Anchorage Residents Say No to New York City Soda Ban
Alaskans weigh freedom and health in soda debate
ANCHORAGE – After the mayor of New York City proposed a ban on supersized sodas, many Anchorage residents said they wouldn’t support a similar ban in their own town.
The proposed law would limit the size of sodas available for purchase, and drinks larger than 16 ounces would no longer be sold in New York City. Even though many people know the health risks, they said they can’t seem to put down the sugary, carbonated drinks. Some said they drink it every day.
“It’s good, but Coca-Cola makes your teeth get rotten,” said 12-year-old Iliana Batista. Fatima Morales, also 12, said she “didn’t really care.”
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg blames the sugar in soda as the leading cause of obesity. While not everyone drinks a soda every day, Lauri Ek-Watson, a registered dietitian with Providence Alaska Medical Center, said a supersized drink could often equal three or four normal servings.
“In one year, if you drink one Coke a day, you gain 15 pounds,” Ek-Watson said. “That would be 45 pounds per year for the average person.”
Not all New Yorkers are applauding the mayor's move, and in Anchorage the thought elicits a variety of reactions. “I don’t get people to stop drinking them, because it's hard, people like it,” Morales said.
“I avoid sodas,” said Anchorage resident Elizabeth Routhier. “Those are treats, it’s not an everyday thing at all, it’s artificial, it’s not natural, it’s not hydrating, I mean, what’s the point.”
Experts said making the choice could mean the difference between life and death.
“It greatly effects how long they live and how good they feel,” Ek-Watson said. “That's the big thing: If you don't feel good because you’re overweight, then you don't think as well and you don't have as good a lifestyle.”
But she said encouraging people to put soda down can be a tough job. The sugar intake in America has increased in the past 25 years, but she said it’s not all sodas: Everything from coffee and juices to energy drinks and smoothies are a big part of the problem. She recommends cutting down the quantities to one or two a week and switching to water, which she said is the best liquid to drink.