Why Americans Need Bloomberg's Big Gulp Ban

Shannon Brownlee | New America Foundation | June 4, 2012

Last week, New York city mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a plan to ban sales of sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces. The ban would apply to both bottled soda and fountain drinks containing more than 25 calories per eight ounces, but would exempt alcohol, fruit juice, or any beverage that’s at least half milk. That means that the city’s 20,000 restaurants, coffee shops, food carts, movie theaters, and stadiums will no longer be able to sell empty calories in supersize portions.

Bloomberg has gotten a lot of flack from the beverage industry and free marketeers, but he’s right to propose such a ban: we shouldn’t really be drinking anything out of those bathtub-sized cups but water, and certainly not a 7/11 Double Gulp that contains 55 ounces and more than 700 calories. But huge has become the new normal. The fact that such a ban is even being proposed shows you how out of whack our sense of proportion has become...