NYC Health Department Ad Features Diabetic Amputee To Warn Against The Dangers Of Soda

Shock is the name of the game in the most recent ads from New York City’s health department, as they aim to scare people away from drinking soda and eating fast food with some jarring images. One such ad shows the increasing size of sodas set in front of a backdrop of diabetic man with most of his leg amputated.

The New York Times reports on the latest set of posters, in both English and Spanish, which show how portion sizes of soda and French fries are increasing. The ads are displayed in subway stations, and feature images of various unhealthy people, including the amputee.

The goal is to warn that as those serving sizes increase, so have rates of obesity and diabetes.

“Portions have grown. So has Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations,” reads one headline over a series of ever-more voluminous soft-drink cups. In the background sits a man in a wheelchair with a stump where his right shin should be.

The ads are trying to do what the city couldn’t when it failed to ban citizens from buying soda and other sugar drinks with food stamps. Experts say the average cup of soda was around seven ounces in 1955, compared to the all too common sight of a super-sized 32-ounce beverage now.

Unsurprisingly, the American Beverage Association isn’t too happy with the health departments efforts.

“Portion control is indeed an important piece of the solution to obesity,” said Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for the association. “But instead of utilizing scare tactics, the beverage industry is offering real solutions like smaller portioned containers and calorie labels that show the number of calories in the full container, right up front, to help people choose products and sizes that are right for them and their families.”

The tactic of shocking people into being healthy isn’t a new one — just a few weeks ago, the “Stop Sugarcoating It, Georgia” anti-obesity campaign made headlines with its ads featuring overweight kids. A sample tagline from that effort: “WARNING. It’s Hard to Be a Little Girl When You’re Not.”

In New Ads, Health Department Offers Super-Sized Warnings [New York Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. MutantMonkey says:

    Wow! O_o

  2. clippy2.0 says:

    Hey, at least they’re not spending tax dollars on hookers and blow like normal!

  3. dolemite says:

    Look, I have like no vices in life. I don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t gamble. LET ME FREAKING HAVE SODA.

    • Actionable Mango says:

      You CAN have a soda. They’re just reminding you that it’ll cost you an arm and a leg!

      • sprybuzzard says:

        Okay, I admit I laughed.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        No. They will let you have the CAN. They are just trying to discourage you from drinking it by the GALLON.

        So the industry admits that “portion control” is an issue. So they should have no problem with this billboard which is ultimately simply pushing the idea of “portion control”.

        Use old school portions like that variety of Dr Pepper you won’t be able to get anymore.

    • smo0 says:

      I think the issue is size and portion…however… you’d be doing less damage to yourself if you had some of those other vices… just saying lol

  4. Cat says:

    Next thing you know, these pictures will be required by law on all soda containers.

  5. Lyn Torden says:

    They are going to be sued big time by the big soda industry. Then they will be sued by the high fructose corn syrup industry.

  6. Marlin says:



  7. Jules Noctambule says:

    Sure, soda portions have changed since I was a kid back in the 1970s. Soda manufacturers also dropped cane sugar in favour of HFCS. Still, I only remember one fat kid in my school, and these days when I pick up my nieces it seems like every fourth kid is waddling around like a walrus on stilts. I find it extremely hard to believe that ‘sugary’ (should be ‘corn syrupy’) drinks are solely to blame for this shift, but I imagine that an ad campaign focusing on the politics of poverty and limited access to affordable fresh/whole foods but a ready selection of cheap, easily accessible processed foods wouldn’t be as popular.

    • dolemite says:

      I think just as much to blame is the work ethic in the US. 50 years ago, 1 person in the family worked one 40 hour a week job and it provided for the family. Now, 2 people work, sometimes 2 jobs apiece. So instead of home-cooked meals and fruits/veggies, we get McDonalds, Pizza Hut, etc. Who has time to eat well when you are working 50-70 hours a week?

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        We perfected the art of gender roles over millions of years – I suppose there’s bound to be bumps within the first 60 years of erroding them.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      They’re targeting people who drink 2L or more of soda a day. If they succeeded in stopping those people from drinking any, that would eliminate a lot of calories out of their diet, which would curb their own obesity.

      True, the goal here is a healthy diet all around, but solving this one issue would be a big dent.

      In addition, it can be overwhelming to try to change your entire lifestyle to lose weight. It’s easier to focus on one thing to improve upon – so these ads help give a focal point, and also a symbol of their plight.

      • rmorin says:

        Yeah, I agree. Soda (non-diet) is a really significant portion of calories and people often fail to realize it. It also does not “fill” people up nearly as well as the same portion of edible calories.

        It’s not poison, but its a pretty terrible dietary choice if you are drinking it regularly.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        It is overwhelming. If you look at the research on the subject, people who lose weight and keep it off for long periods usually do it by making very gradual changes. This is what I started doing in March of last year and have slowly shed 20 pounds. My husband has lost 45. It seems fairly effortless (except the exercise part.) You really don’t notice since you just cut back or change a bit at a time. The changes have been long lasting for us. Instead of dieting temporarily, we have kept the changes and continue to make more as time goes on.

        Gradual changes really do work. It’s much slower going, but I have no doubt that I will be a normal weight in the next year or so just from gradual changes.

