When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on super-sized sugary drinks, some residents applauded this as an attempt to curb childhood obesity in the city while others were appalled that the mayor felt he could infringe on such a personal decision. Despite the uproar, the ban on sugary drinks is set to go into effect on March 12, but one retailer known for sweet drinks isn’t worried — Starbucks.

In a statement made to NBC News, Starbucks spokeswoman Linda Mills said, “We’re not making any immediate changes.”

Starbucks isn’t making changes because, in the company’s opinion, Starbucks’ drinks don’t fall under the rules set forth in Bloomberg’s ban. Many of the drinks on the Starbucks menu are milk-based while others can be made sweetened or unsweetened based on customer request.  

Mills did note that Starbucks is looking at one specific product line, the Frappuccino, as that may end up meeting the guidelines for a banned drink. A Frappuccino contains milk but also a significant amount of ice, which may drop the dairy content down below the 50 percent threshold.

A 20-ounce Venti Java Chip Frappuccino made with soy is 570 calories; 170 calories are from fat and it contains 88 grams of sugar. For comparison, 20 ounces of Coca-Cola only has 240 calories; 0 calories are from fat and the drink has 65 grams of sugar. As you can see, the Frappuccino has more than twice the calories and about 33 percent more sugar than the bottle of Coca-Cola. Sure, the Frappuccino has fiber, protein and some vitamins, but I would hardly call it a healthy drink.

According to Mills, there are two reasons for the delay in action. First, Starbucks is waiting on the results of a lawsuit filed by the American Beverage Association and the National Restaurant Association. The second reason is that New York City has a three-month grace period on the ban, which will give Starbucks more time to assess the Frappuccino.  

Depending on the results of the lawsuit, New York City customers may have to settle for a Grande Frappuccino. At 16-ounces, the Frappuccino meets the guidelines set forth in Bloomberg’s ban.

via [NBC News]

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