Nanny State

Bloomberg Insists His Plan to Limit New Yorkers' Soda Sizes Cannot Possibly Work


Defending his proposal to fight obesity by restricting soft drink sizes, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says, "I think that's what the public wants the mayor to do." If the public wanted it, of course, there would be no need for the government to require it. Bloomberg's plan makes sense only to the extent that it changes consumers' decisions by limiting their options—specifically, by decreeing that restaurants, food carts, movie theaters, and concession stands at sports arenas may not sell more than 16 ounces of most sugar-sweetened beverages in one cup or bottle. Yet The New York Times reports that Bloomberg cast doubt on the rationale for this rule right out of the gate:

The mayor, who said he occasionally drank a diet soda "on a hot day," contested the idea that the plan would limit consumers' choices, saying the option to buy more soda would always be available.

"Your argument, I guess, could be that it's a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat in the movie theater rather than one 32 ounce," Mr. Bloomberg said in a sarcastic tone. "I don't think you can make the case that we're taking things away."

If so, what's the point? If the added inconvenience of carrying two containers does not deter people from drinking as much soda as they otherwise would, how can Bloomberg possibly claim his restrictions will make people thinner?

The answer is that Bloomberg and his health commissioner, Thomas Farley, say whatever pops into their heads, without regard to logic or evidence. Consider:

In New York City, where more than half of adults are obese or overweight, Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner, blames sweetened drinks for up to half of the increase in city obesity rates over the last 30 years. About a third of New Yorkers drink one or more sugary drinks a day, according to the city. Dr. Farley said the city had seen higher obesity rates in neighborhoods where soda consumption was more common.

Correlation = causation. QED. If that is the quality of Farley's science, perhaps we should not ask how he came up with the estimate that sweetened drinks account for "up to half" of the increase in obesity rates since the early 1980s. That statement, after all, is consistent with the possibility that sweetened drinks account for none of the increase.

Even if we accept Farley's claims about soda's role in rising obesity rates, it does not follow that Bloomberg's plan will have a measurable impact on New Yorkers' waistlines. There are reasons to doubt that it will, starting with the mayor's observation that extra-thirsty customers can always buy another 16-ounce drink (which might actually result in the consumption of more calories, assuming their usual serving is between 16 and 32 ounces). Nor will undercover health inspectors monitor the city's fast food restaurants to prevent diners from availing themselves of free refills; the regulations graciously let them drink as much soda as they want, as long as they do it 16 ounces at a time. The size rule does not apply at all to convenience stores, supermarkets, or vending machines, so Big Gulps, giant Slurpees, and large bottles of soda will still be readily available. Bloomberg also plans to exempt fruit juices, which typically have more calories per ounce than sugar-sweetened soda, and milk-based drinks. So while New Yorkers won't be allowed to order 20 ounces of Coke (240 calories), they will still be able to get a 20-ounce Starbucks whole-milk latte (290 calories) or even a 24-ounce Double Chocolaty Frappuccino (520 calories), not to mention a 20-ounce milkshake (about 800 calories).

In other words, Bloomberg is right when he says there will still be lots of opportunities for New Yorkers to consume large quantities of high-calorie drinks, which means he does not even have a sound paternalistic justification for his meddling. He is screwing with people not to protect them from their own foolish choices but just to create the appearance of doing so. Or maybe just because he can.

The Times notes that Bloomberg "has made public health one of the top priorities of his lengthy tenure" with "a series of aggressive regulations," including "bans on smoking in restaurants and parks" and "a prohibition against artificial trans fat in restaurant food." It adds that "the measures have led to occasional derision of the mayor as Nanny Bloomberg, by those who view the restrictions as infringements on personal freedom." Is there any other reasonable way to view such restrictions? It is one thing to argue (as Bloomberg presumably would) that the restrictions are justified by the government's supposed duty to minimize morbidity and mortality by preventing people from taking risks (its "highest duty," according to Bloomberg). But it is patently absurd for Bloomberg to claim he is not limiting freedom when he uses force to stop people from doing something that violate no one's rights, whether it's selling donuts fried in trans fat, lighting up in a bar whose owner has chosen to allow smoking on his own property, or ordering a 20-ounce soda in a deli. When, as in this case, his arrogant, healthier-than-thou interference has, by his own admission, zero chance of achieving its stated goal, that fact hardly makes his arbitrary use of government power less objectionable.  

