Tax proponents often falsely claim that taxes on common grocery items like beverages are the cure all to public health challenges like obesity. In a recent article for Reason.com Guy Bentley breaks down why a recent Harvard study claiming the health benefits of taxes “clashes with reality” and “there is not yet a single real world example of a soda or sugar tax reducing obesity.”
Bentley points out in Mexico, the 1-peso per liter tax on sugar-sweetened beverages fell short on its promised public health benefits. Instead of improving public health, the tax disproportionately hit the poorest in the country but has done essentially nothing to reduce obesity. Researchers in a study conducted in 2015 at the Mexico Institute of Technology’s Center for Economic Research (ITAM) found beverage calorie consumption per person declined by just 1 percent per week.
The bottom line is we cannot tax our way to better health. "There is no real world evidence that they have the slightest effect on calorie consumption, let alone obesity. They are stealth taxes which allow governments to pick the pockets of the poor," says Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs.
Instead of pushing for regressive and ineffective taxes, communities need education and information on how to maintain a balanced lifestyle. What it all comes down to is learning how to manage your calories from both food and beverages.
To learn more about why government regulations are not the solution to obesity check out YourCartYourChoice.com.