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Back to Basics: Nutrition Education

Carol Berg Sloan, RDN, FAND

I grew up in El Monte, a suburb of Los Angeles and worked as a consultant to the school district there for many years, specifically in nutrition education for K-8 schools. Just after I left this position in 2012, the El Monte City Council placed an initiative on the ballot to support a soda tax. I was not surprised when it was rejected by a 77% vote. Soda tax initiatives continue to pop up all over the country, despite their failed record to actually improve public health as is their alleged purpose. Unfortunately, most tax proponents continue to ignore this fact.

Recent “added sugar” data from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans show that a variety of foods and yes, beverages, contribute added calories to the American diet. However, singling out one item in the grocery cart to tax just doesn’t make sense to me, as is reflected in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans report. According to their recommendations, overall dietary balance is what matters.

We need to empower consumers with science based nutrition information so they can make their own decisions about what they choose to eat and drink- not by arbitrarily taxing their everyday food and beverage choices. Utilizing resources such as the “Calories Count” initiative, which makes calories clear and easy-to-understand, is a great place to start.


Carol Berg Sloan RDN, FAND is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and independent food and nutrition communications consultant in Long Beach, California. Carol has served as a delegate to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a committee member of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Nutrition Education for the Public and Dietitians in Business and Communication Dietetic Practice Groups.

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Tags: Health CA Blog Balance
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Life in Balance: The 80-20 Rule

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN

I was talking with a colleague who was lamenting about how many people feel guilty about their food choices, and she asked me what could be done to help people feel better about their choices.

For me, the best way to approach this guilt about food and beverage choices is to teach people about the importance of balancing their calories with their activity, not obsessively restricting or taxing their choices through government regulations.  

The more I thought about her question, I thought about the 80-20 rule I follow. Make 80 percent of your food and beverage choices healthful ones. Allow the other 20 percent to provide enjoyment. This approach frees people from perfectionism and deprivation, and allows some liberty and flexibility.

A recently published study showed that women who feel guilty about their food choices report less control over their eating and are less able to maintain their weight. Worry, concern, and guilt are not helpful when it comes to managing your eating and your weight, but having a strategy is helpful.

When I grocery shop I focus on filling the cart with healthy essentials—lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, cheese, yogurt, nuts, whole grain breads, tortillas, and pastas, and some meat, poultry and seafood. I may also throw in some chocolate milk, potato chips, gelato, or a new flavor of diet soda for my husband and me to try. And if I’m planning a vacation road trip, I'll buy a bag of Crunchy Cheese Puffs, my all-time favorite snack food that's a wonderful source of vitamins F and P (F for fun, P for pleasure!).

So next time you are in the grocery store or at a restaurant, know that you have the options and information you need to make the choices that are right for you and your family – most importantly allow yourself to choose some foods and beverages because you want and enjoy them. 

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, is an award-winning dietitian/nutritionist (RDN), farmer’s daughter, and published author who is inspired by farmers, flavor, and fun! Having had Type I diabetes since age 7, Amy is living proof of the power of mindful choices when it comes to health and well-being.

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Tags: Health National CA Blog
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A Nutritionist’s School of Thought

Carol Berg Sloan, RDN

I recently went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was spectacular, with a million gallon shark tank, kelp beds, and several smaller tanks. These smaller tanks were filled with sardines swimming in “schools” with perfect synchronicity. Whether this was for protection, temperature control or a genetic trait, I found it fascinating how they traveled as a group, literally following each other blindly.

As a clinician, I of course compared this phenomenon to humans and how we also like to congregate and “follow the leader”. To connect the dots back to nutrition and health, many times consumers will listen and then follow the advice of a few, without investigation or scientific reasoning. A timely example is the issue of soda taxes or “sin” taxes.