More on Bloomberg and "public health" here.

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  1. “Your argument, I guess, could be that it’s a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat in the movie theater rather than one 32 ounce,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a sarcastic tone. “I don’t think you can make the case that we’re taking things away.”

    If so, what’s the point? If the added inconvenience of carrying two containers does not deter people from drinking as much soda as they otherwise would, how can Bloomberg possibly claim his restrictions will make people thinner?

    Because we have to do something! God, do you hate fat people that much?

  2. “If the public wanted it, of course, there would be no need for the government to require it.”

    If the public wanted people not to be murdered, there would be no need for the government to require that either. Right?

    1. Wow. That was amazing.

    2. Morons are stupid.

    3. Nope, does not work that way.

      People want murder left illegal (which is kind of redundant since muder is defined as the illegal taking of another life) because they do not want to be murdered, not because they do not wish to murder someone else.

      With a soda your decision to drink whatever quantity you like does not impact me in the least.

      So, laws against killing restrict YOUR actions to protect MY rights wheras laws against purchasing more than 16 oz of soda at a time merely restricts my actions for no tangible benefit to anyone.

      1. Nice work, Rasilio.

        1. Nice work; completely wasted on a moron.

      2. With a soda your decision to drink whatever quantity you like does not impact me in the least.

        That’s not true.

        Health care costs are socialized.

        My decision to be a fat slob affects you in that it increases your health insurance premiums and your payroll taxes.

        Thus the government has a duty to tell me what I may or may not eat.

        1. Health care costs are socialized.

          You can’t force your costs on me and then expect me to listen to you complain about what you cost me.

        2. So due to government forcing health insurance on me that I don’t want, they have the right to force additional taxation and restrictions on me. All because you pay a portion of my healthcare costs if I’m unhealthy and fat, despite that I’m nothing of the sort.


          1. Exactly!
            And since most every decision you make affects your health, from how much you sleep to who you choose to fuck, the government is duty bound to involve itself in those decisions!
            So, for your own good, you must get permission to do, well anything!
            Totalitarianism, here we come!

        3. While this is true to some extent there are numerous flaws with this line of reasoning some of the biggest being…

          1) There is no direct correlation between soda consumption and increased health care costs. Yes there is a statistical correlation but the soda consumption of any individual will not in any way determine their individual health outcomes or costs. The same is true of smoking and all other “unhealthy” behaviors.

          2) There is absolutely no area of activity one can engage in which would not require government mandating your behavior with this rationale, it is essentially arguing for every person to have every second of their day scheduled by government fiat and the complete elimination of the individual because EVERYTHING we do or might do has some potential impact on our long term health.

          3) Why stop at health care just because it is socialized? Your decision to buy a hamburger and not a burrito or pizza for lunch impacts the marketplace I have to shop in and as a result of your actions my choices are limited, maybe your choices to buy burgers caused my favorite burrito place to go out of business and now thanks to you I can’t get my favorite burrito’s anymore, don’t I have the same rights to my favorite foods as you do?

          1. There is absolutely no area of activity one can engage in which would not require government mandating your behavior with this rationale

            Now you’re catching on!

            1. Yep. As I read it, I thought, “This guy’s thinking like a libertarian, not a fascist.” For a fascist, the “hook” socialized health care into everyone’s lives is a feature, not a bug.


          3. 1. Actually that’s just not true. There is a direct correlation between consumption of sugar and obesity, If you consume enough of it you WILL get fat, and then eventually you WILL get diabetes. Different people of course have different levels that this will happen, but that doesn’t mean the relationship isn’t there.

            1. And if I drop dead at 50 rather than 95, I could be “saving” Medicare hundreds of thousands in end-life care. The clean-living little old lady who spends the last 30 years of her life in a nursing home could easily have lifetime health care costs exceeding those of a diabetic wreck who dies young.

              1. 50’s too early, wait till 65, that way you max out your contributions to the system first

            2. No the correlation is not direct.

              You can take 2 similar people and feed them the exact same high calorie diet and end up with wildly different health outcomes. Sure if you drink 5 gallons of soda a day it is pretty much guaranteeing you to eventially be fat and get diabetes but in the quantities typically consumed (a few oz to a couple litres a day) there is only a loose correlation between soda and weight because there are so many other factors involved. What else do you eat, do you smoke, how active are you, what is your genetic predisposition to weight gain and diabetes, and so on. Further you have people who get fat and get diabetes who have never so much as tasted a single drop of soda.

