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A Soda Tax Will Work, New Study Says

There's no doubt sodas are bad for us, but while the sugar tax debate continues, you can find healthy soda alternatives. (Take our soda tax poll!)

By Emily Main

tags: NUTRITION



A Soda Tax Will Work, New Study Says

Don't wait for a soda tax; cut back on sodas and choose the ones that offer great taste without loads of sugar.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Sugar taxes seem all over the news lately, as cash-strapped cities and states try to figure out how to get more money. And a new study from the American Journal of Public Health suggests that they actually do get people to drink healthier beverages. Whether you agree with the idea of a sugar tax or not, everyone craves a soda now and then. So we dug up a few healthy soda alternatives that may get the surliest of politicians to change their tune.

THE DETAILS: The beverage choices researchers tested their theory in the cafeteria of Brigham and Women's Hospital during a five-phase study. Phase 1 was a baseline period in which the prices of all regular sodas, fruit juices, sugary waters, and regular bottled water were posted, and Phase 2 included a price increase of 45 cents on the soft drinks but not the water. During Phase 3 the prices went back to normal. In Phase 4, the authors posted educational items informing people that they could lose up to 25 pounds in a year by skipping one soda per day and switching to diet soda or water, and in Phase 5, the educational literature remained posted and the prices of the regular soft drinks were increased again by 45 cents.


They found that during Phase 2, the sales of regular, high-calorie drinks dropped by 26 percent, while the sales of diet drinks increased by 20 percent. The educational campaigns in Phase 4 didn't influence drink sales at all, but when they were combined with the price increase in Phase 5, sales of regular drinks fell by 36 percent, and the sales of diet drinks increased by 14 percent.

WHAT IT MEANS: This study shows that sugar taxes, while unpopular, may actually work in getting people to switch to healthier alternatives. And many sodas are, the authors point out, pretty unhealthy stuff. Adults can consume 230 calories per day from sodas, and research conducted as part of the Nurse's Health Study found that drinking a single soda every day of the week added 10 pounds over a four-year period and increased the risk of developing diabetes by 83 percent. Another British study looking at daily soda consumption linked it to an increased risk of heart disease. Other studies have found that drinking just a half a can per day can increase your risk of overweight or obesity by 26 percent. Diet soda isn't much better, as it can increase your preference for other sugary foods and make you crave high-calorie cereals, breads, and desserts. Other research suggests that people overcompensate for the calories they're not getting in soda and consume more high-calorie foods, putting them at risk for obesity and diabetes.

Published on: June 22, 2010
Updated on: June 23, 2010



More from our Authors

Learn how much happier and healthier you can be WITHOUT sugar ruining your life!

This is such a great resource

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It’s the old what goes around comes around routine.
Micheal

Soda Tax... lts All Wrong......

l totally disagree on any more taxes period. l'm tired of our Govt. and Congress coming up with assinine ideas for creating more tax money for them to just keep spending.... Times are tough, its about time Congress/Govt finds a way to cut its spending, like every citizens is doing.. this Soda Tax is just another way of them worming around finding new costly ways of taking our money.
lt is NOT THE GOVT'S JOB.. TO TELL US WHAT OR HOW TO EAT, DRINK OR DO WITH OUR LIFES.. KEEP OUT OF IT... THEY TAX EVERYTHING NOW AS IT IS..

Agree with The Dona

Yes, subsidies are the real evil. Deal with those, and the price of corn-syrup products would skyrocket.

But with all the farm-state votes in jeopardy, I don't expect either elimination of subsidies nor soda taxes any time soon...

I do have a question: your recommendations include drinks with no calories nor artificial sweeteners. How are they sweetened? Has the FDA finally backed off their stupid stance (driven by the artificial sweetener lobby) on stevia? Or is some other non-nutritive natural sweetener being used?

Soda Tax

So first we pay to subsidize the Corn growers....and now we are taxed not to drink it. Cut the subsidies and make the product more expensive to drink in the first place. No more cheap corn and soy. Subsidize fruits and vegetables!!!

more and more and more taxes!

Did taxes on alcohol and tabacco work? Taxes are just a way to put more $ in gov't pockets.

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