A vocal minority push forth the initiative of taxing soda with the supposed good intention of health benefits (reducing obesity) down the road. Unfortunately extenuating factors aren’t taken into consideration on the impact of such a tax. How will it affect small business, families and communities? Who will really benefit? Where will collected taxes go? Will these taxes really make a difference on health? Recent research has revealed that these taxes won’t impact consumer health, will hurt businesses, and are actually detrimental to communities when consumers will shop elsewhere.

The American public is thirsty (pun intended!) for nutrition education and they want to make informed decisions on what they eat and drink. Who doesn’t?  Let’s provide them with this knowledge utilizing programs such as Mixify or Clear on Calories. We forget what was shared by the great Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”  Let’s educate, not regulate, consumers so they can make decisions based on science and rationale not hype and personal agendas. My goal is for families to take the lead, not “follow”.

 

Carol Berg Sloan RDN, FAND is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and independent food and nutrition communications consultant in Long Beach, California. Carol has served as a delegate to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and as a member of the Academy Positions Committee and Finance and Audit Committee.

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Living Well with Options

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, Carmichael, California

I celebrated an important anniversary earlier this month, the anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 1979. I’ve not only lived but lived well with diabetes for 36 years, and there are many factors that contribute to my good health and happiness along the way—including the variety of food and beverage options all around us that promote good health.

I first need to recognize the love and support of my family. My dad had Type I for 56 years. My mom has been living with Type I for 30 years. Yes, she was diagnosed after I was, which has led to a few family jokes about how contagious diabetes must be. It’s not, but my parents’ positive attitudes about living well with diabetes certainly have!

I also need to appreciate the important role healthcare professionals have played in my life. So many have been kind, respectful, and treated me like an individual. They relied on good science to give the best care, but they also relied on good sense to give the best advice based on my personality and lifestyle choices.

And finally, I need to thank the companies that produce foods and beverages with low and no- calorie sweeteners. Drinking a diet beverage is not only an appealing choice for me a few afternoons a week, but I appreciate all of the research that supports the role of diet drinks in healthful and balanced diets, including a recent review article published last month in Current Obesity Reports.

The author evaluated data from observational, laboratory, and intervention studies of humans that looked at relationships between low- and no-calorie sweeteners, dietary intake, and weight. Observational studies can provide some insights into associations (not cause & effect). Laboratory studies can provide a glimpse into relationships at one point in time. Intervention studies, in particular randomized, controlled trails (RCTs), provide the strongest data for relationships between dietary intake and health outcomes.

Science has again supported -- through numerous intervention studies in both children and adults -- that that low- and no- calorie sweeteners tend to reduce intake of sugar-sweetened foods, and to facilitate weight loss and management. This confirmation is beyond great news for anyone, like me, looking to make informed decisions rooted in science not trends. Cheers to good health and the enjoyment of a wide variety of foods and beverages!

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, is an award-winning dietitian/nutritionist (RDN), farmer’s daughter, and published author who is inspired by farmers, flavor, and fun! Having had Type I diabetes since age 7, Amy is living proof of the power of mindful choices when it comes to health and well-being.

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Veggie Halos and Soda Demons

Kim Galeaz, RDN, CD

 

The over-hyped health halo for fruits and vegetables is no more warranted than the demonization of soda and all things sugar. I may be a registered dietitian, but I simply refuse to single out any one food, beverage or food group as the shining star or scapegoat for your health status. Which is why I found myself quite frustrated recently on two specific occasions, while reading an article on Market Watch about soda taxes and while sitting in the dentist’s chair getting my teeth cleaned. 


The dental hygienist asked “how can I get my daughter to eat more vegetables?” While I didn’t reply “you can’t, only she can,” I did my best to provide tips on offering - not forcing or mandating - kid-friendly veggies like edamame in the pod, strips of red, yellow and orange bell peppers and sweet potato oven wedges. Her daughter will eat corn, green beans, and mashed potatoes, so I had to set the record straight and explain all three were indeed nutrient-rich vegetables and not “bad” choices. Serve them often I encouraged.

