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Tax High-Calorie Juice Drinks, Soft Drinks

Posted Oct 06 2009 12:00am

The most common way to raise money for any type of federal program is to raise taxes. The way to do that is to pick on things that contribute to health problems, like sugary juice drinks, soft drinks, or any high-calorie drinks that lack vitamins and nutrition, but are packed with calories and add to the obesity problem. Many natural juice beverages that are squeezed directly from the source do not fit into the same unhealthy category as do, for instance, soft drinks. However, it is important to realize that the number 1 contributor to the overweight problem is - soda. Hence the reason for a proposed tax on the 'empty-calorie' liquid. Here's more --

The United States needs a healthcare sweet spot -- a way to raise revenue for needed programs now and a way to lower healthcare costs in the future. Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages -- those with added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or so-called fruit juice concentrates -- would answer that need, and California could be the test case that proves it once and for all.

There is arresting logic to the numbers. There are already minor surcharges on soda in many states -- fractions of a cent per ounce in most cases. That's not enough. What's needed is a penny per ounce added to the cost of sugary beverages. That amount would raise about $150 billion nationally over the next 10 years; in California, it would raise $18 billion. At the same time, the reduced consumption of soft drinks produced by a penny-per-ounce national tax would have direct health benefits, estimated to be at least $50 billion over the decade. This $200 billion could make an enormous difference in addressing the nation's mounting healthcare costs.

The average American drinks 50 gallons of sugared beverages annually. Once dominated by a few flagship beverages such as Coke and Pepsi, the marketplace has exploded into a wide array of fruit drinks, sweetened teas, energy drinks, sports drinks and other versions of sugar water. But two companies still reign: Together, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo control three-quarters of the world beverage market.

Sugared beverages are marketed with fierce precision, using sports stars and other celebrities and promising benefits ranging from increased energy to better memory. Product placements in television shows, such as Coca-Cola on "American Idol," expose vast numbers of children to hidden marketing. Portions are also an issue -- the 8-ounce bottle of the 1950s has morphed into a 20-ounce behemoth. A regular 20-ounce soda contains 17 teaspoons of sugar and 250 calories. ( more from LA Times ...)

Bottom line: Soft drinks are one of the killers of health in this country. Just look at the consumption per capita and you'll realize that making this one change to water could make a big difference in the health of millions of Americans. There are no nutrients or any nutritional value in a soft drink, and not much in the sugar juice drinks made from concentrate. When consuming these liquids you are robbing yourself of the wholesome nutrition that your body needs, namelly from fruits and vegetables. While just taxing anything and everything isn't the answer to better health, a tax on soft drinks just may be the kick that we need to increase awareness of the damaging effects from these types of beverages. Replace your soft drink with water or even fruits and/or vegetables. You'll get rid of one unhealthy product in favor of items that are nutrient filled. This one change can make a BIG difference in the quality of your health, and life!

The Health & Wellness Institute, PC

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