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Regulating the Way to Obesity: Unintended Consequences of Limiting Sugary Drink Sizes

By Wilson Brent M., Stolarz-Fantino Stephanie and Fantino Edmund

Abstract

We examined whether a sugary drink limit would still be effective if larger-sized drinks were converted into bundles of smaller-sized drinks.In a behavioral simulation, participants were offered varying food and drink menus. One menu offered 16 oz, 24 oz, or 32 oz drinks for sale. A second menu offered 16 oz drinks, a bundle of two 12 oz drinks, or a bundle of two 16 oz drinks. A third menu offered only 16 oz drinks for sale. The method involved repeated elicitation of choices, and the instructions did not mention a limit on drink size.Participants bought significantly more ounces of soda with bundles than with varying-sized drinks. Total business revenue was also higher when bundles rather than only small-sized drinks were sold.Our research suggests that businesses have a strong incentive to offer bundles of soda when drink size is limited. Restricting larger-sized drinks may have the unintended consequence of increasing soda consumption rather than decreasing it

Publisher: Public Library of Science
Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061081
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