Opinion: The war against the big gulp (large cups for soda drinks)

POSTED: 06/29/14 4:34 PM

Big Gulp

Super cups. No, we are not talking about soccer here. This is about the mega super cups New Yorkers love or hate. The ones they use for slobbering sodas. The Supreme Court of the state of New York shot down a proposal to ban half-liter cups for sugar-rich sodas.

Two years ago, former mayor Michael Bloomberg opened the war against Big Gulp. He wanted to ban the large cups from restaurants, cinemas and stadiums. There was probably every reason to come up with such a measure, because more than half of all New Yorkers are overweight or obese.

This way, being fat has become the New York standard, and Bloomberg wanted to do something about it.

The question is of course whether banning large cups would sort any effect. A determined soda-aficionado would simply buy two cups and be done with it.

Just before the measure would go into effect in 2013 a lower court killed the measure, saying that it was arbitrary and capricious, because certain calorie-rich beverages were not banned and because the ban would not apply to supermarkets.

The Volkskrant observes with glee that Americans consume food and drinks in enormous quantities. “The soda cups in the cinemas are a bit like little beach buckets. Sandwiches resemble skyscrapers, constructed from half a pig in slices, combines with three different kinds of cheeses and two different sauces.”

The question then remains: what to do in the war against obesity? It is apparently not feasible to legislate people’s behavior, but there are of course other methods.

The first one that comes to mind is taxation. If super cups of soda become prohibitively expensive, only the rich will be able to afford to slobber themselves towards death by overweight.

That would give others reason to ask this question: “If you are so rich, why aren’t you smart?”

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