Blame the Fatties

[Content Note: Food policing; fat hatred.]

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at it again: New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks.
New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.

"Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, 'Oh, this is terrible,'" Mr. Bloomberg said in an interview on Wednesday in the Governor's Room at City Hall.

"New York City is not about wringing your hands; it's about doing something," he said.
Even if that something is total garbage.

Then again, if your actual objective isn't public health but shaming and demonizing fat people, the plan is already a HUGE SUCCESS!

I could not be any more in favor of initiatives detached from fat-shaming that focus on providing easy and reliable access to a wide array of affordable, fresh, organic foods, in both raw form and pre-prepared but unpreserved meals. I want everyone to have the opportunity to eat as healthfully as they want to, irrespective of their economic status, region, ability, capacity.

But this is not that.

Banning "large sodas and other sugary drinks" in public spaces under the auspices of "combating obesity" is not about healthfulness. It's about arbitrarily inconveniencing people already disposed to fat hatred and then blaming fat people for it, in some futile gesture erroneously positioned as meaningful policy.

If Mayor Bloomberg wanted to do something purposeful, that was not simply about public fat-shaming, he could, say, lead a national movement petitioning the USDA to ban high-fructose corn syrup in all foods.

Given that researchers have found that HFCS prompts considerably more weight gain, and that the average USian's consumption of HFCS over the same time period associated with the OH NOES Obesity Epidemic has increased by "an alarming 12,250%," you'd think that the mayor might want to start there.

Of course, that would be a pretty steep uphill battle, since corn is subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars in the US every year. What a coinkydink!

It's easier just to ban 32-ounce Pepsis (but not 32-ounce milkshakes, obvs), and pat yourself on the back for "doing something" about the terrible scourge of fat people.

[Previously: The Problem Isn't That You're Unhealthy—It's That You're Ugly!; Evil Fatties; Salad vs. Big Mac; I'll Be Skinny in No Time!; Poor People Are Stupid. And Fat.]

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