              So while Soda statistically increases your risk of being unhealthy those statistics are not guarantees of outcomes and trying to pass laws as if they dismisses human individuality in favor of uniformity.

              1. The fact that there are other factors involved doesn’t remove the correlation. Almost everything has multiple factors involved.

        4. Health care costs are socialized.

          Right, so desocialize the costs of health care, and stay out of my private life. Problem solved.

          1. Sorry, but government is a one-way ratchet.

            Once they control something, they never let go.

            Desocializing is not an option.

            But fascism is!

            1. government is a one-way ratchet

              Thank god for limits on tensile strength.

              1. It sucks to be in the vicinity when the whole mechanism gives, though.

          2. That’s crazy talk! Crazy!!

    4. If mustard were less unsophisticated, he would have put this in terms of market failure. That would’ve made for a more interesting, though less amusing, discussion.

    5. Internalities!!

    6. Just think of the internalities!!

    7. Well, yeah. Because the only reason I’ve not offed all the people on my Kill List is because, you know, it’s against the law.

      You do realize how morally depraved your statement is – don’t you?

      1. Funny, the only reason Obama hasn’t offed all the people on his kill list is all the vacationing and campaigning keep getting in the way.

  3. So let me get this straight, Bloomberg is going to ban 32 ounce containers so that people will drink less soda, yet he fully admits that people can just buy two 16 ounce sodas instead?

    I’m trying to see where the logic fits here and……..nope….don’t get it.

    This is yet another case of Nanny Bloomberg being stuck on stupid.

    That’s ok though, he recently endorsed the campaign for Charlie “Oh, am I supposed to tax on that TOO?” Rangel so it’s all good.

    1. I think he wants to create more garbage and litter. Broken window policy?

      Of course, it must suck to be a vendor who now has to sell two 16 oz. for $2.00 each rather than one 32 oz. for $2.50. Bets “free refills” offerings plummet?

      1. I think the opposite for “Free refills” will be true. There will now be a greater incentive for free refills since you cant gorge yourself on a single giant oh-so-sweet soft drink without getting up and walking 15-30 feet. Though, the prices for that 16 ounce cup will certainly go up since the expectation of refills will go up and the demand for refills will go up.

        1. Ah, that could be. In the short term there might even be some places cashing in on the outrage with the Bloomberg Special – “buy one 16 oz, get a refill free”. Markets are like a (next-to-be-banned, I’m sure) box of chocolates.

          1. the Bloomberg Special

            I thought that was where the cashier spits in your face and hands you a pile of shit.

    2. Actually I can think of a place where this might come from.


      Pull up to a McD’s drive through and look at the prices for the drinks. The small (usually 12 oz) starts off at $1 but the “Extra Large” (usually 32 oz) is only $1.79 (ish, depending on your location) so they make more per oz of soda selling it in smaller batches. Now of course they couldn’t just unilaterally shrink their cup sizes, they’d get killed in the marketplace but if a compliant politician had the idea to require everyone to shrink cup sizes at the same time then McD’s could get a nice little profit boost and “just be following the law”

      Of course this wouldn’t benefit sit down restaurants, only places with drive throughs where the consumer doesn’t have the luxury of refils but it would still be a nice boost in profit for most fast food places.

      1. McDonald’s and the like don’t offer refills here in NYC.

        1. What? Free refills are a right.

          1. That reminds me of something that happened many years ago, when I was still bartending. In Texas, bars have to close at 2am. So, we usually do last call fifteen minutes before that, and stop serving at the top of the hour. Everyone has to be out of the bar by 2:15am.

            There was this guy who was a hardcore regular and serious alcoholic. He was also a classic English soccer hooligan. Anyway, one night it’s probably about 2:05 or so, and I’m trying to clean up and get people to finish their drinks and get out, and he’s there cavorting with a bunch of loud friends, and he orders another round of J?germeister shots. I say, sorry, too late, it’s time to get going. He leans over the bar and slurringly bellows at me, “I have a right to drink!”

            There was also the time we almost came to blows because I made fun of the fact that he had thrown up in one of our urinals instead of making it to the proper toilet.

