Bloomberg's Soda Ban Might Not Have Worked
Aaron Carroll highlights the findings of a study on limiting the sizes of sugary drinks.
People bought more soda from the “bundled” menu than from the completely unregulated menu.
I have no idea if the soda ban would have worked. I was always skeptical. This study, however, raises the possibility that it might have backfired, though, if it had gone through as planned. There was a clear loophole for businesses to sell bundles of smaller sodas together. It turns out that may have led to more soda consumption under the ban, not less.
I'll take this as a pushback against Bloomberg's mechanism - a half-limitation on portion sizes - as compared to the basic idea. I won't profess to being a fan of a soda ban, but there's a host of other options for a city seeking to attack the public health problem of obesity.
As David wrote on Bloomberg's soda ban back in July:
The ever-increasing size of the standard soda serving has changed our understanding of what is and what is not an appropriate amount of sugar to consume at a sitting. The beverage industry works on Americans before they have learned to read; even before they have learned to speak. In 2010, children and teens were exposed to twice as many full-calorie soda TV ads as they were in 2008, according to a study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
The beverage industry is correct that a soda crackdown alone will not on its own address the obesity problem. Americans spend twice as much time in cars as in the 1970s and average more than 26 hours per week of sedentary entertainment. Some 80% of Americans do no physical exercise at all. ...
But if a restraint on soda serving size will not do everything, it may still do something. Or possibly not. The idea may fail. The idea is an experiment, and most experiments fail. We learn from failure how to design a better effort next time. And when we do at least succeed in this difficult struggle for public health, we will all owe New York's visionary mayor our thanks for leading the way.
Personal disclosure: I've lost nearly 50 pounds since this time last year, and that's with minimal time at the gym. The single biggest change has been to drop the crap from my diet. No more chips, much less bacon, far less drinking (pop and alcohol alike), and a general aversion of sugary and salty foods.
It's been great. And if a mayor like Bloomberg can convince a populace to back such moves, good for him.