On September 13, 2012, the Board of Health of New York City passed a ban on the sale of large sodas over 16 ounces. The ban will take effect this March, 2013. The regulation is set to limit the consumption of non-diet sodas, sweet teas and other heavily caloric beverages. The ban will not apply to water, diet soda or unsweetened teas.
In addition, the ban will not apply to natural herbal sugar substitutes like anise, cinnamon and stevia which are sold at most health food stores. At bottom, soda manufacturers do have a good alternative to substitute sugar for herbal preparations that do not have the same penalty as sugar in raising glucose levels to abnormal highs.
The ban also excludes beverages sold in convenience stores and supermarkets. New Yorkers for Beverage Choices has opposed the ban and may seek legal action against the City of New York to lift the ban.
Their argument is that business owners will be hurt financially by the ban. That may be true; however, people in opposition to the ban must consider the alarming level of childhood diabetes in NYC and elsewhere. Diabetes isn't the only problem.
There are other issues like morbid childhood obesity and gross imbalances in the blood chemistry. Examples of these imbalances would be the glucose level and the A1C rolling average statistic as reported on standard blood tests of primary care physicians and endocrinologists.
Opponents are reviewing the legal options against New York City. Any options will be limited by the advice of medical clinicians on the recommended sugar allotment in the daily diet. Thirty seven grams of sugar is a popular limit. Most small cans of soda have approximately that amount.
With a 37 grams limit in the daily diet, a 16 ounce soda would have nearly 75 grams of sugar. Any soda sized above 16 ounces would have a prohibitive sugar content. This prohibitive area is the subject of the Mayor's ban which has now been affirmed unanimously by the New York City Health Department.
There is another option to banning sodas above 16 ounces. That option would be to place a severe excess consumption tax on the incremental consumption beyond the legal limit of 16 ounces. These tax revenues could be utilized for public education, as well as supplemental revenue for the Medicaid program which funds health care for child diabetics who come from poor families.