Recently, the Canadian Senate proposed a tax on both sugar-sweetened beverages as well as beverages with no or few calories. Macleans, a Canadian weekly magazine, says this proposal is misguided policy that won’t do anything to improve public health.
“As with bans on plastic water bottles and shopping bags, a soda tax offers politicians the appearance of taking action while doing demonstrably nothing about the underlying complaint,” writes Macleans in an editorial.
Discriminatory taxes on common grocery items like beverages will only distract people from real and comprehensive solutions to address the complex issue of obesity.
As the editorial points out, “After decades of being told what to eat and what to avoid—and watching this advice reverse dramatically from year to year—Canadians have simply tuned out most government food advice. There is value in standardized nutrition labels and other passive forms of dietary information, but only to the extent this allows individuals to make their own decisions on what to eat.”
Instead of trying to dictate what people put in their grocery carts, the government’s efforts would be better spent educating people about the importance of balancing all calories in the entire diet, not just one small portion of it. That way, consumers can decide for themselves what’s right for them.