The federal food stamp program, or as it is now renamed the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) program, funds obesity causing products such as soda according to a research paper published in the American Journal of Public Health. The paper, written by Jonathan D. Shenkin DDS and Michael F. Jacobson PhD, estimates that $4 billion dollars is spent on carbonated soda each year via the SNAP program.
Not only is this a waste of taxpayer money since carbonated soda provides little nutritional value, it also promotes unhealthy eating habits. The paper, titled Using the Food Stamp Program and Other Methods to Promote Healthy Diets for Low-Income Consumers, aims to point out methods to assist low income consumers chose healthy eating habits.
Why subsidize soda when water is available for (near) free? This seems wrong on so many levels.
“The federal government should be doing everything it can to reduce the consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, which promote tooth decay, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases,” said Jacobson. “SNAP should be oriented toward increasing the consumption of good, healthy food. None of the $65 billion invested in nutrition assistance in 2010 should end up paying for Coke, Pepsi, or Mountain Dew.”
Coca Cola Asserts “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.”
Coca cola recently responded in response to a lawsuit saying that they market products with unwarrented health claims with the statement of “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.”
Does this mean that you’d have to be an unreasonable person to think that a product named “vitaminwater,” a product that has been heavily and aggressively marketed as a healthy beverage, actually had health benefits?
Or does it mean that it’s okay for a corporation to lie about its products, as long as they can then turn around and claim that no one actually believes their lies?
Read more at the Huffington Post.
This move is a good one from the standpoint of the “war on soda.” Governments are coming to realize that soda, when consumed excessively, are along the lines of cigarettes in that they are very unhealthy and lead to a shortened lifespan and decreased standard of living.
We applaud San Francisco’s ban on regular soda and restrictions on diet soda and hope to see other municipalities follow suit.
Read more: Sugary-drink ban starts to affect S.F. sites
If the normal health consequences of drinking diet soda weren’t bad enough, now pregnant mothers need to watch their intake in addition to all of the other foods and substances they are told to abstain from.
Researchers studied over 59,000 Danish pregnant women from 1996 to 2002. The women were evaluated during their pregnancy via a written exam, one of the questions gauging their diet soda intake. The expectant mothers who consumed at least one diet soft drink per day were found to have an increased likelihood, 38% more likely, of pre-term birth than the non-diet soda drinking mothers. If they drank four or more drinks per day they were 78% more likely. Those are some pretty scary numbers.
The study was authored by Halldorsson TI, Strøm M, Petersen SB and Olsen SF and is titled Intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and preterm delivery: a prospective cohort study of 59,334 Danish pregnant women. It was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010.
Read more: Midwives Magazine
Kristin has a great post over on her blog titled 10 Reasons Diet Soda Should Not Be Your Friend and is a good overview as to why soda, even diet soda, is unhealthy for you. Thanks Kristin!
One accused criminal from Corpus Christi, Texas has been caught with 33 twelve packs of various soda flavors in the back of his white Ford Explorer. Authorities are calling the accused a “Serial soda thief” who they suspect has been hitting several convenience stores in the area according to The Caller.
The officer was responding to a soda theft at a convenience store (at 5 am no less) but was unable to find the getaway car upon arriving at the scene. The officer then waited across the street to see if the thief would return. A little while later the car returned and the officer matched the description of the vehicle to the one which had fled the scene earlier.
After performing a traffic stop, the officer saw the packs of soda in the car and the accused’s girlfriend copped that he had been stealing soda from several convenience stores. They also found a plastic bag containing pot.
The 38-year old suspect is being held in the Nueces County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.
Talk about a soda habit!
We’ve covered Soda taxes before, but Philadelphia’s recently proposed sweetened drink tax puts it at the forefront of the ‘tax soda’ movement. Mayor Nutter is proposing a 2-cent per oz tax on sweetened beverages. For example a 20-oz bottle of soda would be 40 cents more and a 2-liter bottle would be $1.35 additional.
I am all for taxing unhealthy foods to help subsidize healthcare. But this appears to be a tax meant to help with the actual running of the city budget. What is to stop them from taxing any other type of food? What about a tax for every gram of fat content in a food source?
Although I am not completely against a soda/sugar tax, this does strike me as the wrong way to go about it. If this passes, expect similar ordinances to pass in other major metropolitan areas.
We have a huge food problem here in America when the top several “killers” are food-related. The good news is that we can do something about it. Jamie Oliver gives a motivating talk at TED2010:
Some really surprising information coming out of California. The UCLA Center for Health Policy and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy has released some statistics on the soda drinking habits of Californians. I suspect that these stats could widely be applied to the majority of the US population. Some interesting stats:
- 24% of California adults drink at least one soda or other sweetened beverage each day
- 41% of children between ages 2 and 11 drink at least a soda a day
- 62% of teens drink at least a soda a day
- 13% of 12-to-17-year-olds drink three or more sodas on a daily basis
These stats, from a 2005 California Health Interview Survey, show that soda consumption is widespread in the state. The survey finally found that adults who drink soda or sugary drinks daily are 27% more likely to be overweight.
It looks like the idea of a soda tax is back again, but did it ever really go away? I would hate to tax something that should be regulated by the free market, but this time it looks like the economy and a want for new revenue streams may get the best of us. Hopefully, everyone will benefit by raising some money for the US Government, while reducing sugar consumption. Unfortunately this tax will also impact the largest consumers of soda, which may also be the same citizens who can afford a new tax the least.
Obama has made some comments about a soda tax in an upcoming issue of Men’s Health. In the article, he states that “There’s no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda. And every study that’s been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else“. To counter that, he also states “people’s attitude is that they don’t necessarily want Big Brother telling them what to eat or drink, and I understand that“.
They are also calling this a “sin tax” and putting it in the same category as the cigarette taxes. It should be interesting to see how this plays out in the news media.