Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eating out and obesity

Restaurants across the world need to be more transparent in helping diners make informed meal decisions while eating out, a global survey has found.

It’s not that consumers are not aware of healthier options but they need that extra push to opt for foods that are nutritionally beneficial, or at least not harmful. Poor levels of information were cited as a significant barrier to leading a healthier lifestyle.

This can be achieved by the food services industry providing more information about the foods they offer.

The biannual 2011 Unilever Food Solutions World Menu Report, aimed at measuring people’s attitudes and behaviors towards eating out, polled consumers in seven countries – the United States, United Kingdom, China Germany, Russia, Brazil and Turkey.

The study, titled “What’s in Your Food?”, found that as people become more health conscious there is a rise in concern regarding the nutritional values of the food they eat.

“Eating habits have changed dramatically and rapidly over the past few decades, largely as a result of more choices, larger portions and increased access to fast foods,” says the survey.

Though the report does not mention obesity, it is an issue of growing concern today with the easy availability of fast food and convenience foods.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being either overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organisation.

Being overweight or obese raises the risks of coronary heart disease, ischaemic stroke, type 2 diabetes mellitus and some common cancers.

Between 1980 and 2008, obesity has doubled worldwide. By 2008, 10 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women (half a billion people) in the world were obese, compared with 5 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women in 1980.

The World Menu Report found that people are demanding the right to enjoy food that is healthy but still delicious.

Those polled mostly wanted to know about fat, calorie content, additives and preservatives. Also, in the West people wanted to know more about salt content while in China people demanded more information about the vitamins and proteins in their food.

Key findings of the report:
  • In all countries, there is a need for more information – 9 out of 10 people demand truth about food when eating out
  • Nutritional information could help people make healthier choices
  • Food labels including low fat and calorie content would be welcome

Gaby Vreeken, President Marketing, Unilever Food Solutions, says: “We believe that all of us in the food service industry have a responsibility to tackle the global obesity crisis.

“The insights from this major new study show that the challenges of encouraging healthier diets can be addressed with small changes to existing menus.

“In essence, it’s no more than a nudge to help guests choose a healthier option. Small steps can have an enormous impact on the health of diners across the world and help to tackle rising obesity levels.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Will Belviq help US' 'war on obesity' ?

The battle of the bulge in the United States is getting more earnest with federal authorities now opening a new frontier in their fight against a burgeoning crisis.

The Food and Drug Administration has given its nod to Arena Pharmaceutical’s Belviq, generically known as lorcaserin.

It is the first new prescription drug for long-term weight loss approved in 13 years, after Roche’s Xenical in 1999.

Belviq ... new weapon against obesity
Belviq is meant for adults who are obese (with a body mass index of 30 or greater) or overweight (with a BMI of 27 or greater) and have at least one medical complication, like diabetes or high cholesterol.

Arena and its partner Eisai Inc. of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey expect to launch the drug early next year.

Belviq acts on chemicals in the brain and reduces appetite thereby boosting feelings of satiety and fullness.

Doctors believe that diet and exercise are either not religiously adhered to, not producing the expected results or are not enough to treat obesity.

Obesity Society President Patrick O’Neil welcomes Belviq’s approval. He should – he was the lead researcher on several studies of the drug!

But will Belviq bear expected results? Consider the following:
  • Belviq was rejected in 2010 after scientists voiced concerns after the drug formed breast tumors in rats;
  • Clinical trials show Belviq only achieving modest weight loss – an average patient lost just 3 to 3.7 per cent of the starting body weight over a year;
  • Vivus Inc.’s Qnexa, on the other hand, is thought to lead to an average weight loss of 11 per cent – so why Belviq first?
  • Side effects of Belviq include depression, migraine and memory lapses;
  • FDA-approved Xenical is seldom prescribed today because of unpleasant digestive side effects and modest weight loss;
  • Analysts are also skeptical that Belviq will also go down the same road as other unpopular anti-obesity and diet pills.

The approval of Belviq comes close on the heels of a recommendation by the US Preventive Services Task Force that doctors should screen the weight and height for all patients to check for obesity.

