Back in August I told you about the push by some for a junk food tax, which would primarily tax sugary beverages, such as soda and sports drinks. Like most hot topics, the proposed tax has stirred a lot of debate in the nutrition community. For an article in Today’s Dietitian, I was interviewed about my opinion regarding the tax. The article, Proposed Beverage Tax Stirs Mixed Reactions, contains various opinions from dietitians. Below is the excerpt in which I am quoted:
Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN, who has a private practice in New York City, says part of the problem with taxing sugary drinks — or any food for that matter — is that the move does not educate people on making healthy lifestyle changes. “So maybe someone won’t buy a soda because of the cost increase, but instead they’ll get extra-large fries or an ice cream sundae,” she says. “Without teaching behavior modification, we are actually doing a disservice to people.”
You can find the link to this article and more on my Media page.
What do you think about the proposed tax?
I agree that people should be educated but I think adding the tax with a stated reason for doing so will bring awareness to this issue. Cigarettes are taxed like crazy and nasty junk food and soda should be in the same category.
I like the suggested tax. I once had a patient tell me he quite buying cigarettes when they got to .25 a pack. Obviously, that was a very long time ago. He was saved from a lifetime of smoking.
How wonderful would it be to prevent at least some folks from a lifetime of soda? Cost is a big factor, and it might turn the tide of public opinion that soda is necessary for daily living. Soda is only a food-like substance. Fries and ice cream can be real food.
I agree that if the tax detterred people from buying soda it would be a good thing, but like Jessica Setnick says, the people who buy the most soda won’t stop just because of the tax.
And while ice cream and fries are real food, the amount of high fat food that people eat is just as much a cause of obesity and people need to be taught how to make healthy decisions.
Congratulations on the quote!
I agree, people need to be educated instead of fined. Plus it’s not really fair to people that want to be able to indulge every once in a while. Nutritional education is key!