    • speaky2k says:

      Ok, but when you were a kid how much did you run and play outside? How much does an average kid do that now? If you are anything like me and my friends, we were always outside, the only time we were inside was after dark (and even then not all the time) and on rainy days.
      I also remember drinking juice and milk over soda at home, soda was a treat when we went somewhere else, like to the grandparent’s house.
      I have a feeling that the sedentary lifestyle of most children AND the availability of the soda and other junk foods are the real cause, not one or the other, both together.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        In my neighborhood in the 60’s/70’s, we were always out and about, riding bikes, playing at the playground or park, swimming in the summer, playing softball, making dams in the creek, etc. During the winter/school months, we had a community center, and we played basketball, volleyball, and had different types of gym equipment. The trampoline was a big draw. We also bowled. I had friends that had horses, so there was horseback riding too. We had the network channels on TV, and that was it. We didn’t drink a lot of soda, but I remember drinking Kool Aid and iced tea made with real sugar.

        That’s all changed. I don’t know if it’s because kids are afraid to go outside, or their parents are afraid to send them outside, but there seems to be a big dropoff in physical activity.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          In a lot of areas, it’s simply unsafe for kids to go outside without supervision. Yes, nationally crime rates are down from when I was a kid in the 70’s but my old neighborhood is no longer working class, it is a slum (Hazelwood in PIttsburgh). Even my current neighborhood was considered upscale back in the 70’s but now it’s marginal and my alley is the border of a slum.

          Another change is that when I was a kid, there were a lot of stay at home moms, so even when we were disappearing on our bikes, there were generally mothers who spent a great deal of time sitting on stoops and porches watching over things. There really isn’t that sort of neighborhood cohesion anymore, since everyone is at work.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          read the blog free range kids sometime. some parents have been threatened with police/civil action for letting their kids walk a couple of blocks alone. i was allowed to go as far as i could hear my mom yell and be home in 5 minutes. since i always cut through yards and over fences and she could yell loudly, i could make it to the duck pond in the next neighborhood. the cops never brought me home for being out without parents the way i’ve read in some recent stories.

          i am thrilled to see the neighborhood kids in my rural area out playing ball in the streets and vacant lots on weekends with no adults around at all. the bigger kids look out for the littler kids.

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            I think that is the exception rather than the rule. But, it is sad that our world has become this place that people perceive as being unsafe, when it actually isn’t (look at FBI statistics.) What’s even worse is that the government is becoming involved in pushing the illusion that the world is full of dangerous strangers. These kids that are picked up by the cops aren’t itty bitty kids either. They are kids who are 7, 8, 9, and 10. Kids who are perfectly capable of walking a couple of blocks alone, or who can stay home alone for 20 minutes while mom runs to the store.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          It’s totally fear. I was going to mention Free range Kids, but someone else beat me to the punch. People are so scared that their kids are going to be kidnapped, molested, and killed that they lock them inside all day. what is interesting is that child abduction has declined since we were all kids. According to the FBI, only an average of 50 kids are abducted and murdered each year. It’s sad that any kids are abducted, but it shows that people grossly overestimate stranger danger. In fact, most kids are kidnapped or molested by people they know. A child is statistically more likely to be molested or abused in their own home than by a stranger.

          I am one of those parents who lets my child run around outside with a couple of other kids who live in our apartments (the rest of her friends here have to play outside supervised.) This family has a hippy mom who wants her kids to experience the world. It’s gated here and their are tons of trails so they can ride their bikes and scooters away from cars. They know where they are allowed to go (although if they snuck out, the worst thing they would encounter is a small creek and walking trail–I’m pretty sure they could sneak out and come back unscathed.) They actually climb trees unsupervised and build forts and the like. They take their dogs to the dog park and run around and play with them. They play hide and seek. I am sure they do a few nefarious things I’d prefer not knowing about too. They have a blast. I am so incredibly thankful that she has a couple of kids to do this with. Childhood isn’t the same without it.

          Oh, and they are all as skinny as rails. We can’t keep enough weight on ours.

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            **Try to ignore my mistakes. I write and teach writing all day long that I get sick of proofreading and am lazy on the internet. If there were an edit button I might change it.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      We were kids of the same generation and I’ve noticed exactly the same thing. If I look at old family and school photos, virtually everyone looked emaciated. I can remember watching Stand By Me when it came out in the mid-1980’s and thinking how enormous Vern was; he would probably be in the normal range today.

      It definitely wasn’t because of our diets, which were terrible by today’s standards. We did drink a lot less soda but I do recall drinking Hawaiian Punch and 5 Alive out of those giant cans, which I can’t believe is much better. We also played a lot of video games and I can remember spending a great deal of time at the arcade.

      I’m guessing the difference isn’t necessarily what we ate/drink, it was that we consumed less of it, while being more active at the same time. On a typical day, we would walk to school, walk back for lunch, walk back to school, and then walk home, where we would then got on our bikes and disappear until dinner time. After dinner, we’d get back on our bikes and disappear until the street lights came on. We were probably walking or biking at least 5 miles every day.

      In the summer, we were even more active. I can remember the highlight of my day was getting to ride my bike 2 or 3 miles to the mill, so I could drop my dad’s lunch off.

      • orion70 says:

        I can’t help but think it is the activity too. When I was a kid we not only had mandatory gym class, but also an active recess (but also one that included a canteen run). Pretty much everyone who could walked to and from school, often going home to lunch and back.

