All the discussion about New York City's effort to limit large sweetened drinks in NYC restaurants got me thinking about how we got in this fix. I can still remember the glee on my kids faces (now 19 and 21 yrs old) when a waitress refilled their soda glasses without asking. Up until that moment as the mom I had the chance to say "no thanks" when refills were offered. I sometimes let the kids order sodas out but I didn't know I was signing up for refills.
Fast forward 10 years and now the standard soda portion at many restaurants is 20 oz. What would happen if we limited sweet drinks to 16 oz rather than 20-32 oz? We could take away of few of the packets of sugar in the video and maybe a few pounds off the the people drinking them. Two researchers analyzing 1624 fast food receipts set out to find out what difference it might make. A study from New York University combined the information on receipts from 2 studies to see what impact the policy would make.
Some of the aspects of the study that jumped out at me;
- 62% of the sweetened drinks purchased were over 16 oz.
- The average calorie count for the larger drinks was 230 calories, plus or minus 86 calories (milkshakes were not included)
- If all of the people consuming over 16 oz switched to 16 oz or less they would take in 74 fewer calories (if they switched to water even better)
When that waitress plunked down another glass of soda for my kids she handed them around 150 calories and 8 teaspoons of sugar they didn't need. I will be watching what happens in NYC. If the policy passes it will be interesting to see if those 74 calories add up to fewer pounds on the people of NYC.