THE BLOG

The Thirstiest Country Ever?

08/14/2012 12:51 pm ET | Updated Oct 14, 2012

"It's forbbiden to forbid" was one of the slogans heard in Paris in May 1968, when protests against traditional society and capitalism arose. I've always felt sympathy for this type of freedom, and I'm positive it's still relevant, to some extent, almost half a century later. But when it comes to large sodas, I'm more sympathetic with the idea of health. Freedom vs. Health, this is how I sum up the issue. Choose one.

This ban should have never had to happen, but because huge soda cans and cups should have never existed. They're not available anywhere else in the world. Sure, fast-food restaurants in Europe offer a Large version of everything, but compare it to the American Large from the same restaurant chain. The European Large is an American Medium. The American Large sizes have no correspondence in the Old Continent. Maybe they're not as hungry or thirsty over there? I bet they're healthier.

How much extra money do restaurants make serving ridiculous soda sizes in America? And do we really need to chug a "tall boy" in a row? Are we crossing a desert to get dessert in that lovely bakery? Can the human stomach hold that much liquid? Think twice if you're really that thirsty. If you are, drink a large bottle... of water.

I need to say I don't like the idea of the Mayor of the City of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, saying "drink this, not that." And I agree with those claiming that a mayor should spend his time worrying about issues other than soda sizes. But, drinking stupid amounts of soda puts our health in jeopardy, and since the beverage companies won't say so, someone has to. Bloomberg, for instance.

When I was a teenager I said: "I'm bone dry, I'm getting another soda." My mom used to answer: "One is enough. Drink water if you're so thirsty." So I rather keep playing and away from Spain's 11-ounce cans, perhaps the size regular American cans should be.

Anyway, soda lovers don't panic, please. Don't see Bloomberg's decision as a prohibition, but as a restriction. We can still drink the same huge amount of soda if we want to buy two smaller cans. And at maybe we'll be more aware that drinking 24 ounces or more of any sugared beverage is not what our bodies need.

Furthermore, even if the Bloomberg measure eventually goes live, diet soft drinks could still be served in any size, and so could lattes and cappuccinos that are at least 51 percent milk. We can still indulge ourselves with 24 ounces of flat diet soda from a fountain, but don't be surprised when doctors say we're doing our best to become obese.