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Man drinks fake fat in NYC anti-soda video

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SARA KUGLER | December 15, 2009 08:46 AM EST | AP


NEW YORK — A man drinks a glass of goop made to look like fat in a new video released by the New York City health department as part of a campaign to curb the consumption of sugary beverages.

In the nauseating video, which was posted on YouTube and the health deparment web site Monday, a man opens a soda can, but as he pours the drink into a glass, it turns out to be a mess of yellow muck, realistically made to resemble fat.

When he tries to drink it, he ends up with greasy globs on his face.

The message is that drinking just one can of soda a day can add up to 10 pounds of weight in a year.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said in a statement that sugary drinks are a main contributor to the city's obesity epidemic.

"If this campaign shifts habits even slightly, it could have real health benefits," Farley said.

The American Beverage Association said the campaign was irresponsible.

"If the goal is to reduce obesity among New Yorkers, then this public education campaign should be based in fact, not simply sensationalized video that inaccurately portrays our industry's products, products that are fat-free," the group said in a statement.

A 2007 health department survey found that more than 2 million New Yorkers drink at least one sugar-sweetened beverage each day, which can have as many as 16 teaspoons of sugar in one 20-ounce bottle.

The health department urges people to drink water or other drinks with no calories, or low calories, instead of sugary drinks.

Soda should be an occasional treat, as should some of the high-calorie coffee drinks sold in national coffee chains, the department said.

The YouTube video follows a similarly-themed subway advertisement created by the city last summer. The ad shows a soft drink turning to fat as it oozes from an overturned bottle.

The health department said the substance in the video was not fat and was actually a recipe of edible products mixed to look like the real thing.

The beverage ads are the latest effort by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration to shock people into making better health choices.

The city health department has been known for graphic anti-smoking ads in recent years, including some that featured a smoker who had to breathe through a hole in his throat and another that showed a closeup of a smoker's gangrenous toes.