 

Then I read the Market Watch article about the new soda and sugary beverage tax in Berkley, California.  I detest taxes on soda and beverages as much as I detest labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” Every food, every beverage, can - and should in my opinion - have a place in your diet if you choose. No forcing, mandating, regulating or legislating how you will spend your daily calorie budget. Soda tax supporters hope more expensive sugary beverages will lead to less consumption, even no consumption, and result in improved public health.

 

But eliminating soda and sugary beverages from your diet will not save your health any more than over-emphasizing fruits and vegetables.  No one food or beverage alone is ever responsible for poor or good health. It’s the overall balance that makes a difference. Enjoying the right amount of all nutrient-rich food groups for your calorie budget, adding a daily treat if you choose (whether it’s a soda, milkshake, brownie or chips) and balancing all choices with ample daily activity. It’s your choice.

 

 

 

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Orange County Register: Soda Tax is Regressive, Won’t Work



A recent opinion piece in the Orange County Register notes that what is most troubling about the new Berkeley, CA soda tax is that, “… the tax is regressive, since the poor consume a disproportionate amount of sugary drinks, and that the tax revenue will almost certainly be wasted on unrelated programs or used to pay city employees’ pensions, is the idea behind the soda tax that people are too stupid to make decisions about what to put into their bodies.” Berkeley’s soda tax is also inconsistent as their 1-cent-per-ounce tax excludes items like, diet soda, chocolate milk, 100 percent fruit juices, and alcohol. Last time we checked, a 12 ounce apple juice has exactly as much sugar as Coca Cola along with extra calories – so where’s the logic?

Time and time again, Americans tell the government that they do not want soda taxes and do not believe that they will impact their food and beverage choices. A November 2013 Pew Research Center poll found that a whopping 64 percent of Americans oppose raising taxes of sugary soft drinks or unhealthy foods. Most recently one of America’s most liberal cities, San Francisco, failed to reach the two-thirds threshold needed on Proposition E, which would have imposed a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, yet politicians still think that taxes are the solution. So don’t let nearby Berkeley fool you. Berkeley is not a trend, it’s a political statement by food activists.

Berkeley’s questionable priorities are not consistent with the rest of the country where soda taxes have been dismissed in 31 various cities, states and localities. Americans know that the government cannot legislate health and together we will continue the fight against these failed policies.

As the OC Register put it, "If government can tax and regulate what you drink with your lunch, what freedoms are safe from nanny-state intervention?” Something to think about. And fight against.

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Tags: National CA Taxes BeverageTax
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Real world issues and nutrition education

Carol Sloan, RD

Nutrition consultant to the Food and Beverage Industry

 

Last Thursday I followed the elections with the rest of America, and was eye-pulled by Measure D, the “soda tax” initiative in Berkeley. The majority voted “yes” for additional taxes (1 cent per ounce) on sodas and other select sugar sweetened beverages, to be directed to the distributor and likely be passed onto the consumer.

Having worked in a school district for several years with the charge to decrease type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and obesity in K-8 students, (not all too different from the concerns of my Bay area neighbors…) never did nutrition and health educators point to one food or beverage as the cause for these health issues.  Instead we taught portion control, label reading, and to enjoy consuming a variety of beverages including water. We shared the details on the sugar content of sodas but also talked about cookies, chips, candy, and how to fit all foods and beverages into a regular meal plan. I could see the students listening intently, absorbing this knowledge to take home to share with their families. These kids were learning to make their own informed decisions on what to eat and drink -without added costs to persuade their purchases or the government in their groceries.

I believe that the proponents of Measure D had good intentions, but sin taxes are not the way to go. Limiting calories in general is a tip I share with clients, but I would never discourage the consumption of any specific food or beverage group. Nutrition education that encourages portion control, daily physical activity, and a balance of calories is what can, and does, work.

I’m sure the proponents of Measure D are still celebrating their “success” in Berkeley.  However, I see the majority of the population in small towns and cities across the nation trying to manage daily groceries on a budget, to get their kids to school on time, and to provide a healthy dinner after working a long day. It may be too late to educate Berkeley, but let’s celebrate and support these families by continuing to provide nutrition education about soda and other drinks utilizing sources such as the Clear on Calories initiative or the Calories Count initiative.