            There was also the time I was actually punched in the face by a regular when I stepped in between him and another guy who was being a real asshole to him.

            There was also the time I saving a drowning man after I walked him across the street to his yacht and he walked off the end of one of its walkways. Good times.

            1. Alcohol is a helluva drug!

            2. OK, so fructose has at least one thing on alcohol: It won’t cross the blood-brain barrier.

              1. False – it just permeates the blood-brain-barrier fairly slowly:…..x/abstract

                1. OK, true, but I wasn’t aware we were discussing obesity in mice.

        2. Still plenty of free refill places here in the Bronx. But the point is well taken…who’s going to drive back for refills at a drive-in?

      2. That’s because the cup is far more expensive than the soda. The price of the soda inside a 12 vs 32oz cup is negligible, and the difference is price between the 12oz and 32oz cup (including shipping) isn’t very much. They have a much higher profit margin by selling only 32oz cups – and you have a better price-per-ounce (assuming it is the drive through and no-free-refills).

    3. It’s the same logic that assumes no terrorist would be able to take four separate 3-oz ZipLoc baggies of liquid onto a plane and combine to make 12 oz in the bathroom.

      BTW: Trust me on this – don’t say this out loud at the security line at BWI, especially if you’ve got “Kip Hawley sucks!” written on each of the baggies. Luckily, this was just barely in the pre-strip search era.

    4. Not only that, but if you put a scoop of ice cream or shot of milk in, you’ll be allowed to have as much soda in as big a cup as you want.

  4. I think I see what you are getting at Jacob.

    They need to ban juice and mocha frappachino’s and buying more than 1 16 oz.
    drink at a time unless they sign an affadavit
    that the 2nd drink is not for them or else have 1 person with you in line for each drink purchased. Then it’s just a simple matter of everyone who will drink a sugary drink showing their ID to prove they are over 18 or their birth certificate to prove that their guardian has approved them for that beverage. Also, need to have a scale so that each person can only buy an allotted amount of soft drink per unit weight. Setting all these standards and having people to weigh and check ID’s also will increase employment. Win-Win!

    1. The key to pushing this nonsense through, of course, is to not ban anything that people love too much. Move incrementally banning something that does not get folks too worked up and then move on to the next item. By the Mayor’s logic one would certainly have to ban motorcycles, skydiving, and rock climbing. The risk is just too great. The state must ban it for your own good.

      1. “In other news, the NY legislature has banned the Adirondacks. Demolition will commence after completion of a comprehensive environmental impact study.”

          1. and 60billion dollars.

            1. oh, with the end result that protecting some turtle or salamander will outweigh the initial intention of protecting rockclimbers from themselves.

  5. Never thought I’d long for the days of Ed Koch.

    1. Yeah, Ed Koch was way better than Judge Milian. But none of ’em can hold a candle to Judge Wapner.

  6. I’ll have a 16 oz. Coke, no ice, and a 16 oz. cup of ice.

  7. If I was God, in the afterlife Michelle Obama and Bloomberg would have to spend the rest of eternity locked in a room with each other on treadmills, consuming nothing but giant Snickers bars and Super Big Gulps.

    1. Well, at least you didn’t go with a human centipede.

      1. Human ouroboros.

      2. FoE, you would make a much better Satan than Mike M.

        1. But SF is the real Satan.

  8. Finally, a legit reason to start wearing these again:…..772303.jpg

    1. Wow. Just wow.

  9. What in the name of god is wrong with the people of NYC that they elect this hopeless idiot to office? The only stupidity that surpasses his is theirs.

    1. You should have seen the alternatives.

      1. Jinx.

    2. What in the name of god is wrong with the people of NYC that they elect this hopeless idiot to office?

      As I’ve mentioned before, have you seen the alternatives?

      Bloomberg is, unfortunately, the lesser of a great many evils. (The Rent is 2 Damn High guy excepted, of course.)

      1. Which only brings up the question: Why does NYC have such a short bench of competent candidates for mayor?

    3. The really scary part is that Bloomberg has been seriously spoken about as a possible POTUS.

      Granted, that is mostly in the NYC-based MSM, but it is still a scary thought.

  10. While I am opposed to the proposal, I don’t think Bloomie is being entirely stupid here. There have been enough (at least anecdotal, but I think actual studies) evidence that portion size is correlated with consumption amount. Sure you can always order a second beverage or a second order of fries, but most people don’t. Most are satisfied after 16 oz of soda (a grotesque amount IMHO) but would slurp down 32 oz if that was what was in the cup/bottle.