The federal health advisory panel also suggests that patients considered obese should be referred to intensive diet and exercise programs, if necessary.

According to latest available statistics more than a third of adults in the United States are obese with the past couple of decades witnessing a dramatic rise in the obesity rate.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already taken up the cudgels by proposing to ban super-sized coals in restaurants, theatres and public places as part of a drive to fight obesity.

Desperate times call for desperate measures but one wonders if, instead of such radical steps, wouldn’t a greater emphasis on education and awareness about the issue bear better results?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The world is getting fatter!

Obesity is a worldwide problem with a study suggesting that pressure on dwindling resources will increase as more and more people keep getting fatter.

According to the World Health Organization’s World Health Statistics 2012, one in six adults is obese.

Key findings from the report:

  • Worldwide, 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being either overweight or obese
  • By 2008, 10 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women (half a billion people) in the world were obese, compared with 5 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women in 1980.
  • WHO’s Region of the Americas has the highest percentage of overweight and obese people (62 per cent overweight in both sexes, and 26 per cent obese) and the South-East Asia Region has the lowest (14 per cent overweight in both sexes and 3 per cent obese).

No wonder governments have started considering measures to regulate high-fat or high-calorie foods.

In fact, some have already begun to embrace taxes and other regulation on foods that contribute to weight gain.

  • Denmark imposed a tax in 2011 on foods containing more than 2.3 per cent saturated fats – lifting the costs of butter by 30 per cent and a bag of chips by 8 per cent. In 2010, the country had raised excise taxes on chocolate, ice cream, sugary drinks and candy by 25 per cent.
  • Hungary, in 2011, started taxing prepackaged foods high in sugar, salt or caffeine – including carbonated sugary drinks, cookies, jams and instant soups.
  • Finland, in 2011, introduced a tax on sweets, chocolates and ice cream, and raised its existing excise tax on soft drinks.
  • Belgium, Ireland, Romania, Italy and the United Kingdom have considered similar measures as obesity rates among their citizens surge.

Diabetes doctors back soda ban plan

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to put a cap on soda portions has been backed by a group of doctors in the United States.

A majority of Americans oppose the plan, considering it an unwelcome government intervention in their daily diets.

However, doctors who are treating diabetes patients believe that the state should do more to protect people from a food industry that seems bent on feeding them even bigger and, mostly, unhealthy, portions.

By latest count, more than two-thirds of the adults in the United States are either overweight or obese; excess weight contributes to health problems from diabetes to hypertension.

Obesity accounts for $190 billion in annual medical costs in the United States – or almost 21 per cent of the total, according to a recent study.

On an average, obese individuals incur $2,741 higher medical bills each year than other people do.

Sugary drinks have become the latest target in the fight against burgeoning obesity in the United States because the American Medical Association has estimated that 46 per cent of the nation’s intake of added sugars came from beverages.

It also believes that increasing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages to a penny per ounce would lead to a 5 per cent drop in the prevalence of people who are overweight and obese, and cut medical costs by $17 billion within a decade.

Bloomberg’s large soda ban plan, tabled earlier this month, has found favor with healthcare professionals and experts who believe that sugar drinks only provide a lot of useless calories – with neither fat nor protein to counter that.

However, Coca-Cola Co has called the Bloomberg proposal an insult to New Yorkers.

The American Beverage Association, which represents the company as well as PepsiCo Inc and other soda makers, is fighting the measure.

New York City’s Board of Health is expected to vote on the measure by September and if approved, the regulations would take effect in March.

However, a court challenge looms.

Opponents, including a coalition of the beverage association, the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Theatre Owners and others, are considering their options.

“We’re watching developments, but I can’t tell you at this point what we will do” in terms of legal or other strategy, said Gary Klein, general counsel of the theater owners group.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

McDonald's burger advert photos secret revealed

Clearly this is one case where What You See Is NOT What You Get!
A McDonald's burger: reality and concept
Ever wondered why the McDonald's burger that you just ordered and are holding in your hand looks like a poor cousin to the one in the menu or on billboards? Well, even burgers go through a bout of make-up to show off its best side!
Well, that's marketing for you – the popular food giant's marketing director reveals the painstaking process behind the advert photos here.

America Revealed: Pizza Delivery | PBS UK

Watch this amazing video which charts in breathtaking detail the routes taken by Manhattan pizza delivery drivers on a Friday night to Domino's Pizza truck movement across the United States.

Here, you will find more extraordinary and stunning CGI images of America as it has never been seen before.

Thanks to Mark J. Perry.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The nations' burden - obesity

This from BMC Public Health:
"Increasing population fatness could have the same implications for world food energy demands as an extra half a billion people living on the earth."
This is the conclusion of a group of researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who say that people’s weight – not just population size – should be taken into account when planning how to deal with increasing pressure on the planet’s dwindling resources.
Key findings:
               In 2005, global adult human biomass was approximately 287 million tonnes, of which 15 million tonnes were due to overweight (BMI > 25), a mass equivalent to that of 242 million people of average body mass (5% of global human biomass).
               Biomass due to obesity was 3.5 million tonnes, the mass equivalent of 56 million people of average body mass (1.2% of human biomass).
               North America has 6% of the world population but 34% of biomass due to obesity.
               Asia has 61% of the world population but 13% of biomass due to obesity.
               One tonne of human biomass corresponds to approximately 12 adults in North America and 17 adults in Asia.
               If all countries had the BMI distribution of the United States, the increase in human biomass of 58 million tonnes would be equivalent in mass to an extra 935 million people of average body mass, and have energy requirements equivalent to that of 473 million adults.
Key facts from the World Health Organisation:
               a BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight
               a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity.
More key facts:
               Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
               In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight. Of these over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese.
               65% of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
               More than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2010.
Obesity is preventable.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bacteria in our bodies mapped

How would you feel if someone were to tell you:
  • our body is like an Amazon Forest hosting trillions of microorganisms?
  • that our body is a repository of as many as 10,000 different species of microbes?
  • that these bacteria, viruses and fungi outnumber normal human cells 10:1?

Before you go “eewww” and “gross” it would do well to realise that many of these organisms perform a vital function and work to keep us healthy.

The startling discovery was made a bunch of researchers in the United States who have managed to develop the first genetic reference map of nearly all of the microbes inhabiting healthy humans.

In a five-year, $173 million census of the microbes researchers sampled up to 18 sites on participants’ bodies and looked at everything from saliva to blood, skin and stool.

“This is a whole new way of looking at human biology and human disease,” said Dr Phillip Tarr of Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, which was one of 200 U.S. scientists who took part in the effort, known as the Human Microbiome Project.

“It’s awe-inspiring.”

However, instead of looking at the path-breaking study for the benefits it can mean for scientists caviling has already begun!

Understanding what makes up a normal microbiome will help doctors better understand the changes that occur when people become sick.

Scientists say this new reference database of microbes in healthy humans will change the way doctors think about infections, moving from a model of one germ causing disease, to thinking about factors that alter the healthy ecosystem of microbes living in people.

And it will help doctors understand why dangerous pathogens living in people sometimes turn deadly.

Rapid growth in tablet market

The use of tablets is increasing with a study claiming that one in five Americans will use a tablet by the end of 2012.

However, the same study says that retailers are not keeping up with costumer expectations “leaving money on the table”.

The growth in the popularity of the tablet has, perhaps, forced Microsoft’s hands with the software maker expected to announced its own version of the tablet in a couple of days, according to online reports.

But with Apple’s iPad owning 91 per cent of the tablet web traffic, will Microsoft be able to shake up the tablet market? Its anybody’s guess!

