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Taxing Fizzy Drinks: Enough to Curb Sugar Intake?

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So, I just read about the UK’s planned tax on fizzy drinks and it’s not a bad idea. Everyone knows sugar in big quantities leads to a host of health problems like obesity and type 2 diabetes so in a way it’s a poison. Why shouldn’t it be taxed?

But I feel it’s a half-measure. According to economists — so, in theory — if the price of fizzy drinks goes up by 10%, consumption will drop by 10-12%.

I’m not sure this is exactly how it works in practice. Is the tax high enough to dissuade soda lovers from buying the highly sugary drinks? Even if it did, they could still get their sugar fix somewhere else, since this tax doesn’t apply to fruit-based or milk-based drinks.

I also have to agree with the argument put forward by the fizzy drinks industry: the increase of sugar and calorie intake in kids’ diet is not the result of fizzy drinks alone.

What about all the sugar in sauces, dressings, and processed foods we buy? Should these be taxed too? I think the way to go — even if it sounds a bit far-fetched— is to impose a limit on sugar content in foods and drinks across the whole food industry.

Can you imagine less sweet tomato sauces, biscuits, cereal, bread, and salad dressings? Our palates would soon get used to less sugar and our bodies would be thankful for it!

The next thing to tackle would be artificial sweeteners…


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