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  • Soda Tax Supporters Are Hard To Find

    Politicians still don’t seem to get it. The vast majority of Americans – 3 out of 5 – don’t support a soda tax. Baylen Linnekin lays out the many reasons why a national soda tax is an unpopular idea in a recent article in Reason –one in which he notes that supporters of the so called SWEET Act are “difficult to find”.

    Americans already believe their elected officials are out of touch when it comes to taxes, yet last month Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) took Congressional tax tone deafness to a new level when she proposed the SWEET Act, a federal tax on sweetened beverages. This national soda tax would add about 50 cents to the average cost of a six-pack soda in the name of “curbing obesity and diabetes.” Studies have shown that soda taxes do very little to decrease obesity.  A recent study done by a health economist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that people substitute other calories when they give up soda. They put down the soda and reach for an extra bag of chips.   

    Research has shown that soda taxes are an ineffective tool for combating obesity. Some untaxed drinks will contain more sugar than those that are taxed. Soda taxes—like lotteries—serve primarily to tax those in lower income brackets. Soda consumption has fallen over the last decade even as obesity has risen. On top of it all, Americans should be able to drink soda, juice, or any other beverage without the government’s judgment or input. We are capable of making healthy decisions for ourselves and our families on our own.

    In the end, only three out of 434 House members supported DeLauro's measure.  The SWEET Act is looking to be as unpopular with the Representative’s Congressional colleagues as it is with average Americans. It seems to be the same few politicians rallying around this notion that soda taxes will somehow cause Americans to lose weight and be healthy. Most people know that this is far-fetched and that balance and education will help solve our country’s health issues, not more (and more and more) regulation.

    Think more taxes – especially taxes on everyday goods like soda – are a bad idea?  Good news, you’re in the majority.  Spread the word. 

  • Bottom Line: We’re Fat because We Don’t Exercise

    In recent years, Americans have developed an obsession with caloric intake and its role in weight loss. But have we coupled that with getting off the couch and getting active?  A new study says…not so much.  Sugar isn’t the big culprit.  Lack of exercise is.    

    A new study published yesterday in the American Journal of Medicine reported that over the last 20 years there has been a sharp drop in Americans’ physical exercise. The Stanford University researchers looked at NHANES data over the last 20 years, and found that the number of U.S. women who reported doing no physical activity went from 19.1% in 1994 to 51.7% in 2010. For men, the number increased from 11.4% in 1994 to 43.5% in 2010. To add to this, body mass index averages have also increased, yet average caloric intake has basically stayed the same.

    The study echoes what we already know. Instead of placing the blame on one single product for America’s obesity epidemic, start educating yourself and your family about balanced and active lifestyles. Diet beverages specifically, are a proven effective tool for weight loss, and calorie information for beverages is more accessible than ever. The Clear on Calories Initiative and Calories Count Vending Program are both designed to help consumers make informed choices when selecting a beverage that right for them.

    Essentially, the obesity epidemic is caused by many factors, and its solution will have to incorporate many different strategies.  No tax, ban, or government regulation will slim our waists. Instead, we need to get moving again America.

  • 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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