Battle lines drawn in New York large soda ban plan

The battle lines have been drawn and the time for reckoning has come!
In what has become a test case of how America handles its burgeoning obesity problem, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial proposal to ban super-sized colas at local restaurants has won unanimous approval from the city’s Board of Health.
Though a final vote is not scheduled until September 13, a public hearing is scheduled for July 24 as the measure enters a 90-day comment period.
If passed, the ban – the first of its king in the United States – could take effect by March next year.
New York City's Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says the ban has become necessary because the obesity problem has reached crisis proportions and sugary soft drinks bear a disproportionate share of the blame for making people fat.
Obesity kills 5,800 people every year in New York City, the Health Department says. Diabetes, a disease that can be linked to obesity, kills 1,700 more people. An additional 2,600 are admitted to hospital for limb amputations from diabetes complications.
City health officials estimate that treating health problems caused primarily by obesity in New York City costs $4 billion per year.
The ban would apply to any beverage with more than 25 calories per 8 fluid ounces. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are both about 100 calories per 8 ounces.
However, in an alarming development, some New York City Board of Health members went a step ahead and wondered why the city wasn’t going further and limiting portion sizes of other popular high-calorie foods, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Bloomberg's plan has been met with wide opposition by the beverage and restaurant industries.

Andrew Moesel, a spokesman for the New York City Restaurant Association, says: “Some of the board members seemed to think that the proposal didn't go far enough, and I found that very alarming."
He said his organization would consider legal action.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Just what Americans need - pizza vending machine!

Here's something more for New Yorkers to worry about!

After Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed large soda ban comes the news that some Italian company is marketing a machine that can dish out a pizza of your choice in just under three minutes!!

Instant pizza! Untouched by human hands!!

Well, see for yourself...

CARPE DIEM: Markets in Everything: Vending Machine Pizza

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Battle looms over proposed New York soda ban

The proposed ban by New York City on large sodas is sending ripples across the Big Apple ever since the plan was first unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week. Health officials have blasted the critics who have blasted the idea and the issue threatens to erupt into a full-fledged war very soon.

The plan – to limit single servings of full-calorie sodas, sports drinks and other beverages to no more than 16 ounces at restaurants, movie theaters and other public venues – is aimed at curbing America’s obesity epidemic. Vendors face a $200 fine if they violate the ban, which would, however, not affect the size of beverages sold in grocery stores and similar retailers.

Latest statistics show two-thirds of the US population as being either overweight or obese, with officials particularly concerned about rising obesity rates among children.

The proposal will be submitted to the New York City Board of Health on Tuesday. The board will then vote on it after a three-month comment period and, if approved, the ban will be in place early next year.

In the meantime, the issue has generated much heat. In a nationwide American Mosaic Reuters/Ipsos poll on Friday, most Americans said they opposed the plan and don’t see how such a ban could help fight obesity.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they would oppose the introduction of a similar measure where they live, slamming the government’s Big Brother attitude towards dietary choices.

More than 70 per cent of the nearly 1,000 US adults polled also said they did not think the proposed rule would affect obesity rates. About 30 per cent disagreed, saying it could help curb obesity and lower healthcare costs.

At the same time, the majority of those polled said that if faced with a similar ban, they would significantly change their own drinking habits by switching to water, low-calorie drinks or diet beverages, or simply consuming fewer full-calorie drinks.

Fewer than one-third of respondents said they would buy additional servings to compensate for a such a ban. 

Proponents of the ban say sugary drinks, packed with excess calories, are consumed in large quantities. “Sugary beverages are a key driver of the obesity crisis that is killing 5,800 New Yorkers and costing the city $4 billion annually,” claims Bloomberg’s deputy press secretary Samantha Levine.

However, beverage makers defended their products, saying consumers have a right to choose what they drink and that their products are not to blame for the obesity epidemic.
“There is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity,” says Katie Bayne, Coca Cola’s president of sparkling beverages in North America, in an exclusive interview with USA Today.

In fact, she says, from 1999 to 2010 when obesity was rising sugar intake from beverages was decreasing – while sugars from soda consumption fell 39 per cent the percentage of obese children jumped 13 per cent and adults 7 per cent.

American Beverage Association spokeswoman Karen Hanretty also defended the industry’s response and said there was little support for Bloomberg’s proposal. Many people think the plan “has gone too far with a proposal that will do nothing to reduce the serious problem of obesity in America,” she said.

However, Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, said targeting sugar-sweetened beverages made sense because they offered empty calories with no nutritional value.

New York’s health commissioner Thomas Farley can’t understand what the hullabaloo is all about.

“It’s not saying ‘no’ to people. It’s saying, ‘Are you sure? Do you really want that?’” he says. “It’s sending people a message while giving people the freedom to drink as much as they want.”

