Sugary drinks are too sweet to eliminate

By Kendall Tich

Just last week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg anxiously awaited the passing of his proposed ban on large sugary drinks.

Before it could pass, however, a state judge of New York blocked the bill saying that the law was “arbitrary and capricious” a was an attack against personal freedom.

The court decided that this bill prevented growth of the state of New York and that it was completely breaking the barrier of personal freedom. This ruling was passed and the bill for banning large sugary drinks did not make it.

This got me thinking about not only the legality of this bill, but how it would affect the soda and refreshment industry if this bill were passed in New York and other states.

According to Statistic Brain, the soft drink industry accumulates $60 billion in total sales yearly, a relatively high profit in the global economy.

Many of these refreshments contain a high amount of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, two elements that have been proven to lead to obesity and health problems.

In moderation, however, refreshments are simply a way of washing down a big meal or cooling off after a long day.

Bloomberg believed that by trimming down access to sugary drinks, it would be possible to trim down the waistlines of New York residents as well.

His hopes were to project these accomplishments onto the rest of the United States to conquer obesity and dietary issues nationwide.

What bothered me about this bill were the thousands of New York residents and US citizens who consumed sugary drinks in moderation.

I have never been a fan of sugared soda, and if given the choice, I would always pick Diet Coke over a Coke, but this ban stretched beyond soda and would limit sugary juice, lemonade and other tasty drinks.

I understand the increasing obesity problem in the US, but I am not sure that a ban on large sugary drinks is the right approach to stopping this problem.

Perhaps educating those who are at risk of becoming obese and also providing support to the neighborhoods and communities that cannot afford healthy food would be a better alternative.

Not only would this bill have potentially negatively affected many refreshment providers, but it also could have completely altered the refreshment industry. Stores in New York would no longer be able to sell sugary drinks over a certain volume, which would change the distribution of refreshments and consequently affect many other states as well.

Fast forward to a few years from now, and this bill may have been passed all across the US—and it still could.

Since my home is in New Jersey and I travel to New York City on the weekends a lot during the summer, I may be biased in saying that I would be very unhappy if I couldn’t order a large lemonade at lunch or a large root beer for dinner.

When the Yankees start playing in New York, I know I will want that large soda to go with my hot dog and other ballpark snacks, as will many other New York game goers.

This bill had the potential to affect the US refreshment industry, grocery stores, vending machines and shops that sell sugary drinks and also the consumers who drink these refreshments on a regular basis.

The majority of sugary drinks are okay to consume in moderation, so maybe the real problem doesn’t lie in the existence of sugary drinks, but rather in our society’s ability to know where to draw the line.