Boston s nonsensical sugary drink restrictions

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In a desperate attempt to solve Boston s obesity problem, Mayor Thomas Menino has officially banned the sale of sodas and other sugary drinks deemed unhealthy from city-owned property. The policy would ban non-diet sodas, sweetened iced teas, refrigerated coffee drinks, energy drinks, juice drinks with added sugar and sports drinks. It would, however, permit the sale of: diet sodas, diet iced teas, 100 percent juices, low-sugar sweetened beverages, bottled water, seltzer water drinks and low-calorie sports drinks. One might think that there is a semblance of logic behind the drink choices, but Menino decided to allow the continued sale of sweetened soy milk and cow s milk beverages although both fruit juice and sweetened soy milk have as many calories as sugary sodas. So much for the logic.

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom took issue with the inclusion of non-diet sports drinks on the no-sell list. This is utterly meaningless in the fight against obesity. It is one more example of a nuisance law, which will inconvenience many while accomplishing nothing. So you re sweating and thirsty after running in the park, and you can t buy a Gatorade? What are the vendors going to sell? Bean sprouts and distilled water?

ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan suspects that Mayor Menino is implementing this scientifically-baseless policy to make him feel like he s doing something good for the city s residents. Just like all of the other laws attempting to restrict sugary drinks in the name of health, this one will, of course, have zero effect on obesity. In this case, the law only applies to city-owned property, so it s clearly nothing more than a political ploy. Consumers will simply go elsewhere for their sweet treats.