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New York’s Sugary Drink Ban Struck Down

A judge strikes down New York’s ban on big sugary drinks. What do we do about American obesity?

 In this July 9, 2012 file photo, protester Eric Moore sips on an extra-large beverage during a protest against Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to prohibit licensed food establishments from using containers larger than 16 ounces to serve high-calorie drinks at City Hall in New York. (AP)

In this July 9, 2012 file photo, protester Eric Moore sips on an extra-large beverage during a protest against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to prohibit licensed food establishments from using containers larger than 16 ounces to serve high-calorie drinks at City Hall in New York. (AP)

Starting today, big sugary drinks in New York City were supposed to be history.  Banned in restaurants across the Big Apple.  New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s way of saying, “lighten up, New York.”  Lose some weight.  Don’t be obese.

But yesterday, on the eve of the ban, a top New York state judge said no.  No ban.  Not this one anyway.  He called Bloomberg’s scheduled ban “arbitrary and capricious” and over-reaching.  Ok.  So what do we do about this country’s exploding obesity problem?

This hour, On Point:  no to a ban, yes to what, on American obesity?

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Fred Mogul, healthcare reporter for WNYC. (@fredmogul)

Diana Winters, expert in health law and associate professor of law at the Robert H. McKinney School of law at Indiana University.

Randy Barnett, professor of legal theory at Georgetown University.

Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

From Tom’s Reading List

Reuters “A judge on Monday invalidated New York City’s plan to ban large sugary drinks from restaurants, movie theaters and other establishments, one day before the new law was to take effect. State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling in Manhattan ruled the new regulation was “arbitrary and capricious” and declared it invalid, after the American Beverage Association and other business groups had sued the city challenging the ban.”

Nature “Authorities consider sugar as ‘empty calories’ — but there is nothing empty about these calories. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. A little is not a problem, but a lot kills — slowly… If international bodies are truly concerned about public health, they must consider limiting fructose — and its main delivery vehicles, the added sugars HFCS and sucrose — which pose dangers to individuals and to society as a whole.”

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