NYC Mayor Wants To Ban Sugary Drinks For Food Stamp Users

Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to make it impossible for the 1.7 million New Yorkers who rely on food stamps to use their aid for sugary drinks.

“Sugar-sweetened drinks are not worth the cost to our health, and government shouldn’t be promoting or subsidizing them,” Bloomberg told reporters at Brooklyn’s Kings County Hospital’s Diabetes Resource Center Thursday, where he was joined by the governor and health officials.

In New York City, 60 percent of adults and 40 percent of children are overweight or obese, and Bloomberg believes that sugary drinks are “the single biggest” factor contributing to this trend.

Food stamp users spend between $75 million and $135 million on the drinks each year and many have expressed outraged at what they see as an attempt to control what they drink.

A Fuss Over Fizz

In a 2007 study titled “Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and
,” found clear associations of soft drink intake with increased energy intake and body weight.

Soft drink intake has also been associated with lower intakes of milk, calcium, and other nutrients and with an increased risk of several medical problems including pancreatic cancer, osteoporosis, and potassium deficiency.
Although many food stamp users agree that limiting sugary drinks is a good health decision, they reject Bloomberg’s notion that they should have to pay for these items out of their own pocket.

Some opponents of the ban claim these beverages are an important part of their diet, and should be treated just like other types of “food.” Even those that don’t regularly consume sugary drinks are afraid that the proposal indicates a dangerous trend in which the government dictates what people can and can’t eat.

Could they be right?

Bloomberg isn’t the only U.S. politician that has felt compelled to limit sugary drink consumption in the name of better constituent health.

Earlier this year, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that bans vending machines on city property from dispensing Coke, Pepsi and other calorically sweetened beverages. Sports drinks and artificially sweetened water also are included in the ban.

Supporters of the drink bans maintain that food stamps shouldn’t subsidize, in the name of nutrition, a product that causes obesity and a lifetime of health problems (DNA Info).

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Image Credit: Flickr - love♡janine


William C
William C3 months ago

Thanks for the article.

W. C
W. C3 months ago

Thank you for the information.

Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Jo S.
Jo S2 years ago

Thank you Beth.

Joe R.
Joe R5 years ago

So wrong! Since when is it OK to patronize the poor?

Doria W.
Doria W6 years ago

Banning soda or surgary drinks are stupid. Might was well ban buying sugar so they can't put surgar in anything, and lets ban cereal too it has surgar, how about anything that has surgar in it or anything you have to put surgar in like Kool Aid, coffee, tea. No butter either as it has fats. No candy either that poor hypoglycemic person who needs the surgar will just have to deal with it. No bread either it has surgar too. The governments already has their nose in enough of what we eat and drink. If we went totally healthy we could only drink water and eat vegetables. Let's get real here people. What ever happened to being free to make OUR own choices. Yes there are certain things that shouldn't be purchased like the liquor, smokes, household goods etc. But surgary drinks? Enough is enough.

Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence6 years ago

What a bunch of bull! Bloomberg sure doesn't - have seen him sipping Pepsi many a times - gee, with his doughif he bought pepsi he sure would allow it!

jeremy Lovin
jeremy Lovin6 years ago

Frankly, i don't want to live in a world were public opinion dictates what i can and can't buy at the store with food stamps. I drink diet soda it is one of those little things that make my life easier to endure. Everyone i know has at one time or another tried to explain their theory of eating right but basically it just their opinion. This is the one issue i can not agree with every one else on, i hate bossy people. I don't want other people dictating how i can live my live or what i can put in my refrigerator. I don't tell other people what to eat or how they should tie their shoe laces and expect not to be treated that way either. you all sound just like the GOP republicans remember they want to tell us how to run our lives too but i doubt any of you would want to live in the country they would fashion.
give me liberty or I'll raise some hell

cecily w.
cecily w6 years ago

The food stamp program (now called SNAP) should be similar to WIC (at least WIC in "my" state). I've never received food stamps or WIC but I spend very little on food. WIC specifies what CAN be purchased, whereas foods stamps specifies what CAN'T be purchased. WIC, like a restricted budget and food plan, forces you to study nutrition a little bit. I'm old and thin, but healthy, and I try to cut costs off at about $1 per day (I'm vegan). Younger, larger people--and especially children--might need to double that. But when you're concerned about every gram of protein, you learn to leave the sugary stuff at the store.

Randall S.
Randy Stein6 years ago

It will never happen, banning food stamps being used on sugery drinks, but it would be a great START!!! It is amazing some of the things I see in people's carts ahead of me in the grocery store that they are paying for with food stamps. Many who have little kids with them. Bags of candy, big bags of potato chips, sugary cereals, big bottle of soda, and very little from the produce section.