Is America headed for a sugar tax?

Is taxing sugar the answer to America's obesity epidemic?

Researchers at Cornell and Stanford universities recently found that taxing sugar before it's added to processed foods would reduce obesity-related disease in the U.S. and decrease caloric consumption by about 18 percent.

Healthier purchasing behavior?

Cornell's Michael Lovenheim and Stanford's Matthew Harding say that this type of tax could change the way people relate to processed foods.

"Nutrient-specific taxes could have an important effect in inducing healthier purchasing behavior among consumers," the team wrote in a January 2014 working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The sugar tax would work, they argue, because processed foods contain high amounts of sugar, fat and salt – all of which would be reduced if consumers were faced with a tax.

"Taxes on nutrients would do much more to support healthier nutritional choices than would taxes on products," said Lovenheim, associate professor of policy analysis and management in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology.

Lovenheim argues that Americans are already paying a "fat tax" for eating unhealthy foods and not exercising enough.

"Obesity-related disease costs American taxpayers and health care consumers more than $147 billion a year," he said. "Taxes on nutrients would do much more to support healthier nutritional choices than would taxes on products."

Source: Science Daily

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