        I remember hating rainy days when you had to be stuck indoors all day. We were outside all day even in the winter, only coming in to put wet mittens on the heater and out the door again. We all knew where and what we were allowed to do and if you had any sense of fear or respect for your parents, you didn’t go where you shouldn’t very often (although we did of course, but watch it if you got caught). I had a pretty strict upbringing and there were loads of things I wasn’t allowed to do, but still I didn’t have helicopter parents who wouldn’t let me out of their sight to go play either.

        And in the midst of all this, really our eating habits were crap. Sure it caught up to some people as adults, but for the most part we seemed to burn it all off. What little money we were given, we spent on junk food, and our meals were not the best either, although we rarely ever had fast food or take out of any kind for that matter. And if we didn’t like what was for supper, we didn’t get a yummier substitute.

    • chatterboxwriting says:

      Really, it’s a combination of factors. In the 1970s, two-income households were not as common. You had someone that could be home when the kids were home, giving kids the opportunity to ride bikes and play. Unless one person makes a crapload of money, it’s near impossible to have a one-income household these days. Kids are spending time at daycare and indoor after school programs, where they are probably sitting at tables or on the floor instead of running around. A lot of schools have cut recess time or done away with it entirely. In many places, gym classes are pretty ineffective. My gym class consisted of throwing a basketball at a hoop for an entire quarter. Not playing basketball, where we’d run around and burn some calories, but throwing the ball every so often.

      Then you’ve got food deserts, lack of access to affordable healthy foods, lack of education about nutrition, etc. It’s a big mess.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        not just parents being home to watch them, but less fear of being able to supervise ourselves.
        even if my parents weren’t home i was encouraged to go ride my bike and play. “i’m going to the store, go play with the neighbors” or vice versa, the neighbors would come over to play when their parents were out.
        we were allowed to be out for entire blocks of hours at a time, not encouraged to come home until dark. i have very few indoor childhood memories. yes, i had an atari 2600 but i wasn’t allowed to play with it all the time. my mom even made me put my books away and go out to get “some fresh air and sunshine”

        • varro says:

          Pretty much the same as you growing up – kids were expected to go out and play unless the weather was really, really bad. That’s what the Atari 2600 was for.

          We didn’t make “play dates”….we just played – and a lot of it was just running around from dinnertime until dark, or 10 or so in the evening in summer. I wasn’t skinny, but I could run and run and run…

      • Snoofin says:

        What you should have said was unless one person makes an assload of money its almost impossible for a family to live on a one-income household while still having 3 cellphones, Giant TV with cable service, 2 newer cars, a swimming pool, clothes from somewhere other than Walmart and a Mcmansion. Many families could survive on one income if they bought a smaller rancher style house, drove a used car and watch TV with a roof antenna, got a land line phone service, and made all their meals at home like my family did when I grew up. In fact my Dad didnt make much money at all but we survived.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:


          My husband is a teacher, and I work part-time as a teacher at a private school (and make practically nothing.) With our insurance premiums, having to pay huge deductibles (I have Lupus, my daughter has medical issues, and my husband has dental problems, so we have to fork out a lot), and living in an expensive apartment so our daughter can go to a school that can actually meet her needs and has children who speak her language (so she can have friends),we don’t much leftover at the end of the month. I wanted to work part-time so I could take my daughter to school and pick her up every day, volunteer at the school, help her with homework, take her to activities, take her to the park, and give her time to play with school friends.

          We do manage though. All of our furniture is older (we take care of it so it still looks good.) I drive the first new car we bought as a married couple 13 years ago. My husband drives a 2004 model Toyota. We will be driving these cars for a while. We sale shop for clothes, go to the outlet mall, and use coupons on clothes and wear them until they can’t be worn anymore (we buy classic stuff so we don’t have to worry about things going out of style.) I only get a haircut 2x a year. We have 1 TV in our house with no cable–just Roku with Netflix and Hulu. We have one computer, and Kindle Fire, which was a BIG splurge.We don’t have iPods or any of that.Our phones are old, and DH’s has no internet or anything(when my contract expires I am getting rid of my data plan.) I cook most of our meals from scratch at home and don’t spend a lot at the grocerystore (we are on par with the FDA low cost plan.) The only way we could afford for our daughter to take dance was for my mom to pay for 1/2 of it. We just don’t have a lot for extras.

          It’s worth it to me though. I have time to keep the house up and spend time with my kid. We have time to exercise b/c my husband doesn’t have to worry about chores when he gets home. I have time to make healthy meals and shop for store sales. Our family is less stressed. Sure we just scrape by, but it works for us.

          We live in a very, very wealthy area too (most of the moms don’t work), so it is a bit hard having way less money than the other families at the school (I know social pressure is why many live beyond their means or work long hours.) But, no one really seems to care. I am friends with the other moms, my child has plenty of friends, is invited to social events, etc…

          I guess my point is that ,many families who think they have to have two incomes don’t really have to if they cut back and live a more frugal lifestyle. We used to be a two income family and took trips, had new cars, a nice big house and all of that and we are actually happier now than we were then. I think it’s the lower stress level we all have as a result of me being at home 1/2 a day. We also have time do a lot of things together like bike rides, my husband and I run together, we hike a lot, etc… it’s great.

        • TeriLynn says:

          To quote your comment from 1/26/2012, 11:40am:
          “These are the cheapskates that insist on using old technology that holds those of us back who want the new technology. If there wasnt so many people who are satisfied with mediocrity we could all be enjoying 4k content now, but noooooo, people have to hang on to 20 year old TVs just because they still function which in turn delays release of better stuff because manufacturers wont sell enough of the new stuff to cause media companies to release content in new formats.”
          You’re pretty much a troll, right?

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      My daughter used to go to a school where about 3/4 of the kids were impoverished enough to be on the school lunch program. I saw so many obese kids there. Now she goes to a school where maybe 2-3% are on the school lunch program. Many of the kids bring lunch. I know a lot of the parents in her grade and there is a huge emphasis on physical activity and healthy eating from the parents. There are very few fat kids at her school.

      The thing is, being poor doesn’t have to mean that you stuff yourself with chips and soda. There are inexpensive fruits, veggies, and whole grains available. Beans and other legumes are really cheap. Frozen veggies are a steal. Now, I get that some people live in food deserts, but the school my daughter used to attend was surrounded by Asian and Mexican Markets (and the produce is much cheaper at those markets.) There are plenty of poor people who have access to healthy food but choose to buy crap instead. I don’t know if it is lack of knowledge, or lack of caring, or just that they feel like healthy food tastes bad (it takes about a month to get used to the new tastes and flavors.)

      There is a blog called “True Food Movement” where the woman is proving that you can shop at Whole Foods and feed a family on the FDA’s thrifty food plan, which is basically what impoverished people might get on food stamps. So far, she is doing fine. Her family is getting enough calories and nutrients and are eating a healthy diet. She is doing it for 30 days and is not allowed to use food she had before the challenge.

  8. daemonaquila says:

    I’m all for it. I’m a disability attorney, and I see the effects of being hooked on sugary soda way, way too often. When I was a kid, it wasn’t as big a deal. People drank sodas occasionally, and the portions were pretty consistent and much smaller than the giant cups being sold today. Since then, the soda companies have been busily pushing people to drink more and more, and to the exclusion of other types of drinks. Now, soda is a huge problem as a contributor to obesity as well as a tough habit to kick for diabetics.

    • shepd says:

      How about the effects of the ambulance chaser ads on TV encouraging people to sue mightily for every slip and fall, even those that were preventable with a little personal responsibility?

      I’m all for banning that.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

      So you are saying you will use this campaign to prove more of your clients are disabled b/c of the soda companies?

    • pop top says:

      Are you trying to say the pop companies are forcing people to consume their products? It’s not addictive like cigarettes. Everyone in America has easy access to water. If you need caffeine, try tea. It’s not that hard to not drink pop. At some point people need to have some personal responsibility.

      • daemonaquila says:

        The “personal responsibility” argument doesn’t wash. People get programmed from an early age – their parents program in their religious and social beliefs, schools largely program in their understanding of everything from history to politics, and advertising programs in preferences for products. Claiming otherwise is ludicrous – if that weren’t so, companies wouldn’t be trying to market their products in every invasive manner possible, every minute of the day. After a person is “hooked” at minimum by emotional pleasure to a particular product, it’s difficult to stop eating or drinking a favorite item. It’s as silly as telling someone who likes sex that it’s “easy” to stop having orgasms (just read a book instead). The difference is that our society didn’t object to companies pushing a pleasurable and mostly harmless product to the point that it became a staple in quantities that are dangerous.

        People can exercise personal responsibility and stop drinking soda. They also can exercise personal responsibility and fight back against large corporations and advertising that harms people over time. Those corporations also can, and should, exercise personal responsibility and stop pushing destructive products to absurd levels. You – as so many others – seem to think that ONLY the corporations shouldn’t be expected to act responsibly. If America falls, that attitude will be the reason why.

        • pop top says:

          “You – as so many others – seem to think that ONLY the corporations shouldn’t be expected to act responsibly.”

          I like how you put words in my mouth, it’s cute. It also makes you look like a moron.

      • angienessyo says:

        This. While I understand everyone is different, I just randomly stopped drinking soda one day and never looked back. I grew up drinking the stuff and when I got to college I just stopped drinking it for some reason. I was pretty small initially so I wasn’t giving it up to lose weight or anything. Then again I think I only ever drank 2-3 of them a day which is nothing compared to people that I see inhale the stuff.

      • RayanneGraff says:

        Bullshit it’s not addictive! My best friend is addicted to Dr. Pepper like you wouldn’t believe. The caffeine is physically addictive, and the flavor & carbonation are mentally addictive. People who are heavy soda drinkers can absolutely get addicted to the caffeine & mouth-feel of soda. My friend is in the process of quitting it completely, but just last night when we hung out I had to run him to the store to get a DP cause he was agitated, grumpy, and craving one like a smoker craves a cigarette. After he took a few swigs, he was back to normal.

        Soda is just bad. I used to be hooked on it too & I quit cold turkey. I don’t even like it anymore now.

    • scottboone says:

      Don’t you mean you see the effects of “obesity” on your clients? I’m not familiar with your qualifications, but you only mentioned being an attorney. I’m not a judge, but I’ll caution you against also pretending to be a scientist. The facts are that “obesity” has not been scientifically linked to sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or the like, nor to any scientifically tangible brain chemistry changes that can be related to “addiction”. Now, there is an awful large amount of circumstantial and correlative evidence, and I understand you’re talking about CIVIL dealings here (which have a much lower burden of proof), but you can’t say that their weight-gain or related problems are CAUSED by soda. There is at least three studies that have shown similar reaction to DIET soda, which is troublesome to your cause. Gary Taubes is an actual researcher, and to date he’s only gone so far as to -implicate- insulin regulation.

