Research Finds Ban on Soda Could Have Negative Effects

971009_65283515We all know that soda causes an abundance of health issues like heart disease, bad breath, cavities and a raised risk of cancer, but many Americans continue to consume these beverages on a regular basis. When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on the sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces at New York City restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters and other establishments, he quickly made headlines. The ban, which was originally set to go in effect in March 2013, was shut down by New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling one day prior to its implementation. Research published in the journal PLOS ONE found that limiting the intake of sugary beverages may have unintended consequences.

The soda study
Conducted at the University of California, San Diego, a research team found that people who were offered both a large sized beverage and two smaller beverages in a bundle were more likely to choose the bundles. These results show that a ban on large beverages would likely not decrease the amount of soda bought in stores and restaurants.

Participants of the study had several different menu choices, including an unregulated menu with a 16, 24 and 32-ounce soda, and then the bundle menu presented a 16-ounce, two 12, and two 16-ounce sodas. The no bundle menu presented only a 16-ounce soda. It was found that people bought significantly more ounces of soda from the bundle menu than the unregulated menu.

If businesses are able to sell large amounts of sugary beverages in smaller containers, it’s likely that consumers will continue to purchase the big sizes. However, since participants were aware that they were taking part in the study, some researchers believe the results could be skewed.

“Most people getting ready to buy soda will go for the regular size,” David Just, a professor of behavioral economics at Cornell University, told the Los Angeles Times. Just further explained that other individuals are “going to display what we call reactance – a rebelliousness, a determination to circumvent this policy, an attitude of ‘I’ll show them.’ And the people selling the soda are all too willing to comply.”

Cut soda out of your diet
While the proposed policy had good intentions to help people cut back on soda intake which often causes bad breath and other health ailments, policymakers may not have thought the law through. Even though the bill did not pass, it may be a good idea to consider limiting your intake of these and other sugary beverages. The anaerobic bacteria in your mouth “eat” the sugar of soda, and increase the amount of dental plaque that can build up on the teeth. 

You may have an addiction of sorts to the carbonated nature of soda, so replacing it with another slightly fizzy drink may help. Although you do not want to switch over to cherry-flavored soda water because it will be just as effective in feeding anaerobic bacteria  drinking 100 percent juice with a splash of seltzer or sparkling water may curb the craving for pop. Drinking a large amount of water and limiting your daily allotment of caffeine can also help. Cutting caffeine completely out of your routine may have negative effects on your mood and cause sluggishness, so you may want to consider adding a caffeinated beverage into your diet. One of the healthiest beverages with caffeine is green tea, which will not only make you feel better, but it will give you that little jolt of energy you’re looking for.

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