Published 2:50 pm Friday, September 14, 2012

New York City has been put on a diet, and, like every other trend in the Big Apple, the rest of us will be following suit, sooner or later.
The city cracked down on the sale of supersized sodas and other sugary drinks Thursday. Starting in March 2013, any establishment that requires a food-service license will be prohibited from selling sugar-sweetened drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces.
There will be no large sweet tea served at the all-you-can-eat buffet. Of course, there will still be an all-you-can-eat buffet. This is America, isn’t it?
And that extra-large bucket of buttery movie popcorn will have to be washed down with a small coke, or two. Yes, super-sizing food is still acceptable. Whatever could be wrong with your favorite movie snack?
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed the restriction in June.
“We cannot continue to have our kids come down with diabetes at age 6,” he said.
Bloomberg received the support of the city’s Board of Health this week.
Reducing obesity by just 10 percent in New York City would save about 500 lives a year, said the city’s health commissioner.
Since becoming mayor, Bloomberg has banned smoking in public spaces and trans fats in fast-food restaurants. By comparison, the cap on cup sizes seems almost generous. After all, Mountain Dew will still be on the menu. It will just take a few extra rounds (and dollars) to get your fill.
It appears Bloomberg has started down a slippery slope that he is content to ride all the way to its base. As the rest of us sit back and wait for the new law to trickle down to our neck of the woods — and it will — what will Bloomberg zero in on next? He brought up smoking in individual apartments last April. And chances are he is already eyeing that movie popcorn.
This new law will not shrink the waistlines of New Yorkers. After all, they will still have access to Big Gulps at convenience stores and will take full advantage of their waning freedoms to order double bacon burgers and large fries.
It’s the country’s culture that really hangs in the balance. Restrictive measures like Bloomberg’s will eventually change what is an acceptable portion size across the board. “Neverending” pasta bowls at your favorite Italian chain will be one of those stories you tell the grandchildren about the “good old days.”
A Beaufort County resident who is relatively new to this country recently remarked on the irony of what we call freedom.
This country was founded on the inalienable rights of the individual. But we are slowly watching them disappear, one liter at a time.