NYC Passes ‘Big Gulp’ Ban

BiggulpThe New York City Board of Health today threw its weight behind Mayor Mike Bloomberg's plan to combat obesity in the Big Apple by approving a ban limiting sugary drink sizes to 16 ounces.

From NBC News:

"[Sugary drinks are] the largest single driver of the obesity epidemic," said New
York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. "It is the
largest source of added sugars to our diet."

The math behind the ban is simple:

A 16-ounce Coke has 200 calories.

A 20-ounce Coke has 240 calories, or about 30 more than a Hershey bar.

If you drink a soda per day — as do 46 percent of Bronx residents,
according to one recent Health Department survey — choosing the 16-ounce
bottle rather than the 20-ounce would save you 14,600 calories a year,
or the equivalent of 70 Hershey bars. That is enough to add about four
pounds of fat to a person's body.

To burn off those extra calories, an average-size woman would have to walk about 340 miles.

The ban, expected to be put in place come March, will have an immediate impact on fast food joints, where 16 ounces is considered "small," but can easily be bypassed by buying soda in bulk at the grocery store.


  1. mikenola says

    my question now becomes will the fast food chains affected by this now offer the 16oz drinks w/refills for a slightly higher price?

    I can see the ads now, “Happy meal with small drink 3.95, drink refills .20 more”.

  2. Homo Genius says

    Its not the calories its the High Fructose Corn Syrup.

    Honestly, I had to pick up dinner for my mom the other night. I never eat fast food. I was thristy so I ordered a drink too. I ask for medium knowing they would be big. The medium was like 32 ozs. Thats really alot. The large was a Big Gulp size and there was even an Extra large. I honestly dont know when or why it was decided we needed such large drinks.

    Rather than banning sizes and choice, i would rather see them address the fact that every food product sold is mostly HFCS. Thats whats driving obesity and diabetes.

  3. Craig says

    I’ve never eaten at a fast food restaurant when I’ve been to NYC so I have to ask the question: Don’t you have self service soda machines in your fast food restaurants like we do in California? I assume you do, so how do you prevent return visits to the soda machines? I always order small knowing I can refill as often as possible (though I rarely do – and I usually get unsweetened iced tea).

  4. JaysonJ says

    i am more concerned with the fat and chemicals in the food itself then how much sugar I drink. People just need to step up and take care of themselves not have our government tell us how much soda we drink.

  5. mike8787 says

    I have no problem with this. Clearly many of us cannot control ourselves, and our ruining not only our own lives, but the lives of our children, by eating this way.

    Everyone can still get as much soda — just buy two. This merely creates a (perhaps greatly needed) mental hiccup that makes consumers ask, “Do I need 32 oz. of soda? Now that’s it’s not being presented as ‘one serving,’ do I still want that much to drink?” The fact that people will say no shows that something odd — not need — is inspiring these over-sized food choices.

  6. MaddM@ says

    if people could take responsibility for their choices, then they should be free to make those choices. However, at least where health/healthcare is concerned, too many americans have the idea in their heads that they will do whatever they want to their body but someone else better be around to pick up the pieces. See smoking, drinking to excess, poor diet, lack of exercise, riding motorcycles without helmets, etc.

    I’ve never understood why there are many people that will look on it as admirable and patriotic to ruin their bodies and then expect to get disability b/c they have emphysema/liver failure/a few strokes etc. These people often bemoan people on “welfare” because for some reason when “they” make poor life choices and expect others to take care of them… which in that case is reprehensible but to so admirably wreck ones body because you didn’t want “to eat no rabbit food” or take any exercise ever even when it might be reasonable like walking up a flight of stairs.

    While the freedoms allowed by the united states allow the right to be obnoxious and a trainwreck, one does not need to exercise those rights.

  7. BO says

    This article is misleading. Big Gulps aren’t covered by the ban. 7-Elevens are classified as grocery stores and can therefore sell any size sugary drink they wish.

  8. GregV says

    “To burn off those extra calories, an average-size woman would have to walk about 340 miles.”

    But if continues to order the (smaller) 16-ounce Coke each day, she still has to add an extra 4 miles per day to her exercise routine just to burn off that one item (and we know she won’t ever do it). And if she wants to drink a 32-ounce Coke, she can still buy it in two cups (or with one refill, if refills are still allowed).

    I think the real question we need to ask ourselves is: Why are nearly half of Bronx residents (including parents who choose their kids’ diet) making this choice?

    I know that in my high school, we were taught in Phys. Ed. class what good dietary choices were, and then we would go into the cafeteria and have crap (and ONLY crap) marketed to us. There is a disconnect.

  9. says

    this is one of those instances of “whatever happened to personal responsibility!?!?” can be met with “yeah, we’ve tried it and y’all are failing.”

    there’s no need for size options that big. i mean come ON.

  10. Ray says

    We will tell you what to eat and drink – for your own good
    We will tell you when and how to exercise – for your own good
    We will tell you when to sleep and wake – for your own good
    We will tell you what you can read, watch and listen to – for your own good
    Then we will watch you 24/7 to make sure you are behaving as you should so you can live a long, happy life…
    Welcome to Orwell’s 1984
    Welcome to Nazi America

  11. Sarah Palin says

    Just like Michelle Obama who thinks she can raise her kids better than you can. You show HER, America. Your children can eat as many cookies as they like. Because if you look at the Obama children who watch Glee and have trim figures and then look at my children and grandchildren who drink corn oil for Jesus I think you can see who the real parent is.

  12. anon says

    Brought to you by another out-of-touch billionaire.

    Walking burns about 100 calories. There are 3400 calories per pound of fat, so you need to walk 34 miles to burn one pound of fat. Four pounds would require 136 miles.

  13. John Bisceglia says

    Maybe the problem is that some things are allowed to be called “food”.

    I’ve heard that we should “buy and eat only what our great grandmothers would recognize as food”. Doing that eliminates most of the choices in grocery stores, and means that we only eat out at local places who serve wholesome food.

  14. kderpder says

    What a waste of time.

    Its just not the governments place to ban stuff.

    slap a warning on it, and as long as its not instantly killing people or spreading disease, it should be their choice.

  15. says

    You people are acting like they banned people from putting garbage into their bodies. This is a ban on restaurants serving larger drinks, anyone can just go ahead and buy TWO smaller ones and you can still get as obese as you want and drain the public funds with your healthcare costs. So don’t worry, the American Dream is alive and well!

  16. jugo mono says

    This sounds a lot like the debates around banning smoking. Personally, I don’t care if you smoke or drink or eat or drug yourself to death. I just don’t think the rest of society should cover your medical care for something you did to yourself while you knew better.

Leave A Reply