Nutrition-wise blog

Soda tax: Should sugar-sweetened beverages be taxed?

By Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. October 17, 2009

A recent report in "The New England Journal of Medicine" proposes a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages — drinks with added sugar in the form of sucrose (table sugar), high fructose corn syrup or fruit juice concentrates. Why? The average American consumes about 175 calories daily in sweetened beverages. It only takes 100 extra calories a day to gain 10 pounds in one year. You don't have to be a scientist to see the association here.

Why pick on sugar-sweetened beverages? Sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The soda tax is intended to decrease consumption and thereby decrease obesity-related health care costs. Revenue generated by the soda tax would fund health initiatives such as childhood nutrition and obesity prevention programs.

Public opinion polls show increasing support for food and beverage taxes that generate revenue for health promotion and obesity prevention programs. Do you agree? Disagree? Why?

As you can imagine, with so much at stake beverage manufacturers are making their opinions known. You the consumer have a stake in this too. Let your voice be heard.

To your health,
Katherine

Oct. 17, 2009