FoodNavigator-USA.com asked its readers for their views on whether taxing sugary soft drinks could help combat obesity after the Institute of Medicine became the latest institution to recommend the move.
Below is a selection of attributed responses:
“The increase in sugar-sweetened beverages is the one food or drink that all researchers not funded by industry have shown is linked with increased obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. I have shown in several studies that taxation will reduce intake, cut caloric intake, reduce weight gain, and cut the risk of diabetes. To cut medical costs and improve health this is a very important option for us to undertake.”
Dr Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition, University of North Carolina
“It is absurd to tax soft drinks to change people's behavior. How about we tax people for being lazy? I would suggest a tax on those who are overweight. This might encourage them to get out and do something about it rather than blaming the soft drink or fried food that they are choosing to consume. Stop passing the buck Americans - step up and take responsibility for your situation.”
Jamin May, director, audit and accounting, McGladrey & Pullen
“Children should be outside playing after school and on weekend rather than blaming soft drinks. Texting and emailing are taking away the physical activity they should be receiving. A limited amount of soft drink is okay.
“The government should not be controlling our diets too. Parents should be more responsible.”
Joan Coletta, director of sales, Importers Service Corporation
“The tax should be on sugar, not the product. While this may be regressive, it may change the eating habits away from empty calorie food. The same thing should be applied to fatty food, like chips, donuts and cookies – tax the fat content, not the product. Maybe give a tax credit for more healthy foods like fresh fruit or high fiber foods.”
George Virgil, sales development manager, Genencor
“Sounds like another ill conceived stateist notion. Let the market place deal with this. Actually, if you look, it is – ever hear of Zevia soda pop? This is the high quality, cost-effective market response you get when you leave the market place alone! Maybe you have heard the expression "laissez nous faire"?”
G.W. Eckrich, managing director, SummitStevia.com