Years back, because of wonderful things like rent control, people with not a lot of money rubbed elbows with wealthier New Yorkers. But in Giuliani/Bloomberg NYC, poorer New Yorkers have continually been pushed to the margins of the city, both geographically and figuratively. And when I listen to the rhetoric around obesity here in New York and all over the country, being fat is always conflated with being poor and/or being uneducated. And there’s this concept in the background that people in these categories don’t know what’s good for them and need the government to come in and make rules about how they live their lives. Personally, I think this is a dangerous precedent for a local government to set. Also, there’s a slope here that feels inherently slippery. What might be banned next? So much of our food has high fructose corn syrup in it. I’m not particularly happy about that, as there’s a lot of evidence that it impacts blood sugar more deleteriously than plain ol’ table sugar, but Mayor Bloomberg would have to ban most of the food in our grocery stores for it to be avoided. I also wonder if this ban will lead people to drink more water, which, as I understand it, is the goal of the program (other than this amorphous idea that it will stem the tide of obesity). But why would it lead people to drink more water? If people still want a big soda, they’ll just drink diet soda, right? According to the completely baseless calories in/calories out model touted by diet companies, diet soda is not a bad choice. But some evidence suggests that our bodies have the same insulin response to fake sugars as to real sugars, except that fake sugars make us more hungry. In other words, fake sugars are less satisfying and may lead us to eat more than we would otherwise eat, thereby cancelling out any calorie-lowering effect of the fake-sugar-laden diet soda.