Sugar Controversies

November 30, 2012 • Volume 22, Issue 42
Should government restrict sugar consumption?
By Marcia Clemmitt


Oversize drinks will be illegal in restaurants (Getty Images/Mario Tama)
Oversize drinks will be illegal in restaurants, movie theaters and other public venues in New York City beginning next March. Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed the ban to reduce obesity-related health problems, which cost the city $4 billion a year. Critics say it won't cut obesity but will erode personal freedom. (Getty Images/Mario Tama)

When New York City announced in September it will ban sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces in restaurants, sports arenas and other public venues, critics complained that the city has no right to meddle with individual food choices. Many public-health advocates, however, praised the move as an important step toward slowing the nation's decades-long rise in obesity rates. Sugar-sweetened drinks add an average 300 calories a day to teens' diets without providing any nutrition, they say. Some scientists even hypothesize that fructose, the main sweetener used in sodas, may trigger diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, which is also on the rise. Other nutrition experts, however, say sugar can't be the only or even the primary culprit in the nation's skyrocketing obesity rates, since they have doubled since 1980 while sugar in sodas and other packaged foods has increased by a much smaller percentage over that period.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Sugar Industry
Nov. 30, 2012  Sugar Controversies
Oct. 18, 1985  Sugar
Aug. 07, 1963  Sugar Prices and Supplies
Oct. 02, 1946  Sugar Supply
Feb. 24, 1942  Sugar Shortage
Nov. 24, 1939  Protection of the Sugar Industry
Mar. 12, 1934  Stabilization of the Sugar Industry
Sep. 06, 1932  The Future of the Sugar Tariff
Apr. 17, 1929  The Tariff on Sugar
Aug. 04, 1924  Sugar and the Tariff