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The Politics of Food Choice

Amy Mydral Miller, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Carmichael, California

I was raised on a farm in North Dakota. My dad was a Democratic farmer, my mom a Republican politician. Political issues were the cornerstone of any family conversation at the dinner table. Today I’m a registered Independent voter, free to make the best choices based on my values and beliefs versus party politics.

Freedom of choice is an essential American value, one I cherish. And freedom of choice is just as important to me when it comes to politics as when selecting foods in a supermarket or on a restaurant menu.

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and I believe in helping people make informed choices. I’m not in favor of taxing specific foods or beverages, but rather in favor of providing information that helps consumers make informed choices when it comes to nutrition, physical activity, and creating environments that support healthful eating and physical activity.

I was concerned but not surprised to see that voters in Berkeley, Calif., passed a soda tax. I’ll be interested in seeing if the tax has any significant impact on public health. The causes of obesity and diabetes are many, and so are the options for improving public health. I am doubtful that the penny-per-ounce tax on soda will see much improvement in health.

If activists in Berkeley want to promote the health and wellbeing of all citizens, I’d recommend they look at actions like increasing PE class requirements in public schools, improving access to and safety in city parks and recreation centers, re-paving cracked and broken sidewalks, improving street lighting to improve the safety of walking to/from public transportation, or adding short-term bicycle rental stations throughout the city.


You know, now that I think about it, the soda tax may actually do some good; it may encourage people to choose to walk or bike to Albany, Oakland, Emeryville, or other neighboring cities to buy their soda. 



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Laws Won’t Cure Obesity

Even though SB 1000, California’s soda warning label bill, failed, it created a ton of misleading buzz in the media regarding sugar-sweetened beverages as the cause of America's diabetes and obesity problems.

Health, whether the health of an individual or the collective health of millions of Americans, is complex and the result of multiple factors  Yet politicians are trying to put all the blame on one single product. Liz Applegate, senior lecturer in the nutrition department at UC-Davis, points out in her  Sacramento Bee op-ed, that this scapegoating is grossly misleading. Consumers haven’t and shouldn’t believe the overly simplistic – and highly inaccurate – explanation for obesity that some politicians want to push on them – that sugar-sweetened beverages are the main cause of their health problems and that somehow taxing or banning these products will solve these issues.

Today, beverage companies have put a number of low- and no-calorie beverage options on the market that consumers can choose for themselves and their families. In fact, the use of low-calorie sweeteners can actually help in weight management, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The bottom line is, instead of misleading consumers and imposing ridiculous taxes and bans on everyday household products, politicians should invest in educational programs and initiatives that would help people make informed decisions when they are grocery shopping.  For instance, did you know that during the past four decades as obesity rates climbed, the American food supply added an additional 445 calories per day. While fats, oils and starches comprised 376 (84%) of these additional calories, sugar – from all sources – played a relatively minor role, contributing only 34 calories (9%).

Government, please just leave the grocery shopping to us. We don’t need you to make these decisions for us.     

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Tags: CA
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Warning labels dead, taxes being resurrected

What’s in a person’s grocery cart should be their own business – a truth that California lawmakers agreed with on Tuesday.

California’s bill to require a warning label on sugar-sweetened beverages failed in committee. This is yet another loss for politicians aiming to regulate personal decisions.

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) notes in food industry publication Food Safety News that the bill is, “…an honorable effort, but I feel it’s ineffective.” Gonzalez, who noted that soda manufacturers create important jobs in her district, argued that labeling one type of product but “ignoring others” does not adequately address the problem of diabetes and called for a holistic approach instead.

California’s legislature has spoken and recognized that  government regulation over education is not a real solution if we want to get serious about reducing or preventing obesity.

We’ll keep you posted on efforts around California to limit choice and mislead consumers.

