Just how bad are sugary drinks, anyway? Bloomberg’s soda embargo

The announcement by New York Mayor Bloomberg that he plans on introducing a limit on the size of soda one can consume at just about any food station in the city has been met with all kinds of reactions, positive and negative.

But to the extent that this debate is about health, science can be a guide. So, just how much sugar is in those “sugary” drinks? And compared to what?

Well, when you talk about sugar, one frame is to think of it in terms of carbohydrates. That’s because there is a recommended allowance of carbohydrates – which include sugars and starches like bread, pasta and other stuff. How many carbs should you eat?

The true answer varies from person to person. But on average, doctors recommend between 70 and 90 grams of carbs per meal, or around 270 grams a day.

As for the soda? Well, according to, a fluid ounce of Classic Coke has 3.3 grams of carbs in it. Multiply that times the 44 ounces commonly found in a standard large cup of soda a the theater and you get a whopping 145.2 grams of carbs. Nearly half your total daily carbohydrate intake in a single drink. Double the low end of acceptable carbs for an entire meal.

Of course, we’re not counting the box of candy and the popcorn you bought at the movies along with that gargantuan drink. Or your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just one big-ass cup of soda.

Put it another way: if you had the 16-ounce cup, you could have had only 52 grams of carbs. So, maybe a smaller drink isn’t such a bad idea, after all?

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.

2 replies on “Just how bad are sugary drinks, anyway? Bloomberg’s soda embargo”

Everybody knows that soda (particularly in large servings) is bad for you – just like fast food, candy, junk food, etc. Even if you've been living under a rock, nutritional information is clearly printed on every food package and on many restaurant menus. Regardless, is it really Bloomberg's job to decide how much is too much? Doesn't he have anything better to do?

I agree that this is a bit of a waste of taxpayer money. But I don't think that everybody really knows that soda is bad for you. Its axiomatic to say its "bad for you," but I think most people are unaware of just how and why its bad. That was the aim of this article: to let people know a little bit of why.

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