Pro, Con Arguments on Proposed NYC Soda Ban
Medical professionals lined up at a public hearing Tuesday to speak in favor of a proposed ban on large-sized sugary drinks at New York City restaurants, cafeterias and snack trucks, while opponents decried the plan as an assault on personal freedom and wondered what tasty but unhealthy foods might be targeted next.
New York City's health board heard hours of testimony on a proposed rule that would limit soft-drink cup and bottle sizes at food service establishments to no larger than 16 ounces.
Medical experts spared no rhetoric in hailing the proposal as a way to protect the public, saying that sodas and other sweetened beverages are a leading factor in a health epidemic linked to poor eating habits that kills thousands of New Yorkers every year. More than one likened soda companies to big tobacco.
One doctor said before the hearing that the calorie-packed beverages consumers now down with abandon increase the risk of diabetes, and are responsible for a big share of the "massive suffering and premature death" linked to obesity.
"Soda in large amounts is metabolically toxic," said Walter Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. "It's obvious that this is the right thing to do."