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Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited a Flushing recreation center Tuesday to give the latest push to his proposed ban on large sugary drinks.
Standing alongside the mayor at the Al Oerter Recreation Center, at 131-40 Fowler Ave., a Laurelton woman who lost 91 pounds by sticking to a diet and drastically reducing the amount of sugary beverages she would consume in a day. The woman described a diet consisting of coffee with 25 sugar packets and sugary drinks consumed with meals, snacks and in-between.
“I realized those were not the best choices for me and my family, so I decided to make a change,” said Rachelle Conley, a mother of three and a member of the national weight-loss program Weight Watchers.
Conley specifically said cutting the sugary beverages out of her diet helped her shed the pounds.
Critics have painted the mayor’s proposal, which is set to be voted on by the city Board of Health Sept. 13, as an infringement on consumers’ rights and another example of the expanding regulation of a “nanny state.”
But Bloomberg shot back that the ban would not deny anyone’s right to drink as much soda or sugary beverages as he or she wanted. It would only cause them to realize how much they are drinking through portion control, which he contended beverage manufactures are in charge of at the moment.
“They decide what is appropriate for you based on what’s good for them,” Bloomberg said. “We’re trying to decide what’s appropriate for you based on what’s good for you.”
The mayor cited studies that show humans often eat whatever portion of food is put in front of them. If the portions are larger or smaller, consumers clear their plates regardless, the mayor said.
Bloomberg was joined by Thomas Farley, the city health commissioner, who said the serving size of sodas has increased drastically since the 1960s and that “supersize portions have become the norm.”
And those sizes have brought obesity and diabetes with them, the mayor contended, which not only leads to death but also costs taxpayers money as hospitals bear the burden of increased disease.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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