A new study may take the fizz out of New York City's bid to improve health by banning super-sized sugary drinks: It suggests restaurants could bypass the rules, and make more money to boot, by offering pairs of drinks that add up to forbidden sizes.
For now, the Big Apple's ban on drink sizes bigger than 16 ounces is moot—a judge's ruling put it on hold last month. But if it's upheld, the study findings point to a major loophole, said lead author Brent Wilson, a psychology graduate student at the University of California, San Diego. "The risk is that regulations intended to reduce consumption could unintentionally increase consumption," he said.
However, the research has limitations. The study didn't involve actual drinks or an actual restaurant, and it didn't tackle the logistical issue of whether customers are willing to carry two smaller cups or bottles to get the punch of one big drink. Also, it didn't consider whether restaurants would think of the "drink-bundling" idea, although they may do so now that the study has brought it up.
(Hat tip to Felix Finch)