sugar tax

Debate over Sugar Tax Heats Up

A soda tax, junk food tax, or tax on other sugar-laden products would greatly reduce obesity and the risk of diabetes and heart disease, researchers say.

Debate over Sugar Tax Heats Up

A sugar tax could force you to skimp on unhealthy drinks.

There's been an all-out assault on soda and other high-calorie, sugary drinks lately, with the American Heart Association releasing its first sugar recommendations and largely blaming soda and other sugary drinks for the obesity crisis. The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council is taking things a step further, calling for a sugar tax on these belt-busting drinks. Sugar tax recommendations from nutrition, obesity, and economics experts are also due out next week.

"A tax will reduce energy intake for all age groups, and will produce reductions in weight and the risk of diabetes. Every scholar in the world knows this, except a few funded by the sugar industry," says Barry Popkin, PhD, author of The World Is Fat: The Fads, Trends, Policies, and Products That Are Fattening the Human Race, professor of nutrition and economics at University of North Carolina, and director of the UNC Interdisciplinary Obesity Center.

THE DETAILS: On average, children and adults in this country drink about 175 calories worth of sugar-sweetened drinks a day. In fact, a study looking at middle-school–aged students over the course of two years found that the risk of becoming obese jumped 60 percent for every additional sugary drink they guzzled a day. Many other studies like these—ones that weren't funded by the beverage industry—have found a positive association between sugar-sweetened drinks (defined as ones containing added table sugar (sucrose), high-fructose corn syrup, or fruit-juice concentrates, and obesity.

In the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council report, experts not only suggest a tax on junk food and sugary drinks that lack nutrition, but also suggest zoning restrictions to keep fast-food joints out of school neighborhoods and regulations to ensure public water fountains are available. "The healthy choice must be the easy choice," says committee chair Eduardo J. Sanchez, MD, vice president and chief medical officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. "Although leisure activities and food consumption are personal matters, local environments influence the choices people make. It's hard to eat fruit instead of chips or cookies when neighborhood stores carry little fresh produce."

WHAT IT MEANS: Chances are you're already paying a tax on your soft drinks, it's just so small you aren’t likely to notice. Thirty-three states tax soda, but the money doesn't necessarily go toward health programs, the way the tobacco tax does. Popkin theorizes that a nationwide tax of 10 to 20 percent of the cost of the sugary beverage could significantly dent obesity rates. He's also working with other countries like Mexico and England to create a sugar tax, and suspects the idea will become law in a half dozen other countries before it becomes mainstream in America. The idea of a sugar tax in the U.S. has been gaining steam. Earlier in the year, then City of New York Health Commissioner (now Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Thomas Frieden, MD, cowrote an article published in New England Journal of Health that argued educational campaigns alone would not be enough to wean people off of sugary drinks. Instead, he lobbied for a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, including soda.

Sugar tax or not, here are some things to consider.

• How about banishing subsidies on trash food? Medical costs associated with overweight and obesity near $150 billion a year, nearly 10 percent of U.S. healthcare expenditures. Half of these are paid through the government's Medicare and Medicaid programs. So why, then, does the government also subsidize junk food and sugary drink ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup? Maybe our cheap food really isn't so cheap. Maybe we're paying a huge price at the expense of our health as the food industry makes us fat.

• Get your neighborhood in shape. The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council report doesn't just recommend a sugar tax and junk-food tax on low-nutrition food, but also provides other suggestions to help local government form communities that will curb the skyrocketing childhood obesity rates. First steps include a community assessment to determine the number and location of grocery stores, fast-food restaurants, vending machines, walking and biking paths, and sidewalks.


Published on: September 10, 2009

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Is this true or just a joke?

Is this true or just a joke? Well, I guess it still depends on how people discipline themselves. Thanks for this by the way. Keep posting! Kyle Thomas Glasser

sugar tax

Why not just cut to the chase ? Lets make everyone go to their doctor once a year and impose a "FAT" tax on anyone over a predetermined index. You WANT Government control ? we can GIVE you government control.

soda tax

Boy are they stretching crop now. OIf they want to tax sugar then put such a high tax on the manufacturer as penalties for using sugar. just like the government did for the EPA and manufacturers for pollution. It is not just sugar that causes obesity. If they want to tax sugar, I have a question. What about alcohol? or any of the other foods that have sugar. Shove this tax on sugar somewhere the sun does not shine and forget about it.

Just say No!