    I make it a point to eat only half what’s on my plate when I eat out since the vast majority of the time the portion sizes presented are way too much. Most people either do, or come close to, clearing their plate.

    So, again, totally against the Government setting a mandate. Understand the motivation for the idea.

    1. I tend to agree and as is so often the case when people like to call a politician “stupid” around here, I think the more accurate term is “evil”.

    2. portion size is correlated with consumption amount.

      Correlation is not causation. It seems to me people seek the portion they expect to eat. The question is why they eat more than they need. There is a sophisticated system that worked reliably for millions of years that isn’t doing so well now.

    3. I’ve yet to see a place that offers ONLY 32 oz sodas. If 32 oz were the only option, then the portion size issue might make a tiny bit of sense. But a person that only wants 16 oz can readily get just 16 oz.

      1. But if the 32 oz only costs 50 cents more, then what do you do (I’d ask for water myself, or unsweetened iced tea)?

        For the sake of argument I’m willing to concede that soda makes some people get fat and that portion sizes affect consumption. The problem is with any rule telling people what the cannot buy or sell.

        1. The problem is with any rule telling people what the cannot buy or sell.

          This needs to be posted at the top of every thread.

          1. With one more “y”.

        2. (I’d ask for water myself, or unsweetened iced tea)

          I always knew there was something wrong with you, Zeb.

          1. Yeah. And I don’t like video games either. Though I prefer to think that there is something wrong with everyone else.

          2. Yeah. I like tea better than sugar. And I don’t like video games either. Though I prefer to think that there is something wrong with everyone else.

    4. I make it a point to eat only half what’s on my plate when I eat out since the vast majority of the time the portion sizes presented are way too much.

      And all the starving people of the world applaud you for your decision to waste food. Perhaps you should just ask them to prepare only half of what they usually do, and then eat all of that?

      1. Tulpa, doggy-bag, doggy-bag, Tulpa.

        I can’t believe you two haven’t met before now.

        1. It didn’t sound like he’s doing that, but if he is then that’s good.

          And yes, I don’t use a doggy bag because I’m always hungry enough to eat everything on my plate. Even the parsley.

          1. Even the parsley.


            1. (disclaimer: I eat all the daikon shreds when I get sushi)

              1. I bet you don’t eat all the wasabi, though.

                1. no. but all the ginger (everybody eats all the ginger, don’t they?)

                  1. I generally rub the wasabi under my arms.

                2. I eat all the wasabi (and only the wasabi).

                  Interesting fact I have discovered about wasabi, though. It is pretty much never wasabi unles you grated the root yourself or go to a really fancy place. Anything that comes in a tube or powdered is horseradish with green coloring. Wasabi is very perishable and does not retain its pungency for long after it is prepared and cannot be dried.

      2. How does that help starving people? Do they send the other half to Africa or something?

        1. No, they never buy the other half, which lowers the price of food and encourages exports.

          Chicken teriyaki is fungible.

          1. Good point. I wonder how many people would order the smaller portion size if it were explicitly offered at more restaurants? I would at a lot of places (especially Chinese food, I always feel like no matter how much I eat, the same amount of food is still in front of me). I like it when a restaurant serves me exactly the amount of food I want to eat. I’m really bad at eating leftovers.

            1. My fiance and I have solved this problem by sharing the meal at all restaurants. I eat about 60% and she eats about 40%, give or take. We don’t have to worry about doggy-bags and we don’t go the the movie feeling bloated. Win-win.

      3. This issue was the beginning of an ultimately fatal rift between me and the now ex-girlfriend. There are so many issues of principle involved with eating out.

      4. Well, I usually take the remainder home if that is an option (and it usually is). Ordering a half order is a hassle since they assume you want to pay half and it’s often problematic for the kitchen.

    5. I think you’re right, it’s just more fun to pretend he’s stupid.

      I actually think this is a more creative way of instituting a threshold tax. If he was to institute a soda tax, then all portions would increase in cost. It may be that soda costs will increase for everyone, but not directly from government action, and most people won’t care because they think it won’t affect them. This way he can increase the cost for what he considers to be “overconsumption” vs. just “consumption”. This is assuming that the only purpose of the tax would be the regulatory aspect, not revenue collection.