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Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Legislation Won’t Work

Today’s Los Angeles Daily News features an op-ed by Susan Neely, President and CEO of the American Beverage Association, which rightly points out that educating people about balancing calories and activity is the best way to help them make decisions regarding their health, not scaring them into making the choices bureaucrats think are best.

As Neely pointed out, California’s Senate Bill 1000, which has currently been defeated in the state Legislature, would add “safety warning labels” to sweetened beverages, stating that the products “contribute to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.” Unlike front-of-package calorie labels, however, the warnings don’t provide useful information that will lead to better health outcomes. Many supporters of SB 1000 said the warning labels have little to do with whether it will actually achieve better health outcomes for Californians, rather it’s mostly about garnering headlines. California voters deserve more transparency from politicians than a law that won’t actually work.

Singling out just a few products won’t help boost consumer health, but education, diet, and exercise will! Remember: What you eat and drink is your choice. Don’t let politicians decide what goes into your grocery cart.

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Tags: CA
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Asian Business Association Opposes SB 1000

Today’s Asian Journal highlights an opinion piece by Dennis Huang, Executive Director and CEO of the Asian Business Association, that describes the negative impact Senate Bill 1000 would have on hundreds of products, including popular drinks imported and sold by thousands of Asian American business owners and entrepreneurs in California.

“It is the unintended consequences of SB 1000 that should have Asian business owners concerned – particularly those businesses that sell imported beverages like Ramune soda and certain fruit beverages like mango and coconut drinks, which contain sugar. Those products, even though they are not produced in California, would require warning labels on the cans and bottles in order to be sold in California.

 It’s not clear if the elected officials in Sacramento considered this fact before writing the bill or if any of them had consulted the Asian business community to avoid this type of unintended consequences.

Government mandates to put warning labels on our beverages will do nothing to decrease obesity in California or teach people about healthy lifestyles. Rather, the labels will be costly to business and expose many restaurants and grocers to civil penalties.”

Read the piece in its entirety here.

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Warning Labels Won’t Solve Anything

Today’s Monterey Herald Editorial exposes the common sense truth behind why slapping a warning label on thousands of sugar-sweetened products across California (here’s a complete list) isn't the silver bullet to health awareness and improvement. As the Herald astutely notes, "Legislators can easily fixate on passing new laws. Putting another law on the books isn't always the best solution. A warning label on sweet drinks won't solve the problem. Education and better public awareness on many fronts might.”

We agree that education and public awareness is the key to improving public health, however, the issue with this measure is that it will not change consumer behavior as a result. The Herald also notes, "Childhood obesity is an issue far more complicated than slapping warning labels on soda cans. Obesity stems from a wide variety of issues — from diet to exercise as well as other lifestyle choices."

In fact, we couldn't have said it better ourselves - “…instead of relying on simple solutions like warning labels, our elected officials would be better off working with educators, non-profits and even large food and beverage corporations to raise awareness of healthy practices — not just diet choices, but exercise as well.” 

Read more from The Monterey County Herald here.

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: soda taxes do not decrease obesity

Despite previous efforts by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to fund soda tax efforts as a means to cut obesity, a recent report released by the organization casts serious doubt on the impact soda taxes have on decreasing obesity levels. Instead, the report found that soda taxes cause the population to replace calories from sugar-sweetened beverages with calories from other sources, thereby resulting in no measurable impact on overall health.

This marks the second such report by the influential health organization debunking the arguments that soda taxes will reduce obesity.

As noted by the Washington Examiner, this report “could be a major blow to liberal and progressive state and local leaders who believe that high soft-drink taxes will instantly cut obesity, especially in children. It also undercuts social advocates who believe it is up to lawmakers to take over for parents and steer the nation’s children on a path to healthy living.”

The discredited claim that soda taxes decrease obesity serves to underscore our motto at Californians for Food and Beverage Choice that taxes and regulations don’t make people healthy — diet and exercise do! In fact, we highlight some of the same conclusions on letsclearitup.org HERE.

