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Debate Over Banning Big Sodas

June 7, 2012, 6:22 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Debate Over Banning Big Sodas

Supersized sodas could become history in one American city and some fear the ban might spread.

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg made waves last week with his plan to set soda sizes at 16 ounces.

Most soda drinkers don't even think twice about filling up a 16-ounce cup.

"It's difficult to have two 16-ounce drinks and still hold your popcorn," Paul Erickson said.

But the mayor of New York thinks it's a health hazard. He wants to ban some businesses like movie theaters and sports stadiums from selling large sodas.

"Most Americans are getting way too much sugar from empty calories from their beverages that they're consuming and any excess calories is going to accumulate.  And a lot of times excess sugar goes right to your belly, which increases your risk of a variety of diseases including diabetes," Avera Heart Hospital Dietitian Nikki Ver Steeg said.

Many people down a 52-ounce pop like this, but do you realize that's like eating 43 sugar cubes?

"Unfortunately all of our serving sizes have gotten much, much larger than is appropriate, and that's not even just drinks. It's food as well," Ver Steeg said.

While diet pops wouldn't be included under the proposed ban, Ver Steeg says you shouldn't swap your regular pop for a diet pop.

"Over consumption of all those artificial sweeteners is not necessarily a good thing either. It can also help you crave more carbohydrates and put on more belly fat," Ver Steeg said.

Even though a large sugary drink is not sweet for your health, many people say banning big soda may leave some with a bitter taste and not make much of a difference.

"I think it's ridiculous. I'm holding in my hand 32 reasons why Mayor Bloomberg should mind the nanny state's own business," Erickson said.

"I would love to see something like that except it maybe isn't very practical because a lot of other things need to be done besides that. It's probably not going to solve the problem," Meriele Wilmot said.

"I'm a teacher and I see kids drinking soda if they bring it in their lunch at school.  And the obesity problem is a big issue. I don't think you can stop people from drinking soda, just like you can't stop them from drinking alcohol or cigarette smoking," Jennifer Bond said.

Ver Steeg says you should drink less than a can of pop a day.  The average teen consumes 25 to 28 teaspoons of added sugar every day in soft drinks alone.

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