The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has announced a new advertising campaign designed “to educate New Yorkers about the potentially serious health effects of consuming sugary drinks.” With the tagline “Pouring on the Pounds,” the health department’s latest installment features subway advertisements and a new TV commercial, the latter of which has sparked debate over its allegedly graphic content, including a close-up of a diabetic’s decaying toes. According to a January 31, 2011, press release, the 30-second spot aims to illustrate “how a daily routine of just a few sweetened drinks can cumulate to a whopping 93 packets of sugar by the end of the day.”

“Too many sugar-sweetened drinks are fueling the obesity epidemic. Obesity and the serious health consequences that result are making hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers sick or disabled,” said New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. “This new campaign shows how easy it is to drink a staggering amount of sugar in one day without realizing it. We hope that this campaign will encourage people to make the simple switch to healthier alternatives such as water, seltzer or low-fat milk. If this campaign shifts habits even slightly, it could have real health benefits.”