by Marion Nestle
Apr 3 2010

Price influences purchases of sodas and pizza

If you are wondering why the idea of soda taxes causes so much controversy, try this: research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine estimates that a $1.00 price increase on soda and pizza would reduce daily calorie consumption by nearly 200 per day and would help people lose weight.

Or, as USA Today puts it, an 18% increase in the price of soda would be associated with a weight loss of 5 pounds per year.

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  • nycmom

    Everytime I see the anti-soda tax commercial currently running which depicts a mom unpacking her groceries and complaining about how much the soda tax would cost her family (and, heavens forbid, that it would also apply to lemonade or something like that), I think that the commercial should depict a mom complaining about the soda tax with two obese kids (like the thousands of obese kids I saw at a recent trip to Disneyworld) in the background, sitting at the kitchen table, drinking soda and lemonade. That would be truth in advertising.

  • Exactly why a soda tax would be beneficial to America as a whole…sure it won’t be the solution to our obesity epidemic, but it certainly won’t do any damage. Taxing soda really isn’t much different than taxing tobacco. People will still drink it like people still smoke, but it will help those few teetering on quitting to quit.

  • Lisa

    Perhaps they should stop subsidizing corn, and high fructose corn syrup. But failing that, taxing soda to get people to stop drinking it would be good. Soda was only allowed as a treat as a kid.

  • tmana

    Based on my (adult) sister’s consumption, I’d expect the mother to be complaining that she can’t afford to pack a fruit in the kids’ lunch box (or afford to make them anything at home for dinner) because the price of soda has gotten so high… so they go out to McDonald’s and eat from the dollar menu because it’s cheaper.

  • I don’t think it will really change anything. Like cigarettes to nicotine addicts, the obese want their fix of sugar. Addictive behavior is the same, there are just different ways to satiate it.

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  • Very reluctantly, I have to agree, totally, with David.

    There are many things that encourage us to eat more (just read Food Politics, Mindless Eating, the Portion Teller and In Defence of Food to get an idea of what), but the pyramid of overeating starts somewhere and the evidence is leading us to question the addictive traits we have around certain foods for clues of where to find the smoking gun.