First, he tackled trans fats. Then, he tried to sock it to salt. Now, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is shaking down sugar.

If Bloomberg gets his way, restaurants, fast-food outlets, stadiums and street carts will no longer be able to sell sugar-sweetened pop, sports drinks and iced teas in sizes over 16 ounces.

Problem is, aside from the Big-Brother-Bloomberg-ness of it all, that this is a relatively limited ban.

Most convenience and grocery stores, for example, would be exempt—which means that 7-Eleven’s fabled Big Gulps, which come in sizes from 28 to 64 ounces (364 to 744 calories), would be safe, at least for now. (The city’s high schools breathe a collective sigh of relief.)

And presumably most of Starbucks’ Venti-sized confections should be exempt, since they’re largely coffee based, and have more than 51% dairy. (The fact  that a Venti White Chocolate Creme Frappuccino made with whole milk and whipped cream clocks in at 510 calories seems to have escaped the mayor’s notice.)

And that “healthy” smoothie you’re enjoying? It’ll still be legal—but a 22-ounce Peanut Butter Moo’d at Jamba Juice will pack in a whopping 770 calories and 20 grams of fat. (That’s the calorie equivalent of 1.5 Big Macs. Just so y’know)

What about, rather than limiting what restaurants can sell and consumers can choose, Bloomberg decided to concentrate on some of the more systemic causes of obesity: little access to fresh food in New York City’s poorest neighbourhoods and reduced physical education programs in schools? What about a public awareness campaign emphasizing that pop and other sugary treats (including fruit juice, which, although healthier than soda, are still full of sugar) are just that: treats, not food.

Of course, from a green perspective, anything that limits the proliferation of plastic bottles isn’t completely negative. Soda from a fountain has a considerably smaller environmental impact than a bottle. One point in favour of the move.

It will be interesting to see whether the move actually works. Trans fats were banned in the city four years ago, but determining the public health results are difficult. It’s not unrealistic to speculate that this latest ban may well have no effect on the city’s 58% of adults who are currently overweight—which means that the City of New York may well be spending money for nothing.

What do you think of Bloomberg’s latest move? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Image credit: Steve Snodgrass