      All of you folks who are beating this No Fat, No Salt, No Soda, No This No That drum are really setting yourselves up. The way the research is pointing, we don’t know WHAT exactly is going on, and every time, historically, we’ve been in that position, it turned out that conventional wisdom was WRONG. (Heartburn/acid reflux not caused by bacteria, AIDS, etc). How much of an ass are you going to feel like if “obesity” is determined to have another, more primary factor as a cause (virus, lack of necessary natural gut bacteria) and it turns out “sugar” wasn’t the whole story?

      • rmorin says:

        I don’t know where to start. You act quite uppity, but get basic facts wrong.

        “obesity” has not been scientifically linked to sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or the like”

        Yes it has in both human and animal trials. This is very well researched. Even at the most basic level, sugar is incredibly calorie dense and a surplus of calories equals weight gain, and a long term surplus equals obesity. This is not novel, new, or debatable.

        “Heartburn/acid reflux not caused by bacteria”

        You are mistaken. The old widely held belief was that bacteria did not cause gastric ulcers. This however was changed when people found out that h. pylori was the real culprit. Acid reflux is NOT caused by bacteria, nor has anyone ever believed that.

        “The way the research is pointing, we don’t know WHAT exactly is going on, and every time, historically, we’ve been in that position, it turned out that conventional wisdom was WRONG

        What does that even mean? Yeah Pasteur, and Fleming are idiots right man cause they didn’t know exactly what was going on when they made their discoveries? We use the best information we have scientifically available. Occasionally there have been mis-steps, but your statement is so broad it is ridiculous.

        Finally, if you really want to talk about I don’t know actual research that has hints of controversy, read up on the lipid hypothesis, how the original “food pyramid” was developed, and how all these ideas are currently being challenged by recent research.

        tl:dr you’re not a very good internet scientist

      • Tiffymonster says:

        BPA! Its not the soda, its the cans! :)

  9. shepd says:

    Ridiculous. How about showing the same guy and next to it: “THE TRADES. THEY’RE UNSAFE. GO TO UNIVERSITY.”

  10. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    “Portions have grown. So has Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations…”

    That is at least two logical fallacies in that one part alone. Correlation is not causation and post hoc reasoning. I refuse to even consider it because of this. Can you spot any others?

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      True. What would be more appropriate would be a chart showing actual sugary-drink intake and the prevalence of diabetes…which I’m sure would show a strong correlation and be found to be causative in actual clinical research. Which probably has been done…

      …I’ve always been of the opinion that the soft drink sizes have exploded because retailers realized that pop costs them close to nothing…they can give you 32 oz. of Coke with your value meal instead of 12 oz. and still make essentially the same margin – all the while making you think you’re getting “more for your money.”

      • Firethorn says:

        I was just watching a series that basically did just this – diets high in sugar(and even more complex carbs) leads to high blood sugar. High blood sugar leads to large amounts of insulin release. Large amounts of insulin release leads to insulin resistance, which leads to higher insulin production, eventually the pancreas can’t produce anymore and BAM! you have type II diabetes.

        I’ve been losing weight on a fairly low-carb, high protein diet where I get something like 50% of my calories from fat, and what carbs I get are all natural – I don’t drink fruit juice, I eat the fruit.

        Controls my hunger well, doesn’t create blood sugar spikes that lead to insulin release. Hopefully my insulin resistance is going down, which will allow me to lose weight more readily.

  11. teqjack says:

    Well, yes, I can remember when Coca-Cola bottles were about 8 oz., not 12. Amd it was sufficient for me at age 9. At 60+ I prefer the 12oz to two 8oz.

    Those bigger drinks are from restaurant/take-out, and meant for adults. And yes, more than perhaps 16oz. gets ridiculous – except usually at least 5oz. is ice, so perhaps not,

    As to fries, I call foul. As far as I recall, the standard size is about the same. Yes. you can get bigger sizes – you could back in the Fifties, too, though the idea was the big ones were – like a “bucket” of chicken – for sharing. That few do so today is not because the sizes are available, it is a lot more complicated than that.

    The Mayor and his Health guy are simplistic zealots in several ways, but this ad is not TOO bad.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Were they really 8 oz? I could have sworn that the skinny blue bottles were smaller and the stubby ones were 8 oz.

      Soda was such a treat back then that I fondly remember looking forward to it. Even at a restaurant, you would get one small glass of it because there weren’t free refills. It was always exciting when we went to a restaurant with a bar and were able to get a pitcher of it.

    • varro says:

      16 oz returnable glass bottles….and I remember these little stoppers you put on them to keep the carbonation in if you didn’t drink it all, which was often.

      8 or 12 oz. of real sugar cola was usually enough. I usually split a Throwback Pepsi for that same reason – 20 oz. is more than enough to satisfy me.

