A 16-oz. Can of Whoop-A**

“Question for your life: If there were a fountain machine that dispensed destruction instead of soda, would you grab an extra large cup?” ― Jarod Kintz

In an effort to curb obesity in New York, Mayor Bloomberg, backed by the New York Board of Health, has decided to ban the purchase of any SSB (sugar-sweetened beverage) larger than 16-oz. This will impact restaurants, movie theaters, street carts as well as some public venues across New York. Being in the fitness industry, I see people struggling with their weight literally every day and I believe soda is a main contributor to America's current problem with diabetes and obesity. Trust me when I say, there is no love lost between me and soda. So why am I having such a hard time getting behind Mayor Bloomberg's initiative?

I read that at the opening of the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, they are complying with the mayo'rs wishes, but I am confused as to how it's going to make an impact on obesity. A 16-oz cup of soda is $4. A 20-oz. bottle of Dasani water is $4.50 while a 24-oz. domestic beer is $9.50. My issue lies with the fact that there is nothing stopping concert goers from purchasing 2 or 3 sodas. Now, no one on planet Earth needs to consume 32 oz. of soda, diet or regular. But it seems as though that's exactly what many patrons did. They drank the same amount of SSB's, just paid Coca-Cola $8 for what used to cost them $5. It reminds me of the, "Every dollar spent is a vote..." quote. 

Most irksome? At Barclays, a bottle of Dasani Water (owned by the Coca-Cola Co.) costs more than soda! Tell me, how is that helping?

The ban does not include supermarkets or grocery stores. So a 2-liter bottle (almost 68 oz.) of soda can be had for somewhere around a dollar or two.

Maybe a better idea is what is happening here on the West Coast. Both Richmond and El Monte, CA have proposed a penny-per-ounce tax on SSBs. It will be suggested to voters on the November 2012 ballot. Similar to cigarettes, if you don't purchase them, you don't get taxed. This kind of a tax has been suggested before, but has never come to fruition until now.

I don't know what the best answer is. I agree with Bloomberg in that I desperately wish people would drink less soda. But when it comes to diet and exercise, I almost always wish America would make better choices.

I wish soda machines didn't find a perminant home in our children's schools. I wish time allotted for PE in school wasn't constantly shortened and, sometimes, cut out altogether. I wish physical activity didn't take a back seat to, well, everything. For children as well as adults. 

But should my wishes be mandatory?

In California alone, over 60% of us are obese or overweight. And with the average American drinking a mind-boggling 45 gallons of soda a year something has got to change.

So what's the answer, Alameda? A new tax? Banning XXL cups of sugary sodas? I'd like to believe we could govern ourselves, but so far, we haven't been doing a very good job.

Don't miss a day of Alameda news, opinion and events. Sign up here for the Alameda Patch morning e-newsletter. And 'like' us on Facebook!

Li_ October 12, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I like the half cans of soda, which in my mind equates with being the same treat as a singles ice cream cone or slice of pie. I also like the 5 cent or more an ounce tax too. if a soda was the same price as a desert we'd stop having so much so often. Soda appears to be liquid, but really it equates with cake and pie. A cake generally serves 8 people, that's 4 cans! It grosses me out just imagining eating a quarter of a Chocolate Decadent cake, let alone a whole one.
Jaan Carter October 13, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Soda is soooo not good for us, and not just because it's loaded with so much sugar it's frightening, but because the bubbles actually eat the enamel off our teeth. Sugar is so incredibly addictive, it's in everything from meat to yogurt (a food that used to be healthy, but now is almost like candy). Americans eat more sugar than anyone else, and we're paying a high price. And please don't believe that artificial sweeteners will save you... they're worse! They're made from... can you believe it... Pesticide. It's time for us to not only wake up, but to get the truth about what we're FED... Don't trust corporate "food industry" companies to keep you healthy!
Frances Montell October 13, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I have tried to change my own perspective, and that of my children, from the idea that soda is a beverage to the idea that it is actually liquid candy. We don't drink it at home, but every time we go out to eat they expect to be able to have a soda with their meal. What I try to enforce is that water is the best beverage; soda is like drinking candy. We don't have dessert with every lunch or dinner, so they shouldn't expect to get liquid candy with their meal.
Ken Dorrance October 13, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Soda is bad for you, but so is smoking, candy, alcohol, beef and etc and etc. Do you ban all of that or allow a person to make a personal choice. Last I looked it was still a free country, but more and more it is becoming a country that we have to honor one groups opinion at the expense of another. The government, local, state, and Federal need to get out of our personal lives and stop making decisions for us. They can not solve their own problems, but the government feels it can solves yours. Let the government run itself into the ground, not our lives.
Jaan Carter October 14, 2012 at 04:02 AM
I agree with Ken that educated, responsible citizens deserve to choose. What's twisted about the whole thing is that it's not really about choice, or what's healthy, it's about big business making money by preying upon the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the People. I'm don't advocate a tax or a ban on sugar; what I do advocate is EDUCATION, and we don't get much truth from our food "industry" because they seem to care more about their profits than about healthy citizens. Knowledge is power, so let's empower ourselves. There's nothing wrong with beef that's been raised properly, fed properly, etc., in my opinion, and I do a fair amount of research on food, nutrition, and health issues... I have been stumping for Yes on Prop 37, because we are in the clutches of evil -- Monsanto -- and it's shocking to me how few people really know what GMO's are about. I think it's high time for us to take back our health and welfare. I have certainly had my share of sweets in my life, and the price is high. I'd rather feel good over the long term than have a few moments of false gratification from sweets. A little fruit will do me fine.
Jeff Mark October 17, 2012 at 02:45 AM
The argument that "there is nothing stopping concert goers from purchasing 2 or 3 sodas" points up the fundamental fallacy of the critics of Bloomberg's proposal. I'm going to cheat a bit and change the emphasis from events such as the concert described in the Times piece to movie theaters. Concerts and ball games are different from attending a movie theater (few of which sell beer, for example), and I expect if the Times article (which is hardly scientific data, after all) had looked at them, it may have found some different effect. I contend that while a moviegoer could return to the snack counter and purchase several 16-oz beverages, most wouldn't. Indeed, I contend that almost no one actually wants 64 oz of beverage at the theater, or 2 gal of popcorn, or 32 oz of candy bar; they didn't used to. Portion size inflation has not been driven by demand for larger, more expensive snacks, but by the economics of snack retailing. The 64 oz. soda at the movie theater only costs about 10% more than the 40 oz size despite being 50% larger because the costliest part of the beverage is the cup, not the contents. And it's also why the young, low-wage snack bar attendant recites, as instructed, "you can get the extra large for only 50¢ more" (and why 16 oz costs $4). And of course, since we bought it, we have to finish it... I think this is a large part of why America has an obesity problem, because our eating habits have been overwhelmed by our susceptibility to marketing.
Jeff Mark October 17, 2012 at 03:26 AM
P.S. http://alameda.patch.com/blog_posts/why-america-is-fat


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »