Coca-Cola President Argues Against Soda Limit

Last week, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed limiting sugary drinks to 16 ounces. This change would apply to sodas and other beverages sold in NY restaurants, at movies, and by street vendors.

USA Today interviewed Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola's president of sparkling beverages in North America. Bayne's response to the proposal focused on what people "need"-an interesting argument-and the lack of evidence to support the Mayor's proposal.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Q: But critics call soft drinks "empty" calories.

A: A calorie is a calorie. What our drinks offer is hydration. That's essential to the human body. We offer great taste and benefits whether it's an uplift or carbohydrates or energy. We don't believe in empty calories. We believe in hydration.

The Mayo Clinic agrees that soda hydrates; however, nutritionists recommend water over soda.

Q: What do you say to those who believe that sugar - particularly in soft drinks - works on the brain like an addictive substance?

A: There is no scientific evidence.

Discussion Starters:

  • Do your own research about whether sugar in soft drinks has addictive qualities. What do you find? Does it support or contradict Katie Bayne's response that there's no scientific evidence linking the two?
  • Read the entire interview. Overall, how do assess Bayne's responses?
  • Part of the Mayor Bloomberg's argument, in the video above, is that the size of drinks has increased. How do you assess this argument? Is this a convincing data point for his decision to cap the size of soft-drinks?