He said sugary drink consumption might just be part of the US obesity epidemic but maintained that such products were the largest single source of sugar in the diet and had a major impact on health. Reducing obesity by just 10 per cent in New York City would save about 500 lives a year, he added.

He draws a parallel between opposition to the proposed oversize soda ban and the initial opposition faced by the ban on smoking in public. Since the city banned indoor smoking in 2003, the number of adult smokers has fallen from roughly 20 per cent to 14 per cent.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Reasons not to have cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery has been simply defined as the surgical removal or correction of physical deformities. It falls primarily in two categories, each defined by the emotion that drives it.
Reconstructive surgery is a need, for people born with identifiable physical deformities or those involved in horrific accidents.
Aesthetic surgery, on the other hand, is a compulsion, fuelled by an innate desire to “look good/better”. 
There is also a third emotion that has gained ascendancy over the years as far as cosmetic surgery is concerned – obsession. This addiction has been medically classified as body dysmorphic disorder.
It is imperative for anyone contemplating going under the knife to make sure it is for the right reason because of the inherent risks involved. No doubt cosmetic surgery offers a chance to improve looks but it is not without risks and limitations.
Reasons not to have cosmetic surgery include:

How physically close should one get to their pets?

The findings of a survey carried out in the US have thrown up some interesting facts about pets and their owners - data which may very well rekindle a debate that pet owners have been involved in off and on for a very long time - how physically close should one get to their pets.
The poll found that most pet owners in America wouldn't bat an eyelid if, and when, it came to performing CPR on their pets - notwithstanding the fact that these very pets are said to be the largest carriers of diseases and infections.
The survey found that 58 per cent of pet owners - that is, 63 per cent of dog owners and 53 per cent of cat owners - said they would be "at least somewhat likely" to attempt CPR on their pet in case of a medical emergency. Moreover, women were more likely to take matters in their own hands - 65 per cent of women to 50 per cent of men said they'd be "more likely" to give their pets the "kiss of life".
People who shudder at the very thought of the risks to their health the mouth-to-muzzle brigade are exposing themselves to may view the results of the survey as some kind of a revelation but for the pet owners it's just another day at the office - pets are, after all, family to them!
As with any contentious issue there are two schools of thought on this...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Coffee adds years to your life!

There is some good news for coffee drinkers! It seems that not only is there nothing better than a jolt of java to – literally – kick-start your day but it may also perhaps help you live a little longer!
A new study – the results of which were published in a report in the New England Journal of Medicine – has found that coffee can lead to a lower risk of dying from heart or respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, injuries and accidents.
All music to the ears of coffee growers as it comes on the heels of an International Coffee Organization report that showed a 1.7 per cent growth in total global coffee consumption to an estimated 137.9 million bags (of 60 kg each) in 2011. This was against 135.6 million bags in 2010.
The total global annual coffee trade is valued at around $120 billion!
In the US alone, 54 per cent of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. 
The new study flies in the face of earlier research which found evidence that coffee can raise low density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol, and blood pressure and those in turn can raise the risk of heart disease. Besides, in the latest instance no effect was seen on cancer death risk.
The latest study – by the National Institutes of Health and AARP – was the largest ever done on the issue. It began in 1995 and involved AARP members aged 50 to 71 in California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Atlanta and Detroit.
People who already had heart disease, a stroke or cancer were not included. Neither were those at diet extremes — too many or too few calories per day.
Of the 402,260 participants, about 42,000 drank no coffee. About 15,000 drank six cups or more a day. Most people had two or three.
By 2008, about 52,000 of them had died. Compared to those who drank no coffee, men who had two or three cups a day were 10 per cent less likely to die at any age. For women, it was 13 per cent.
Even a single cup a day seemed to lower risk a little: 6 per cent in men and 5 per cent in women. The strongest effect was in women who had four or five cups a day — a 16 per cent lower risk of death.
In the study, it first seemed that coffee drinkers were more likely to die at any given time.
About 13 per cent of men and 10 per cent of women who reported not drinking any coffee on their initial surveys died between 1995 and 2008, compared to 19 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women who’d said they downed six or more cups a day.
But coffee drinkers, it turned out, also tended to smoke, drink more alcohol, eat more red meat and exercise less than non-coffee-drinkers. Once researchers took those things into account, a clear pattern emerged: Each cup of coffee per day nudged up the chances of living longer.
However, it’s unclear what ingredients in coffee could be tied to a longer life.
“We know that coffee has an effect on the brain, so it’s possible that may play a role,” said lead researcher Neal Freedman at the National Institutes of Health in Rockville, Maryland. “Or, it may have an effect on bone health.”
No one knows why. Coffee contains things that can affect health, from helpful antioxidants to tiny amounts of substances linked to cancer. The most widely studied ingredient — caffeine — didn't play a role in the new study's results.
But with so many people, more than a decade of follow-up and enough deaths to compare, "this is probably the best evidence we have" and are likely to get, said Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health. He had no role in this study but helped lead a previous one that also found coffee beneficial.
However, experts sounded a note of caution. More research needs to be done on the subject and until then people should not change their coffee habits based on the findings.
But before you contemplate hitching a ride on the joe express you would do well to remember that findings of all such studies on diet and health are empirical. This means that the results are based strictly on observing people’s habits and resulting health, no clear-cut case of cause and effect can be found.
As they say - there’s many a slip between the cup and the lip!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Any Fizz in New York Soda Ban Plan?

