The reason for all this supersizing is basic economics. When you go to a McDonalds or Wendy’s, the cost of serving you is pretty much fixed because what they have to spend on the food is almost negligible compared to what they pay for their workers and floor space. However, if they can get you to pay, say, 25 cents more for 5 cents worth of soda, the franchise owner earns a tidy profit and you walk out the door thinking you’ve gotten an absolutely fantastic deal by paying only a few extra pennies for a drink that’s as big as your head.
As a result, we can no longer gauge what’s an appropriate amount of calories we should be drinking. The average American guzzles 52 gallons of soda, sweetened fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened tea and coffee per year. These drinks account for a third of the 156 pounds (pounds!) of added sugar each of us consumes on average each year.
The ban on large drinks, on the other hand, could reset our notion of what a normal beverage serving looks like, and that could make all the difference.