      When you hear people argue against this, it’s almost always on grounds of restricting freedom. Very few are complaining because they get the super-size themselves. The principle bothers people, but so long as it doesn’t affect their everyday life, the outrage will fade.

  11. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says, “I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do.”

    3rd-person perspective. Nice way to douche it up.

    The mayor, who said he occasionally drank a diet soda “on a hot day,”

    diet soda isn’t at issue here, is it? are people getting obese from virtually-calorie-free beverages?

    God, what I would give for gov’t to stop fucking with the consensual transactions of free individuals.

    1. are people getting obese from virtually-calorie-free beverages?

      Oddly, the answer here might be yes. (Yeah, I know how that sounds.)
      The body has to guard itself against excess sugar in the bloodstream. Thinking about something sweet can cause an insulin response. Tasting something sweet causes an insulin response. Insulin shunts sugar to fat, leaving the bloodstream cleared to receive more. You are now biologically ready to eat. IOW, you get hungry.

      The science is still a bit thin on this, but it’s already stronger than the “fat and cholesterol kill you” science ever got.

      1. Thinking about something sweet can cause an insulin response.

        Not sure if serious.

        1. I’m serious.

          1. Then I’ve lost all confidence in “science”.

            1. I think it is really true. Or at least plausible. Thinking about food does cause physiological changes to happen. Think about what happens if you start thinking about eating something really good. If you are not already full, your mouth waters and your sensations of hunger become more intense. This is more than just your conscious desire to eat. Things in your body are being prepared to process the food you are anticipating.
              There is a lot more to eating than just filling up the gas tank.

              Why does anyone drink diet soda anyway? It tastes terrible. Just drink water.

              1. Why does anyone drink diet soda anyway?

                Because after lunch, the shit in the coffee pot is usually nasty. So when you need your caffeine fix, a diet soda is the way to go.

              2. Pepsi Max and Coke Zero taste fine to me.

              3. Hunger isn’t just one thing anyway. They’ve identified measurable mechanisms for four separate components. There may be more. I haven’t looked at this for a while.

            2. What, you’ve never gotten hungry when someone else was eating a cupcake in front of you? Why’s it so crazy that there might be a hormonal mechanism for that?

              1. I should probably learn to reload my tabs.

            3. Then I’ve lost all confidence in “science”.

              Really? How is this stranger than Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the sound of a bell? In both cases a purely mental clue causes glands to activate to prepare for ingestion.

              1. I’m just a Denier, pure and simple.

          2. Insulin levels, hunger, and food intake: An example of feedback loops in body weight regulation. By Rodin, Judith, Health Psychology, Vol 4(1), 1985, 1-24.
            From the abstract:
            “They show that high acute levels of insulin can be produced by simply seeing and thinking about food”
            “These experiments show that elevations in insulin produce increased hunger, heightened perceived pleasantness of sweet taste, and increased food intake.”
            “A study is described that considers how different insulin levels, produced by the type of food ingested, may affect subsequent food intake.”

            1. “They show that high acute levels of insulin can be produced by simply seeing and thinking about food”
              “These experiments show that elevations in insulin produce increased hunger, heightened perceived pleasantness of sweet taste, and increased food intake.”

              That does seem like a reasonable chain of causation, based on measurable variables, but….eh, the last quote is unrelated to the psychosomatic response I’m questioning, and “Health Psychology” from 1985?

              My confidence is not bolstered.

              1. The last quote is because recently there has been quite a lot of discussion around here about the utility of Low Carb/High Fat dieting. Someone might find it interesting.
                I’m not aware of the genome changing perceptibly in the last 30 years, so 1985 shouldn’t be a problem.
                Psychosomatic implies health and psychology so I fail to see the problem with it appearing in Health Psychology.

                If I find another reference I’ll post it. As I said before, I haven’t looked at this for some time.

                1. I’m not aware of the genome changing perceptibly in the last 30 years, so 1985 shouldn’t be a problem.

                  No, the genome hasn’t changed, but technology and methodology have…though, considering how methods have changed, something less recent is probably a good thing.

                  regarding “Health Psychology”, I just have a baseless suspicion about the bridging of psychology and physiology.