Once again McDonald’s finds itself embroiled in a controversy. And yet again it concerns the issue of rising obesity in the U.S.

The world’s largest and popular fast food chain is up in arms against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to slap a large soda ban in the city. This would see large businesses prevented from selling sugar-filled sodas measuring more than 16 ounces.

This is Bloomberg’s latest salvo in the fight against obesity.

The outlet made its displeasure public in no uncertain terms. It tweeted its response to more than 470,000 of its followers!

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft-drink maker and the most to be affected by the proposed ban, joined in the criticism.

Experts fear that such a ban in New York could trigger similar actions in other cities across the U.S.

A large soda ban will certainly hit both businesses where it hurts most.

While McDonald’s is estimated to derive about 5 per cent of its U.S. sales from soft drinks, Coca-Cola stands to lose much more as it dominates the country’s soda fountains with a 70 per cent share of the market. (Fountain business accounts for about 24 per cent of the 9.3 billion cases of soda sold a year and the total market is worth about $75.7 billion).

Though Bloomberg may seem to have stirred a hornet’s nest, he seems to have been emboldened after prevailing in his earlier initiatives to improve public health, such as banning smoking in restaurants and requiring eateries to post calorie counts.

Over the years, numerous efforts have been made by health authorities in the U.S. to check the spread of obesity and especially to protect children from the harmful effects of addiction to fast food. At one stage, the fast-food chains were urged to voluntarily decrease the size of menu items given their effect on calorie intake and subsequent weight gain.

The response was not too heartening.

Despite McDonald’s efforts to reduce the size of its largest items, its current portions remain much larger than they were in 1955 when first introduced. Its largest soda was 7 oz compared to today’s 32 oz size, and 457 per cent larger! It phased out its 42 oz Supersize following the 2004 release of Super Size Me! which documented filmmaker Morgan’s Spurlock’s 25-pound weight gain from eating all McDonald’s meals for just a month!

Currently, McDonald’s offers four sizes of soft drinks. Two of these – the medium (21 ounces) and large (32 ounces) – are above Bloomberg's proposed threshold for allowable soda sizes.

Given the businesses’ aversion to self regulate – why would anyone want to slay the goose that lays the golden egg – it’s but only natural for authorities to step in and lay the ground rules in what should be a combined and coordinated effort to fight the scourge of the 21st century.

But, as critics point out, there are ways around Bloomberg’s proposed law. For instance,

* McDonald's offers free refills, meaning one can order a small soda and fill it up as many times as he or she pleases.

* A customer can also order more than one small drink and get the 32-plus ounces he or she desires.

All eyes are on June 12 when the proposal is submitted to the New York City Board of Health who will then have a three-month comment period and then vote on the proposal. If approve, the ban would take effect in March next year.

Watch this space!