  12. Amy says:

    I don’t think this is using scare tactics or shock to make a point. I think this is the simplest form of education. Most people think you get fat and then maybe you’ll get diabetes, and then maybe worst case you might have to take insulin shots. No. You get diabetes, you may very well end up blind, need to have legs amputated, need to undergo daily dialysis (if you can afford it, that is), and despite all extraordinary measures can still die from it. Fairly young, even. I don’t think many soda drinkers make the connection between two much sugars and getting your leg amputated. And after all, their message is moderation, not abstinence. Who can have a problem with that? Bravo to NYC health dept.

    • shepd says:

      Type 2 diabetes (the kind advertised) is typically VERY manageable and often can be managed through diet changes alone. It would be very, very rare for a type 2 diabetes patient to lose a hand or eyesight, or even die from it IF they follow doctor’s recommendations. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but I am saying that in NYC, this guy and 5 others would probably be the only victims that followed doctors recommendations.

      Type 1 (“real” diabetes), that’s a different story.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Please don’t say all Type 2 diabetes is manageable because YOUR Type 2 diabetes is manageable.

        Your personal experiences do not equal factual sweeping generalizations.

        • shepd says:

          I’m going based on reports. I actually don’t have it, just know what I’ve read about it from credible sources. Of course not all is that way. But sources lead me to believe a vast amount of it is controllable through diet changes, and perhaps a small amount of medicine. Sources also lead me to believe that the extreme cases that cannot (or originally could be) be managed that way are few and far between.

  13. Difdi says:

    And how exactly does super-sizing a diet soda add to the risk of diabetes?

    I wonder how quickly the health department would complain about defamation if someone depicted them as being a high risk factor for recto-cranial inversion?

    • Marlin says:

      And how many kids do you see drinking diet?

      During my lard ass days I drank reg soda. When I switched to diet I lost a good 10pounds from that alone.

      • Outrun1986 says:

        When you are at a party you see most of the teenagers drinking diet. Thankfully bottled water is also now popular, a lot of teenagers drink this too. This is something we have observed by going to many holiday parties. Yes there is a select group of kids who still drink regular soda, but that group is waining and when they get to be a teenager they will start drinking diet because of body image. It seems that drinking diet and bottled water is now the fashionable thing to do.

        A big problem we have seen with parents is that they overfeed their toddlers, they also have no qualms about giving them doritos and regular soda. The problem is actually with the little kids here. I have to hold my mouth when I see kids like 2 years old sitting in the shopping cart and downing those tiny bags of doritos. Its none of my business how someone parents their child but it is disturbing to me but I can’t say anything because its really none of my business. It seems there is also a group of parents whom as soon as their kid starts eating solid food they will shove anything they can into the kid’s mouth to get them to shut up. They also have no qualms against taking them to restaurants and getting them the 1000 calorie kids meal.

        Surprise its usually a severely overweight kid that is downing bags of chips, and big plates of fast food and regular sodas when we are out eating and the parents are buying it for them.

        I never see a very overweight child eating carrot sticks, celery as snacks for example and I certainly don’t see them walking around in the park or even around the stores, instead they are pushed in strollers they are way too big for and in shopping carts whenever possible.

        I know this is being very judgemental but its not hard to figure out what is going on when you see overweight kids constantly indulging in huge portions of fast food, sugary soda and chips and kids who are way too big for a stroller are still being pushed around in one.

        • orion70 says:

          I do think that unfortunately society notices more when there’s an overweight person having junk food as opposed to the skinny person eating the same thing.

          That said, I do think the concept of “treats” in general with kids has been a bit skewed when it comes to fast food. I know we ate a fair share of junk food when I was a kid but we mostly got it, I think, in somewhat smaller quantities (like a small bag of candy, as opposed to full sized candy bars + huge bag of doritos + 2litre of pop). Fast food or dining out in general was a very rare occasion. Now it seems like you hear parents hanging the promise of a “treat” over their kid’s heads like a carrot, except it happens every other day. “We’re going to *fast food restaurant* for a treat!!”, but it’s every week. How’s that a “treat”?

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      What if you order that giant cup of drink at Panera, where they have unsweetened iced tea? I believe many fast food places offer that now.

  14. pop top says:

    I like the idea of clearly labeling beverage containers with calorie information. I believe that people should have free access to all available information and should be allowed to make whatever informed consent they want to with that information. If someone wants to use their daily calories to eat a Big Mac, some fries and a Coke, that’s up to them, but they should be given the proper information to make an informed decision about it. It’s also a great way to make people responsible for their personal choices.

  15. LiveToEat says:

    Brawndo has electrolytes! Water is only for toilets.

  16. Coffee says:

    Cutting back heavily on beer means that I treated myself to a case of Mexican Coke. Deal with it, NYC Health Department.

  17. Zydia says:

    What I want to know is who did what to ensure alcoholic beverages are exempt from having a nutrition label. I love my microbrews, but it’s hard to know just how much I’m being set back when trying to take stock of my day/week. And some of those IPA are worse than sodas, I’ll bet.

  18. sir_eccles says:

    Having spent some time in a specialist limb amputation hospital, I can tell you it isn’t far from the truth. Us naive students thought traffic accidents would be the main reason for patients being there but no it was mostly smokers and diabetics.

    This was pre- Bush starting two stupid wars so IEDs may be skewing those numbers a little, but I doubt it would be by much.

