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NYC Ban on Super-Sized Sodas Would Cut Consumers' Calories: Study
Date:7/24/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- A day before a public hearing on New York City's proposed ban on super-sized restaurant sodas, a new analysis finds that such a ban would spare consumers excess calories.

The proposed rule put forward by Mayor Michael Bloomberg would restrict the sale of sodas and other sugary drinks to servings of 16 ounces. While nutritionists applauded the move, critics see it as another step toward a "nanny state." The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has scheduled a public hearing on the issue for Tuesday.

Amid all of this, the real impact of reducing serving sizes is unknown. Now, three researchers from New York University have tried to quantify the effect by creating several scenarios.

"We wanted to give a sense of [what] the impact of the Bloomberg soda policy might be on consumer purchases," said researcher Brian Elbel, an assistant professor of medicine and health policy at NYU School of Medicine.

The report was published online July 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

To do this, Elbel's team focused on purchases of these drinks at fast-food restaurants.

The investigators found that if everyone switched from 32-ounce drinks to 16-ounce drinks, they would consume 63 fewer calories every time they bought a fast-food meal.

If, however, no one switched that would actually boost the number of calories they consume by about 30 calories more, Elbel said.

Elbel admitted that 63 fewer calories is just a drop in the bucket. "We know this alone is not going to bend the obesity curve in any large-scale way. That said, 63 is not nothing. It's a reasonable number to expect from any single policy," he said.

"If you get a few different policies that have this impact, then they could have a much larger impact overall," Elbel added.

The Bloomberg proposal has been criticized a
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