Blog | Thursday, September 17, 2009

Will taxes make us skinny?

Probably not, concedes an article in the NEJM calling for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Efforts to discourage people from drinking caloric beverages have usually not resulted in significant weight loss, their analysis of the literature concludes. But a soda tax is still worthwhile, in their opinion, because it can reduce the degree of weight gain and provide funding for other public health efforts. Think of it like the tobacco tax. Will drinking a Coke soon carry the cost and stigma as toting pack of cigs?

Not if the soft drink manufacturers have anything to do with it, reports the New York Times. Obama may like the idea but it's going to be a hard sell, given the level of organized opposition. The opponents of the soda tax are calling themselves "Americans Against Food Taxes," the NYT says. The group's name might hint at the difference in understanding that has led to this conflict--do they really think that soda is a food?