  19. IrwinJacobs says:

    There’s no doubt that a bathtub sized Bladder Buster sugar-laden soda is playing a significant role in the increase in Type 2 diabetes but a more prevalent cause is the government and nutrition experts’ love affair with grains. This is especially true of wheat, which elevates blood glucose levels even higher than sucrose does. Read “Wheat Belly,” by cardiologist Dr. William Davis.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      That’s certainly a factor. You’ve got this inherently unbalanced food pyramid that over-emphasizes grain and people are bound to start loading up wonder bread. You might as well be drinking your carbs at that point.

      The old model may have had it’s flaws but it wasn’t too extreme and thus likely to be less harmful to any particular type of metabolism.

      Not everyone does well with a diet imbalanced in favor of carbs. Most people don’t in fact.

  20. crashfrog says:

    Problem – the obese overwhelmingly drink calorie-free sodas, so reducing soda sizes (or taxing caloric sweeteners, the same idea from another direction) has no effect on rates of obesity.

  21. some.nerd says:

    What if it’s Pibb Xtra? It’s SOOO GOOOD

  22. kataisa says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with anti-obesity/anti-soda campaigns from our health department. America has gotten too fat and unhealthy, and it costs us billions of dollars in health care and lost production. The war on sugar/junk food/obesity needs to be revved up.

    However, I do not support a soda tax, or any other “sin tax”. That’s merely another way for the government to take more money out of our pockets.

    • pop top says:

      “The war on sugar/junk food/obesity needs to be revved up.”

      Because all those other wars on specific things like drugs and terror have been so successful!

      • dolemite says:

        Exactly. We need another government funded “war on” something like a hole in the head. How about let people do what they want, and stop blowing bilions of taxpayer dollars on propaganda.

      • kataisa says:

        The US is in the bad shape it’s in precisely because of junk food propaganda (young children are exposed to thousands of McDonald’s commercials by the age of five. How can anyone believe that has no impact on a kid’s thinking and eventually their eating habits?).

        Compared to that, I don’t see what’s so awful about anti-obesity propaganda.

        squinko wrote: “Because all those other wars on specific things like drugs and terror have been so successful!”

        Strange comparison. However, the war against smoking has been pretty successful in the States.

  23. Spaghettius! says:

    That’s not so bad. There was one ad that showed a bottle of soda with what looked like foam spewing out of it, but upon closer inspection, the foam was actually a nasty wad of human fatty tissue.
    A pretty good deterrant (I’ve quit soda for the sake of my teeth a couple of years ago, and it had the delighful effect of curbing the slow post-college weight gain I was experiencing, but sometimes I fall off the wagon),). The fatsplosion does make for a really unsavory morning commute if I sit across from one of those posters, though.
    That said, and I love(d) my Coca Cola, whenever I see people chugging those 3-liter buckets from fast food/ takeout places, I get creeped out. That stuff isn’t food. I knew someone who went through cancer treatment, and the doctor told her no soda, ever, it’s pure junk for your body.
    I had the advantage of spending my early childhood in the rural countryside, where I knew apples came from trees and eggs came from my grandparent’s chickens, but for 100% urban kids, the removal from the origins of their food does skew the understanding between food and food-grade product. The creepy subway ads are for a good cause.

  24. dourdan says:

    this will go over as well as lung cancer pics on cigerette packs.

    i mean really- if i want a soda i will get a soda. sometimes small (with a meal) sometimes large (such as at a movie.)

  25. ECA says:

    Long ago,
    in a land far away(the USA)
    when you drank something, even soda…it was refreshing and sated your thirst.
    By thats not making MORE good company money..

    So they changed and added a few things.
    SALT, is one of them. AND TONS of sugar to cover the Flavor.
    Then they swapped out SUGAR for HFCS(high fructose corn syrup)..Which has its own problems.

  26. Outrun1986 says:

    You guys should see the ad they air here that has a guy who has to talk with a voice box and has a big hole in his neck because he was smoking and lost his tongue I think.

    Sugary soda and fast food is a problem, but I have determined that it is cheaper to eat fast food than it is to cook your own food at home so how about lowering food prices in the grocery stores here in NY so people can actually afford to start cooking their own food. I believe this is a big part of the problem. Grocery prices are so high right now that the cost of raw ingredients to cook food for 1-2 people is roughly the cost of what it costs 1-2 people to eat off a fast food menu, especially if you aren’t paying for the drink. The food is probably more expensive to cook yourself and cooking is quite a bit of work. Grocery prices always go up too, they never go down. A person can easily eat for $2 easily per meal or possibly less if you are getting 1 thing off the dollar menu. I think it would be really hard to cook a meal for under $2 per person taking into account all the expenses. If you want to get even cheaper they have burritos and frozen stuff at the grocery store for .49 cents a burrito, you could eat 2 of these for about $1 and probably be filled up. Some places might charge less than .49 I don’t have the exact figures. You would also have to microwave these, but I don’t know anyone without a microwave. Of course this stuff is really bad for you, but it is cheap. This tells me that people are heading to McD’s, taco bell, etc. because they serve the food to you and its a lot less work than cooking at home.

    • Spaghettius! says:

      I agree that groceries are expensive in NY, but it is still possible to eat cheaply, and *much* more healthfully if you make your own food. Starches are cheap (potatoes, yams, noodles, beans, lentils, rice), buy vegetables that add the most nutrition for the money (brocolli vs. cucumbers, which are mostly water), and learn how to prepare cheaper cuts of meat (chicken thighs vs. breasts), and drink water out of a reusable bottle. If you spend even $1 on soda every day, thats $365 worth of money you paid to put junk in your body, that could have gone into making healthier meals. Also do your produce shopping in Chinatown if you can’t get to the outer boroughs of NYC, which is where things are a lot cheaper than the city.

