Weight Loss: Taxing Sweetened Beverages May Reduce Obesity, Says Study

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Many factors play a role in developing obesity in a person. It could be genetic or lifestyle or eating habits. There are many foods that are fattening and over-consumption of them can lead to layering up of fat in the body. Sugar is one such food that loads up on empty calories with little nutritional quality. Unfortunately, sugar constitutes a major part of our daily diet. Desserts, milkshakes, smoothies, aerated drinks – we consume such sugar-laden drinks almost every day and these foods and drinks only worsen the situation in people already suffering from obesity or are on the brink of developing it. It takes a lot of self-control and dedication to keep away from sweet foods and drinks but here’s a new scientific study that may make this job easier.

The research was conducted at New York University, Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California, Berkeley. Its findings were published in the journal Science. As per the results, levying taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) may prove to be an effective approach to check obesity and other weight-related health problems. It is based on the fact that the harm from sugary drinks comes from the high sugar content and high taxes may prevent people from buying them. Also, these drinks like soda, cola drinks, bottled iced tea and canned coffee, vary in sugar per unit volume.

(Also Read: Higher Consumption Sugary Drinks May Increase Cancer Risk: Study)

Obesity can be checked by low consumption of sugary drinks

The researchers used standard economic and health models in the US to analyse the effects of taxes proportional to the sugar content in a sweetened beverage.

(Also Read: Obesity Diet: What To Eat And Avoid To Manage Obesity)

One of the lead authors, Anna H. Grummon, PhD said, “The seven U.S. cities that tax SSBs use volumetric taxes of 34 to 68 cents per liter of liquid (1 to 2 cents per ounce) instead of, say, 0.5 cents per gram of sugar. These volumetric SSB taxes are poorly targeted to the actual health harms from SSBs. We estimate that a simple design change—taxing the amount of sugar in a drink, not the volume of liquid that accompanies the sugar—could boost a SSB tax’s health benefits and overall economic gains by roughly 30%.”

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