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A Soda Tax is not the Answer

Rosanne Rust, MS, RDN, LDN

 

Proposed soda taxes have been a hot topic lately, with the latest being discussed in Vermont. Studies consistently disprove their effectiveness, so what will help to combat America’s obesity problem?

While some obese individuals may report an excessive intake of sugary beverages, it certainly is not the only issue with their dietary intake. Obesity is a complex issue with many variables and singling out soda will not help improve public health. In lieu of passing along the tax to consumers, I suggest utilizing the nutrition education resources already available. No matter how the food supply is manipulated, eating well will always come down to the individual’s choice, so only the ability to make an informed choice will have a positive effect on national health.

My approach to healthy eating involves including healthy foods that you and your family enjoy, and offering appropriate portions based on age and activity. You can keep the treat foods you like in moderation, while focusing on what you should be adding to it:

  • Fresh fruit: Add berries to your morning oatmeal and pack a banana for a mid day snack.
  • Low fat Dairy: Use low fat milk to create creamy sauces making vegetables and other side dishes more enjoyable. Milk, as well as being a good source of vitamin D, is packed with protein and calcium.
  • Vegetables: Try cooking them in a variety of ways. Roasting fresh cut veggies with olive oil and garlic is one of my favorites. Fresh, frozen or canned: There’s really no such thing as too many vegetables.
  • Lean Protein: Lean beef, pork, fish, eggs, and skinless poultry are good sources of protein to include in your diet. Plant proteins are important to – so add some beans whenever you can. Add a small serving of these protein foods to each meal, to balance calories and keep you satisfied.

 Let’s work together to educate our children, families, and friends on ways to improve our overall diet and exercise regimes. It’s our right to choose what we eat and drink.

 

In addition to being the mother of 3 sons, Rosanne has nearly 30 years of experience in the food and nutrition field. She is the coauthor of several books, including DASH Diet For Dummies®, which all share her philosophy of balancing healthy eating with exercise and an enjoyment of life's little pleasures.


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