Coca-Cola denies making People Obese and Objects to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 16 Ounce Limit

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 9th, 2012

Week in Review

Coca-Cola strikes back.  Attacking New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on large sizes of sugary drinks.  They say the facts don’t support the mayor’s claim.  That their fattening drinks are not making people obese.  And they have a point.  For I have seen a lot of thin-challenged people order diet drinks.  To justify their indulgence in things that are not diet (see Coke says obesity grew as sugary drink consumption fell by Bruce Horovitz posted 6/8/2012 on USA Today).

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft-drink maker, is pushing back against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s provocative proposal a week ago to limit to 16 ounces the size of sugary drinks that could be sold at city restaurants, theaters and street carts.

“There is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity,” says Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola’s president of sparkling beverages in North America, in an exclusive interview.

In fact, Bayne says, during the period from 1999 through 2010, when obesity was rising, sugar intake from beverages was decreasing. During that period, she says, sugars from soda consumption fell 39% even as the percentage of obese kids jumped 13% and obese adults climbed 7%.

Mayor Bloomberg was unavailable, but his deputy press secretary, Samantha Levine, says Coke’s numbers have more fizz than fact.

I remember having dinner with some friends one night.  One lady in our group enjoyed a Long Island iced tea before the appetizer.  She had another one with the appetizer.  And another one with her meal.  Which was a large cut of steak and a baked potato smothered in butter and sour cream.  With a side of shrimp scampi.  She ordered a soft drink to go with her meal.  A Diet Coke.  But despite this Diet Coke which was the only soft drink she drank she was a little on the heavy side.  And by ‘a little’ I mean she probably could be included in the above statistics.

Remember the salad bar craze?  People were going to eat healthy salads instead of fattening meals.  How many of us were next to someone at the salad bar as they loaded their plate with ham, pepperoni, bacon, boiled egg, cheese, etc.  While passing over the fresh vegetables?  Then topped off their salad with two or three helpings of a creamy salad dressing?  And washing it all down with a diet beverage?  I’m sure we’ve all seen this.  Someone eating a ‘healthy meal’ that had three times the fat than in your typical fast food combo meal.

This 16 ounce limit on sugary drinks will probably not stop people from having their Long Island iced teas or eating large helpings of a delicious meal.  So the danger is that when this sugary drink ban doesn’t work they’ll expand the ban to include other fattening things.  And keep expanding it until they see a reduction in the obesity rates.  To the point where restaurants may one day become the calorie police.  Perhaps allowing you to buy a baked potato with butter or sour cream but not both. 

Don’t think that can happen?  Well, they’re trying to make restaurants, theaters and street carts the sugary drinks police.  Something no one would have believed possible a decade earlier.

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