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Warning Labels on Soda? California’s Newest Crazy Idea

Could you imagine picking up your favorite beverage and seeing an alarming warning label akin to those found on cigarettes? That’s what one Californian politician has just introduced in the legislature, S.B. 1000. State Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) has proposed labeling soda cans with warnings that claim the beverages contribute to “obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

Let’s take a look more carefully at the numerous “health concerns” that would be cited on the warning label”

First, obesity. Obesity is a serious epidemic plaguing millions of Americans. The condition of obesity has multiple risk factors, including genetics, age, stress, and even lack of sleep. To place the burden onto one product is not only counterproductive, but wholly irresponsible.

As well, the claim linking diabetes to soda is remarkably fragile. According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors, not soda.  In addition, while being overweight increases risk, a diet high in calories from either sugar or fat, can contribute. However, regular exercise and moderation are key to combat the risk of diabetes.

While these health conditions are serious, the bill proposed by Senator Monning is an extremely sensationalist proposal, and the lack of credible science behind his bill is troubling.

Obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay are medical issues that need thoughtful and legitimate consideration and study if we are going to tackle them. Senator Monning’s will only feed the alarmist hype surrounding soft drinks and further scare consumers without changing their habits. 

(Photo credit to Kevin Wong)

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Tags: CA
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Proposed CA Soda Tax Fails for 4th Time. Time to Find REAL Solutions to Obesity.

For the fourth time since 2010, a tax on sweetened beverages like soda, fruit juices, teas and sports drinks failed to pass either a legislative or ballot initiative vote in California.

Senate Bill 622 (Monning), a $2 billion statewide “soda tax,” failed to pass today out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, meaning the bill has no chance of becoming law this year. Senator Bill Monning proposed similar legislation in 2010, which also failed to pass out of committee.

There’s still time for politicians in the state’s capitol to draft a new proposal to tax soft drinks, but it too would likely go down in defeat – just like all the others.

In 2012, voters in two California cities overwhelmingly defeated ballot measures to tax sweetened beverages, despite histories of supporting local taxes: 

  • Richmond, Calif. is a city outside of San Francisco where Democrats outnumber Republicans by roughly 7 – 1 and the city’s voters traditionally support new taxes. In fact, they passed three local taxes on the Nov. 2012 ballot. But they opposed Measure N by 67 percent, which would have placed a penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages.
  • El Monte, Calif. is a city outside of Los Angeles with a history of supporting local tax increases. In 2008, voters passed a ½ cent sales tax increase, making their local tax rate one of the highest in the nation. But they opposed Measure H by 76 percent, which would have placed a penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages.

Over the past several years, approximately 30 states and cities across the country have proposed or introduced beverage taxes.  All have failed.

We agree that obesity is a serious and complex issue.  However, it is misleading to suggest that soft drink consumption is uniquely responsible for weight gain. In fact, only four percent of calories in the average American diet are derived directly from soda. A regressive tax on soft drinks won't make Californians healthier, but it would increase their cost of living with higher prices at the grocery store. 

It’s time for California politicians to focus on real matters of concern to Californians – like creating job opportunities – rather than counting the calories they consume each day and recycling failed tax proposals.

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San Jose Mercury News Says "No" to Beverage Taxes

Check out the latest San Jose Mercury News editorial against beverage taxes!

As this opinion correctly points out, other states (most notably Arkansas and West Virginia) have passed similar taxes and yet continue to rank among the most obese states in the nation! In fact, Arkansas which passed a "soda tax" in 1992, saw its adult obesity rate increase from 17% to 34.5% over a 20-year period!

We agree with the Mercury News that "To really make a difference in the obesity trend, lawmakers need to look more broadly at its causes..."

After all, obesity is influenced by a multitude of factors- not the least of which are age, genetics, gender, lack of sleep, physical activity, among others according to the Mayo Clinic.

