– Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON – A day after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Health Department went to court to defend its proposed cap on the sale of supersized sodas, a published study has offered evidence that Bloomberg’s plan would reduce average calorie intake among those most likely to buy large drinks, and would have its greatest effect on overweight and obese kids.

The study, conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, also found that low-income consumers were no more affected by a portion cap than were those of higher income.

The research was published Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The researchers presumed that 80 percent of patrons of food-service establishments who would normally buy a sweetened soda in a container larger than 18 ounces would respond to the portion-control measure by buying a 16-ounce drink instead.

The remaining 20 percent would purchase two 16-ounce drinks, an end-run that would result in more calories consumed.

If such a cap were to extend across the country — an unlikely prospect — and 80 percent of consumers responded to it by buying smaller drinks, the researchers projected that each American child would reduce his daily caloric intake by an average of 6.9 calories, with an average 6.3-calorie daily reduction for every American man and woman.