                  1. I just have a baseless suspicion about the bridging of psychology and physiology.

                    Baseless? Considering Psychology’s tendencies toward inescapable conclusions (e.g. you hate your father, or if you don’t, it’s because you have a back-formation against the fact you hate your father) I can’t blame you.

                    But it kinda kills the word “psychosomatic,” huh? 🙂

    2. I interpretted his “[I] occasionally drank a diet soda on a hot day,” statement to basically mean “Unlike you proles I don’t drink lots of sugary soda and only occasionally drink a diet soda, and then only on a hot day. That makes me better than you. Now bow down to your better, slaves.”

      That combined with his refering to himself in the 3rd person person basically cranks the douche factor to 11 and rips the nob off. God what an asshole.

  12. Stupid idea for one reason: marginal utility of the “extra” ounces in a drink.

    Since the marginal utility of goods decreases as their numbers increase, a larger beverage has to have a lower average per-ounce cost to remain an enticing option to a consumer. Limited beverage sizes means that the prices of an individual container would have to be lower to maintain the same sales rate as would be possible with varied sizes; however, this would boost sales of the beverages since the price-per-ounce of the beverage would decline as a whole if the companies making and selling them wish to maintain similar sales (though not profit margins, as these would likely decrease since the ratio of container-to-beverage cost would go up for manufacturers [unless a standard size provides economies of scale in production]).

    1. To clarify my claim that it would likely boost sales of sodas: with a lower average price-per-ounce used to maintain sales volume, previously-marginal consumers (of the it-costs-too-much variety) would be incentivized to purchase more sugary beverages than theyotherwise would.

      Result: more consumption, leading to more bans; the “cheap” product (necessary to maintain sales) will be blamed for proliferation of use; and, perhaps, linked health consequences. QED, this legislation is likely to receive support from people who want more future regulation.

  13. the estimate that sweetened drinks account for “up to half” of the increase in obesity rates since the early 1980s. That statement, after all, is consistent with the possibility that sweetened drinks account for none of the increase.

    Thank you. One of my semantical pet peeves with the nannies is their use of content-zero statements like “up to X”, which is equivalent to saying “no more than X”, but carries a more nanny-friendly connotation.

    See, also, “may” = “may not”.

    1. That didn’t start with the nannies, it’s a long-standing advertising tactic. “Up to 20% off a new car!” and then you get there and there’s one car at 20% off and the rest are like 1% off.

      1. Even better are ads that state something like “up to 50% off, or more”. Which basically means “we are selling stuff at some price, there might be a discount”.

      2. As my father used to say, the prices have gone from the outrageous to the merely ridiculous.

  14. Someone needs to alert the environmentalist that Bloomberg is encouraging the use of more plastic packaging. That ought to start a nice war between the public health liberals and the environmental liberals.

    1. No, this is perfect for enviros. With increased production of plastics, they’ll be able to complain about the fossil fuels used to produce them and leverage their dissatisfaction into more stringent regulation down the line than would be possible without this intervention (since profit margins at bottle manufacturers would likely increase with standardized sizes, which gains support of redistributionist liberals). Win-win, if you’re cynical enough.

  15. In New York City, where more than half of adults are obese or overweight…


    I live here. I have to fight through the subway every day. At best, 15-25% of people are ‘fat’. in given demographics, its definitely higher. But 1/2 of *everyone*? do not believe it.

    1. These stats are based on ridiculous BMI studies that 1) don’t take account of muscle weight and 2) are set at absurdly low and arbitrary BMI levels so that people that suffer no adverse health effect due to weight are nevertheless labeled overweight.

      1. Tom Cruise and Mark McGuire are obese according to BMI. Michael Jordan had a 29 BMI in his prime.

        1. Steroids and scientology skew the stats.

      2. Exactly. My LaserQuest ID in high school was Skeletor because my friends thought I was so thin (6-4, 180). Looking at the BMI chart all these years later, I was right in the middle of the “healthy” range, while a few years later when I started working out and put a little bit of muscle (not a bodybuilder by any stretch) I crossed into the “overweight” range.

        1. BMI is pretty much useless unless also paired with body fat composition. Most pro athletes would probably be considered overweight or obese based on BMI alone. It only takes into account height and weight, which makes it a bullshit statistic.

          1. Except I used to have a 55.5 BMI, in which case I was either horrendously obese or about to become Octomom.

            1. I would still postulate that if your body fat composition was in the healthy range (10-15% IIRC) even an extremely high BMI wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Hell, even 20% probably wouldn’t be that bad. Likewise a person with a BMI of 25 and body fat composition of more than 20% probably wouldn’t be all that healthy either.