In 2013, several news outlets editorialized against these kinds of policies that burden small businesses and consumers. With this latest editorial, we're off to a great start in 2014!

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Tags: CA
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Two Beverage Taxes Introduced in San Francisco

Weeks ago, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener announced plans to introduce a 2-cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in the City by the Bay. And not long after, another San Francisco Supervisor doubled-down with his own proposal to tax soda and other sweetened beverages sold within city limits.

The idea of taxing beverages in California is nothing new- it’s an old idea that has been proposed and rejected time and time again throughout the state. This year, a proposal to tax these types of beverages statewide fizzled in the Legislature. And last year, voters in two California cities, Richmond and El Monte, overwhelmingly rejected local beverage taxes at the polls

At 2-cents per ounce, these new proposals would clock in at twice the tax of the rejected Richmond and El Monte proposals. 

In order to qualify for the ballot in the November 2014 election, the proposals will require a majority vote from the Board of Supervisors. 

Instead of limiting consumer choice by taxing common grocery items, San Francisco elected officials should focus on issues important to the everyday lives of their constituents like homelessness, crime and the cost of living.

As much as these Supervisors claim that such a tax will fight obesity, we know the truth: that obesity is a complex issue that can't be solved by singling out one food or beverage. It just won't work.

California voters have said time and again that they don't want politicians telling them what to eat and drink. Supervisor Wiener's proposal is little more than a money grab that has failed several times across the state and country.

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California Newspapers Say Taxes Are Not The Solution To Obesity

Newspapers throughout California are making waves speaking out against the “soda tax” proposed by State Senator Bill Monning. This tax would raise the price of over 350 products across the state- making it harder for small businesses and working families who are already struggling to make ends meet.

 

Here are just some of the headlines:

 

 

 

 

 

This is the second time a tax like this has been introduced in Sacramento, even after voters continue to express widespread opposition. Similar measures in the cities of El Monte and Richmond, California have been defeated by overwhelming margins.

 

When it comes to fighting obesity in America, most agree that imposing new taxes on foods and beverages is not the answer. This is a challenge that can only be addressed through education- not regulation.

 

What do you think?

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Bill Monning’s Proposed Soda Tax Dies in Committee

Written by Sara Rubin, Monterey County Weekly

No need to uncork Champagne; beverage industry leaders might rather pop sodas to celebrate the defeat of State Sen. Bill Monning's, D-Carmel, proposed soda tax in the California Senate Committee on Appropriations Thursday.

SB 622 would've placed a penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in California, generating an estimated $1.7 billion annually to fund children's nutrition and phys ed programs, intended to battle obesity in California.

Appropriations held the bill back due to the start-up costs to the Board of Equalization of administering a new tax. That means the bill can still be revived next year.

“I remain committed to enacting SB 622, as it will improve children’s lives and significantly reduce the amount Californians will pay to treat chronic diseases,” Monning said in a statement.

Monning proposed a similar tax as an assemblyman about two years ago, which similarly never advanced to a floor vote. He expressed optimism that this time around it would be different.

“It’s a little bit of a different playing field now,” Monning told the Weekly.  

The beverage industry has rallied against sugary-drink taxes, leveraging the American Beverage Association PAC to battle two 2012 local ballot initiatives that would've taxed soda, in the cities of El Monte and Richmond. (Voters defeated both.)

Appropriations Committee Chair Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, reported a $1,000 contribution from the lobbyist California Beer & Beverage Distributors in 2011.

American Beverage Association Spokesman Chuck Finnie says the tax would be less effective than supporters have portrayed it would be, because it would tax distributors, who may not pass the full penny-per-ounce on to consumers. Instead, they could absorb that cost by increasing the price of other products, or laying off workers, Finnie says. "The argument that a tax like this is go to change consumption habits is ridiculous."

That hasn't stopped local efforts to curb soda consumption, though. As reported by SFist, the Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution proclaiming June, July and August as a "Soda Free Summer" countywide.

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Tags: CA Taxes
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