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  • Don’t Buy the Hype: Soda Taxes Don't Solve Obesity

    Americans for Food and Beverage Choice

    There’s a lot of misinformation out there about soda taxes, and politicians’ false promises are not helping cut through the confusion. In part two of our five-part series, we'll take a look at how these grocery taxes affect public health.

    Will a soda tax solve obesity? No. It’s completely misleading to suggest that soda intake is a standalone risk factor driving obesity, or other complex health conditions for that matter. CDC data clearly shows that as soda intake has declined, obesity rates have continued to rise. In other words, soda is not the culprit some claim. Also, historically, soda taxes have not helped health. When it comes to weight gain and obesity, there are factors we cannot control (i.e., genetics) and ones we can (i.e., overall diet and activity). This issue is obviously bigger than a single source of calories. That’s why claiming this tax is a cure-all is so very misleading.

    Stay tuned for more misguided motives behind beverage taxes.

  • You Can’t Eat That! And Other Bad Advice

    Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, FAND

    I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was seven years old. Along with the diagnosis came a lot of well meaning advice from family members and friends.

    The most commonly offered advice was “You can’t eat that!” This would happen when I’d have cake at a friend’s birthday party or I’d drink a soda when my blood sugar was crashing after basketball practice. What these people didn’t understand is that I was choosing what was best for me, and I was balancing my intake of carbohydrates from all forms—including cake, cereal, bread, pasta, fruit, fruit juice, and soda. I was and still am managing my diabetes well.

    Managing diabetes is all about balancing what you eat with your activity level, stress, medication, and sleep. It’s an on-going process, something I work on every day. I became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) so I could help others learn how to balance their food and beverage choices.

    It bothers me that people demonize certain foods and ingredients. Right now, many people are demonizing not only sugar but also low-calorie sweeteners.

    Research shows that added sugars can be part of a balanced diet. If you’re consuming sugar as part of a healthful diet including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy, that’s okay. And if you’re choosing low-calories sweeteners to control calories as part of your healthful diet, that’s okay, too. Research shows low-calorie sweeteners are a safe, effective tool for weight management.

    Instead of focusing on single ingredients or foods, shift your focus to the overall balance of your food and beverage choices. An occasional soda is okay. A daily diet soda is fine. Instead of agonizing over specific foods or ingredients focus on the overall quality of your diet.

    You know what’s best for you. Now go forth and choose it!

     

    Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, FAND, is a registered dietitian nutritionist who has lived well with Type I diabetes for more than 38 years. The owner of Farmer’s Daughter Consulting, Inc., she consults with a variety of food and beverage clients on issues related to nutrition and health. 

  • Don’t Buy the Hype: Soda Taxes Are Not What Politicians’ Promise

    Americans for Food and Beverage Choice

    There’s a lot of misinformation out there about soda taxes, and politicians’ false promises are not helping cut through the confusion. In our five-part series, we'll take a step back and look at the real motives and outcomes tied to taxes on grocery items that many Americans choose to enjoy.

    Why do politicians propose targeted taxes, singling out items such as soda?

    Faced with the aftermath of exorbitant government spending, politicians often look for ways to drive revenue. Rather than repaying debt, this revenue grab is often meant to fuel new areas of government spending. Making the case for new taxes and new spending is not easy, so politicians often paint a stark picture to rationalize the need for yet another tax. This is certainly the case with soda taxes. Politicians have historically vilified this product in order to advance their tax agenda – despite longstanding science that proves soda is safe.

    Stay tuned for more misguided motives behind beverage taxes.

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