              Whether or not it’s realistic for a person to pack on enough muscle to have an extremely high BMI and still have a healthy body fat composition (or vice versa, have a healthy BMI with high body fat) is another matter.

              1. Oh, I was no Manuel Uribe, but I was definitely far out of control.
                Yes, you’re right that the weight itself is not the main problem. It’s what’s driving the weight gain that will get you. Otherwise tall people would automatically be sick just from being heavier.

        2. Agreed, BMI is a bullshit measurement. I’m a large-boned woman, slightly more muscular than average; for my weight to be within a “healthy” range, going by BMI, I have to be so skinny as to look sickly. At 5’7″I wasn’t meant to wear a size 4, trust me on that. Even at a size 10 I look slimmer than my husband likes; in order to have a noticeable ass, my weight has to fall into the “obese” category, although any rational observer would look at me and see a normal-to-just-bordering-on-mildly-overweight middle-aged woman with a shapely, not at all sloppy, figure.

          Also? Michael Bloomberg can bite me.

          1. Michael Bloomberg can bite me.

            Depends. How many calories, and how much sugar and salt, is in a serving of xenia onatopp?

            1. It’s not the sugar and salt. It’s the off-the-charts trans fat in a seriving of xenia that would really rock the Nannster.

          2. How on earth did a thread about soda sizes turn into a Penthouse Diaries vignette?

            1. You must be new around here.

    2. dude, fatties wouldn’t be on the subway, that would be, like, exercise.

    3. What about the bankers who helicopter in from the Hamptons like Bloomberg?

    4. In New York City, where more than half of adults are obese or overweight…

      Just wait until next week, when the subject is “walkability” and the car-haters talk about how thin NYCers are because they walk everywhere.

  16. More trash. Less consumer choice.

    Heck, Mr. Mayor, why not ban sugar? While you are at it, why not ban meals over 500 calories? People could always order two or three meals, right?

    1. “I worry what you just heard was: give me a lot of bacon and eggs. What I said was: give me all the bacon and eggs you have”

      1. Ron Swanson??

        1. Actually, John Candy’s last words.

  17. Bloomberg was some kind of big-business guy? Started some kind of company which provided data thingies?

    Yeah, don’t ever confuse these pin-striped fuckwits with capitalists. Ever.

  18. “I want a liter of cola!”

    Just sic Farva on the asshole. Problem solved.

    1. “‘Literacola’? Do we sell ‘Literacola’?”

  19. I don’t understand why anyone would want a 32 oz cup of soda, but that’s not my problem. God damn it, Bloomberg is an asshole.

  20. Just wait til the cops give you a ticket during a “Stop and Frisk” search and they find that you had a…*gasp*… 20oz bottle of cola in your jacket pocket!

    1. Stores can still sell whatever size they want to.

      1. Until they close that loophole at least.

      2. The new regulation will require soda to be diluted with ground-up rocks.

  21. Shorter Bloomberg: “Fuck you, that’s why.”

  22. I can’t imagine ever having a conversation with Bloomberg that wouldn’t prominently feature the phrase “delusional idiot.”

    1. I can’t imagine ever having a conversation with Bloomberg that wouldn’t prominently feature the phrase “call the police, he’s assaulting the mayor!”

  23. At times like this, I’m relieved that my mayor is Rahm Emanuel.

    And that’s a horrible thing to make someone feel.

    1. Damn. Think on that for a moment…

  24. Doesn’t he have anything better to do?

  25. I still find it funny to think back to the days when the government first started hassling smokers. Some of us predicted that it would lead to shit like this, and we were ridiculed for it.

    Folks just gotta understand: yes, it’s true that the “slippery slope” argument is a logical fallacy. But we’re not discussing logic. We’re discussing politics. Shit, politicians often argue that we ought to slide down the slippery slope. “This policy worked great on solving problem X! (usually a damn lie) So obviously we should expand the policy to solve problem Y as well!” (even if problem Y doesn’t really exist or is totally different from problem X)

  26. I propose a bill to put legislators on a diet. For every word of new legislation they enact, they have to repeal one word of existing law in the process.

    Maybe this will begin to solve the government-obesity crisis.

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