      • Outrun1986 says:

        I don’t do it I am just citing an example where its cheaper for the poor to eat fast food than it is to cook at home. I also live in upstate NY and food prices here are skyrocket high especially after the traditional new years grocery price raises. Most people who cook at home probably do it for the health benefits and the taste and variety of foods. Fast food means you eat the same things every day while it is cheap it would get incredibly monotonous after a while. I don’t drink soda either, I only drink water, but I might have diet soda a couple times a year. I haven’t had regular in years, it makes me sick. The only time we bring out the soda is when relatives visit. It is bad for your teeth though if you drink it too much even though my dentist says its ok to have it you just have to brush your teeth after it but that is only if you drink it a lot.

        I didn’t lose any weight when I stopped drinking soda (without changing my diet otherwise, keeping it the same and just taking out the soda), I only drank diet though and I probably never drank enough of it for it to have an impact in the first place. I don’t even drink coffee and I have never drank coffee, I am probably the one person in my whole city who does not like coffee I don’t like the taste of it. But I have to remember there are people that drink 3-4 cans of soda at work a day, which just sounds creepily excessive if that makes any sense.

  27. Wolfbird says:

    No no no, we’ve already established that every fat person with Type 2 has it because of reasons beyond their control. Gubmints shouldn’t tell me what to eat!

  28. failurate says:

    Welcome to the Hall of Fame, corpse of Ron Santo!

  29. Anticitizen says:

    I went through the trouble of recovering my own account just to correct some of the stupid around here.

    I’m speaking from experience here, as a Type 1 diabetic for 17 years. SOFT DRINKS DO NOT CAUSE AMPUTATIONS. THIS IS FALSE. Hell, I drink diet all the time, and sometimes I drink regular.

    I’ll tell you what causes amputations: Poor control of your diabetes. As long as you’re keeping up on your insulin dosages and are doing enough to counteract the carbohydrate/sugar intake, then you’ll never have to worry about losing any kind of limb. If your blood sugar is pushing 400 all the time, then yes, you’re going to lose your legs.

    My doctor has a simple rule with me: I can eat anything I’d like, regardless of how sugary it is…but is it worth the extra injection to keep my blood sugar in control?

    tl;dr: As long as you’re staying on top of your medications and keeping your blood sugar in control, you will not lose a leg as a result of diabetes.

    • JiminyChristmas says:

      The problem with ‘just control your diabetes’ is that it’s pretty damned tough to handle if you don’t have health insurance. The people most at risk from diabetes and its complications also tend to have the least access to health care.

      I would bet that the people who made the ad are targeting their message to people who either have or are at-risk for Type 2 and don’t have the means to manage it. Even for people who have insurance, deductibles and co-pays for all the supplies you need to manage diabetes can be hard to afford. If that’s your audience, telling them not to drink as much soda is a worthy message. It helps and it doesn’t cost them anything.

  30. JiminyChristmas says:

    Amputation is one of the worst case scenarios, but peripheral nerve degeneration due to diabetes is bad enough. Members of my family had it and it caused them near-constant pain. My father got to the point where the only pair of shoes he could stand to wear were a pair of felt slippers. That may not sound like a big deal, but not being able to lace on a pair of shoes changes how you live your life.

  31. axiomatic says:

    Look I want to have my soda as well. But being a type 2 diabetic and having some soda and gummie bears (made with HFCS) has caused a new condition I have been dealing with since October of 2011 called “DIABETIC ENTEROPATHY” and I have had 5 ambulance rides over it with a heart rate literally through the roof.

    My cardiologist says my heart is fine which is why I didnt have a heart attack. However my endocrinologist has basically said for me to avoid HFCS like the plague. You just cant burn it off as fast as you can real sugar.

    Look I don’t want to tell anyone what to do but this is real and I’m still trying to fix it. I thought you should know this since it loosely pertains to the topic in this article.

  32. jnolan says:

    for the next ad the NYC Health Dept should run an ad highlighting the merits of self-restraint.

  33. orion70 says:

    I’m not so sure shock tactics are the way to go, same goes for the obese kids in the ads. I saw one this past week that gave a positive message and seemed to have a small chance of being relatable re: kids. Something to do with becoming your own super hero or something (which sounds corny, but wasn’t in the ad). Encouraged the positive side of this, activities, instead of depressing the hell out of everyone with these kinds of things. I think in many cases, stuff like this just makes people feel shittier about where they are, and more likely to continue to drown themselves in bad habits in an attempt to feel better.

    I’m not sure what the answer is, I think it’s complex and not as simple as laying off the sodas.

  34. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I’m a huge soda addict. I’ve started ordering the medium soda instead of large when I get a drink from a drive through (I don’t eat fast food but sometimes drive through to get a drink.) I also have been ordering water at sit down spots. I also started buying expensive cane sweetened sodas because it makes me think about the cost before I drink them, which causes me to skip having one around the house pretty regularly. It has helped me to not gain the weight back I’ve lost (65 lbs.) The few times I indulge in a few extra here and there, the weight starts creeping back on. I want to stop drinking them except as a treat. It’s such a hard habit to break. My little bit at a time approach seems to be working.