lose weight… I also have to abide by his rule, even though I am not obese, and odds are never will be….

    Now, if we allow him to put this ban on us, what’s next??? Are they going to start watching how much of this that we buy and start saying you can only buy so much sugary drinks at the store in any given day… Maybe do the same thing they do with Allergy medicine, if you are caught buying more than your allowed amount, the authorities will be notified and they will send you to sugar detox camp or something…

    I know… I am getting a little extreme, but the government needs to focus on so much more than our sugar intake….

  88. Oh wait, I need to say something about you think all soda should be banned… that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard… Ban something because some people cannot limit themselves, punish everyone because a few people do not drink anything else??? I have a few choice words for that, but I will refrain myself…

    If people want it, they will find a way to get it, and they will make their own stuff at home.. Would you want to ban Kool-aid too cause it is just as sugary as sodas… and don’t forget tea… people add sugar to it.. Might as well ban sugar all together… cause people can use it to make drinks unhealthy…

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