The World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that a tax on sugary drinks could help curb global obesity.
My question is this: Would a 20% increase in the cost of a sugary drink impact your decision about buying it?
Our global addiction to sugar, which we support every time we whip out our wallet for another sweet treat, contributes to a myriad of health problems.
- Heart disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Gum disease
- Skin disorders
- Weight gain
- elevated blood sugar
- Insulin resistance
- High blood pressure
- Poor sleep
- Liver damage
- Metabolic disfunction
Yummy, right? Pretty much a list of everything we don’t think about when popping the top of an icy cold soda or ‘sports drink’.
Sugary Drinks are a Problem
The size, availability, and advertising make sugary drinks look and feel like a reasonable option for thirst.
“How could anything so dangerous be so readily available?” you might ask yourself.
The WHO says that unhealthy diets are behind the rise in diabetes, which now accounts for more than 422 million cases and an estimated 1.5 million deaths a year. Their report states that consumption of sugar, including products like sugary drinks, is a major factor in the global increase of obesity and diabetes.
The infamous 64-ounce Double Gulp soda cup available at many convenience stores contains just over 1/2 lb. of sugar! My blessings to your heart, liver, and brain if you choose to do that to yourself.
It’s Worked For Tobacco
There’s nothing simple about this discussion. It’s a mess of politics, government, health, money, and more.
What we can look to, objectively, is math. Does a tax reduce consumption of that which has been proven unhealthy?
“Jeffrey Harris of MIT calculated that the 1982-83 round of tax-driven price increases caused two
million adults to quit smoking and prevented 600,000 teenagers from starting to smoke…We don’t need to have that happen again.” -Phillip Morris Company, 1987
“Together with manufacturers’ price increases in recent years and substantial increases in state and federal taxes on tobacco products, these developments have had and will likely continue to have an adverse effect on the sale of tobacco products.” – R.J. Reynolds in the 10-Q Report, October 24, 2008
Taxing Sugary Drinks is Proving Effective
In 2014 Mexico introduced a 10% tax on sugary drinks which resulted in a 6 percent reduction in consumption by the end of the year. Among poor people, the number of consumers decreased by 17 percent.
I’m not a fan of government intervention into how I live my life. I think that caring about what I put in my mouth should be the last thing on their TO DO list. That said, the rate at which sugar is being consumed is growing at an alarming rate. History shows that a tax will reduce consumption.
The Money Trail of Sugary Drinks
There is a lot of money in sugary drinks. Where there’s money, there’s pressure. And where there’s pressure, we have to make decisions for ourselves.
In the last 5 years Coca-Cola and Pepsi have sponsored 96 national health organizations including the American Diabetes Association and the National Dental Association, whose corporate missions are 180 degrees out of line with Big Soda’s mandate to sell sugar-sweetened beverages.
If the outcome involves your health, trust your gut intelligence and independent research. If Coke and Pepsi are sponsoring health organizations they have a say in the information that’s delivered. And guess what? To them, selling drinks is much more important than the quality and longevity of your life.
There is Enjoyment After Sugary Drinks
It will take a while for your taste buds to recalibrate. I’ve watched thousands of people enjoy water, iced tea, even coffee, after the brain let’s go of it’s addiction to added sugar.
About 1/2 way through your 30 Days Sugar Free challenge, you’ll feel it. And I can’t wait to read your Ah-Ha post or email about it.
Let me know your answer in the places below: Would a 20% increase in the cost of a sugary drink impact your decision about buying it?