This tax is just a joke, I can't believe that anyone thinks that this kind of discrimation is a good thing. They are selecting sodas this time, but what about the next time. I see a fast food, hamburger and fried chicken tax to be next.

This suggested tax doesn't even tax sugar in anything except in soda. Discrimation is wrong, Just Say No! Hel* No!


if people want to be fat- they will be

sugar tax

NO they should not tax sugar it should be up to the person,what else are they going to try to take away or tax its our life not yours you people need to worry about what your doing to your self and our country and we will worry about our self and our familys

RE: fix the problem

AMEN! Same thing happened to me and my family when we changed our diet in a similar manner.

cereal tax

What about putting taxes on high content sugar while you are at it.

Sugar Tax: NO!

There is NO proof that eating sugar causes diabetes. "Medical experts" change their minds all the time on what is good or bad for you. Remember when everybody switched to margarine, because "the experts" thought it was better for you than butter? Now they know that margarine that contains trans fats is bad for you. Remember when wine was bad for you? Now "they" say that it is good in moderation.

Moderation is the key. People know they need to cut back on sugar. Putting a tax on it will not dissuade people from consuming it. Look how well the cigarette and alcohol taxes work: they don't!

See this for what it is: It's just a money grab. Congress is looking for new ways to get their hands in your pockets. JUST SAY NO!

Sugar Tax: I agree with you

Does anyone remember the American Revolution? There was a sugar tax back then as I recall.

This is stupid. Look at how well the cigarette tax works to discourage smoking: it doesn't.

Remember this: once you have a tax, it doesn't go away. And then money goes to the people who waste it on things we don't want.

Fix the problem

If the government really wanted to help obese people, they would figure out how to make good natural food cost less (ie. stop subsidizing the people making high frutose corn syrup and start subsidizing people who make non-processed food). It is impossible to buy anything these days without corn syrup or soybean oil.. why because they found through studies the more you put in, the more people crave and the more they eat.

Since I've been eating healthy (only fresh fruit/veggies and lean meats, my grocery bill has increased 250%.) Even picking things only in season only helps so much. If they want to tax something, it should be across the board, based on the # of empty calories in the product. They can add white flour to the tax too or as I call it white death..seriously who thought taking out all fiber was a good idea.

Sugar Tax

Sugar has been taxed for thirty years by our Government, by a contrived surcharge of two to three cents wholesale cost per pound above the cost to produce a pound of Corn Syrup. This is to protect agribusinesses and ADM, and other chemical and sweetener producers. They know the Ignorant American Masses will believe anything they are spoon fed from the TV and know nothing talking heads and stick that garbage in their mouths. Now us nonconformist and anyone who is wiser or knows some history is called a Communist by these ring in nose Americans.
Save American Industry- Universal Health Care NOW!

Sugar Tax

In Arkansas they already tax soda to supposedly help offset Medicare costs. If they start taxing the food that we eat what is to stop them from forcing you to only eat certain things. If the government runs the health care then they could turn around and say thats not good for you and deny access to certain things. I see it now, everyone is given a card that they have to use any time they go to the store, get gas for the car or eat out. You are only allowed so many calories a day because the skinny people of the world are running the show now. You pick what you want to eat and scan the item against your card. Oh no, your a fat body you can not have a coke and that bag of Lays potato chips. Lays and coke could be sold on the black market and millions would be made, not for health care but the crooks who are already running the health care system for the government.

Sugar Tax


We should not forget, that a sugar tax does not do anything to educate people or slim them down. It is just another tax for something that should be covered in the existing govt. budget.
The money collected with the sugar tax will just increase the money we already pay on taxes. People will not get slimmer, they just pay more taxes. Will we pay less taxes on water and healthy food or drinks instead - No!

It does not make a difference how you call the additional tax that people will have to pay. The name and cause is just to make it more palatable for people to pay more taxes.

Be it a higher tax for gas guzzling cars, sugar, junk food, or for the green environment. Each of these taxes are an extra income for the government for causes that should already be covered by the existing budget and proper householding.

Or do you think the money will be directly used for this cause? Think twice!


When the "low fat" fad started, they added extra sugar to their products making them even more unhealthy than ever for those with diabetes in the family. Why can't they just let them be normal sugar and "low fat". They don't TASTE better with extra sugar; and I've never seen so many people becoming diabetic!


