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When Mayor Bloomberg proposed a restaurant ban on soft drinks over 16-ounces, he cited research by Cornell professors Brian Wansink and David Just as the “science” behind the ban. Now, both professors have taken to the Atlantic to explain why Hizzoner got it all wrong.
Wansink and Just have performed studies showing that when you randomly give people large sizes of food like popcorn and French fries, they overeat. But New Yorkers aren’t having big drinks randomly served to them; they’re actively seeking them out. In fact, Wansink and Just’s research suggests that Bloomberg’s approach will backfire: when you overtly deny people the portions they want, they tend to eat more for the rest of the day. “People reason that because they were forced to be good for one meal, they can splurge on snacks and desserts at later meals.” (ht: Volokh Conspiracy).