A judge’s ruling that threw out New York’s ban on large servings of sugar-sweetened beverages may well have opened the door to a more ambitious effort by the city to fight obesity and chronic disease. See: Ruling can lead to tougher New York soda ban
“Although the law was an admirable effort, it simply didn’t go far enough in limiting large-sized servings of sugary drinks. Now, the judge’s ruling could give New York a second chance at crafting a law that applies to all sugary drinks and sales establishments.
Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan said the law was “arbitrary and capricious” in that it didn’t treat drink and food establishments equally. The law applied to some beverages but exempted others, and it banned the sale of supersized drinks in some establishments while allowing them elsewhere, the judge said.
Among its biggest loopholes was that the law didn’t apply to all high-sugar beverages, including those with high milk content such as shakes and lattes. It also didn’t cover supermarkets, convenience stores or bodegas, because these establishments aren’t regulated by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. (The soda ban was supported by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the majority owner of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News.)
The gap in regulatory authority resulted in a loophole that paradoxically would have excluded the actual Big Gulp, which is sold by 7-Eleven and has more than 360 calories of added sugar. That amount, when regularly consumed, has been shown to increase one’s risk of becoming overweight and obese.
Even the 16-ounce threshold contained in the law is an amount that significantly exceeds the American Heart Association’s guidelines for a full day’s intake of added sugar — 100 calories for women and 150 calories for men, or the equivalent of 8 ounces and 12 ounces of soda, respectively.
Sugar is a worry because excess consumption increases the risk of heart disease. Research indicates that women who drink 16 ounces of soda every day are at a greater relative risk of developing coronary heart disease and diabetes than they are of developing lung cancer after daily exposure to secondhand smoke.
Research has also revealed how the consumption of too many calories increases the risk of chronic disease. The Pennington Biomedical Research Center recruited healthy volunteers and fed them 40 percent more calories than what was needed to maintain their weight every day for seven weeks. As the volunteers gained an average of 16 pounds and their waistlines ballooned, researchers saw that excess calories were deposited as fat in the liver, interfered with the normal insulin response, increased inflammation in the body, raised blood pressure and damaged blood vessel walls, making them vulnerable to atherosclerosis.
Similar findings have been seen in a national study of almost 5,000 children. Higher levels of inflammation, larger waist circumferences and lower levels of protective HDL cholesterol were measured among 3- to 11-year-olds with the highest levels of sweetened soda intake.
Because people suffer from what has been dubbed unit bias, how much they consume is based on the amount they are served. A person served 32 ounces of soda will automatically tend to drink more than when served 8 ounces”.