Who is "the government." By the people and for the people is who they are supposed to be. They allow aspartame and exitoxins in food that are known to cause brain cancer, they have allowed cell phone radiations to damage the populace as well, they allow foods grown with pesticides and foods enhanced with chemical colors to "look nice" and preservatives and chemical additives
to be put into people's bodies and etc etc. So helping people avoid diabetes? What a laugh!

Refined sugar is a white drug and does more than just cause a
propensity to diabetes; however, it is a joke to regulate the
poison a person chooses to ingest and if they really care about your health - what about aspartame! Greed pure and simple. Don't let them make it an altruistic issue. They are about as
altruistic as the old cartoon of the guy with the mustache who comes to take your house.

Corn subsidies

If you apply a tax to products containing sweeteners (most of which contain high-fructose corn syrup and other corn derivatives, not sugar derived from cane or beets), you will be taxing Americans twice: once for the subsidies that they are now paying to agribusinesses to grow corn, and again to alleviate the effects of eating that corn. This makes no sense whatsoever. We need to stop subsidizing corn-factories and start subsidizing diversified, healthy vegetable, grain, and fruit crops.


I have been predicting for a few decades now that as soon as you let the government know that you are ready to let them run your lives the government will take the lead and do just that. When the government decided to ban smoking here, then there, then in restaurants, then bars and now put additional taxes on cigarettes most non smokers applauded as if they had somehow won because they did not like smoking or smokers and a ban or tax did not affect them. Now the tax hungry government is looking for new things to tax. This time it's sugar. Next time it may be alcohol, next it may be junk food in general, then fast food, then topless bars, perhaps movies that the government feels inappropriate. Are these things bad for us? Maybe they are. Does the government have a right to outlaw them or tax them out of existence in order to make a more healthy or moral citizenship? Once you get that ball rolling it's hard to stop. It's kind of like the Taliban when you think about it.


The real problem here is that this is NOT about sugar,it's about MONEY. The government needs to tax something in other to make more MONEY and this is the next step. I use to be a smoker and after stopping I told everyone, "Next, they (government) are going to start on "OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE". So enjoy your sugar while you can. Big Brother is watching....

Sugar Tax

The problem is not sugar; the problem is high-fructose corn syrup.
Why is that other countries (France for instance) eat foods high in sugar but have fewer cases of heart disease and obesity? they put sugar in their food, not corn syrup.

Sugar Tax

The cigarette tax didn't keep people from smoking, what makes anyone think taxing sugar would keep people from buying and eating junk food? I understand the concept, keep people healthier then less insurance costs, but it doesn't work. Whatever happened to the billions of dollars they were supposed to collect on the cigarette tax - where did that go? If they really want to help the general public with regards to diet, they should ban the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup which is in just about every food product bought at a grocery store - that is more of an outrage, you think you're purchasing something relatively healthy only to read the label, and there it is: High Fructose Corn Syrup. The Government should be focused on this issue.

Sugar Tax

This article misses the point. The government should not be penalizing FREEDOM OF CHOICE. This flies in the face of everything this country stands for and the principles we were founded upon. It is the INDIVIDUAL's responsibility to maintain a healthy lifestyle - or not, if they so choose. We have the freedom to be unhealthy in this country, do we not? If you want a nanny state where the government tells you what you can wear, buy, to think, how much to exercise, when to sleep, what job you can hold, how many kids you can have...on and on..then you are in the wrong country my friends.

Sugar Tax

If there is a sugar tax, the proceeds should go toward diabetes research or for healthcare for those who cannot afford insurance. I doubt that the goal of people not eating or drinking junk food will actually happen. People will do what they want. You would not believe how many people come to our food pantry asking for free food with a cigarette in hand. Somehow they can afford cigarettes, in spite of the tax, but not food.

Sugar Tax

How about using government subsidies to decrease the cost of healthy foods?!! Instead of worrying about all the things we shouldn't eat, make it easy - affordable and accessible - to eat healthy foods. Stop worrying about what we should not be doing and encourage people to do what they should be doing.

Sugar Tax

Sugar is not bad - just an excess of it is. Its abuse does not infringe upon anyone else's health the way 2nd hand smoke does, and it's not going to solve the obesity epidemic.
But the WORST problem with this plan is if it actually works and people drink less full calorie drinks! Then they start drinking DIET drinks, with unhealthy artificial sweeteners, which also have been found to encourage people to eat more! TAX diet drinks as much as full-calorie ones if you insist on taxing the latter. I don't think this plan will result in its hopeful outcome, and in fact will make matters worse.

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