A Weighty and Taxing Issue – The Deadline for Responding to Plans for a Sugar Tax Is Around the Corner

By Kerry Cullinan, Daily Maverick

A struggle is developing between the multibillion-rand food and beverage industry and the government over how best to address our fat problem. But address it we must – 70% South African women and 40% of men were overweight or obese by 2014, according to The Lancet medical journal.

Obesity is driving an epidemic of diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks and even certain cancers. When these noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are combined with HIV and millions of adult South Africans on antiretroviral treatment, we are heading for a potentially massive health disaster.

View Post Share

The Beverage Lobby Spent $10.6 Million to Kill the Soda Tax — and Failed

By Holly Otterbein, Philadelphia Magazine

When Philadelphia City Council debated Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed soda tax earlier this year, the beverage industry outspent supporters of the tax 5-to-1 on lobbying.

The American Beverage Association shelled out $10.6 million in 2016 to try to persuade lawmakers and members of the public to oppose the tax, according to lobbying reports released today and in April. The Coca-Cola Company spent $50,000. Philadelphians for a Fair Future, a pro-soda tax group founded by allies of Kenney, forked over $2.2 million. The American Heart Association spent an additional $334,000 in support of the tax.

View Post Share

New Concerns about Type 2 Diabetes in Kids

By SugarScience.org Editor

A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has shown that nearly 1% (0.8%) of teenagers in the United States—about 334,752 kids—now have diabetes. While that may sound like a low number, it’s nearly triple the previous estimates, which were 0.34% or about 142,227 teens. Diabetes can’t be cured. It can only be managed. Our nation is looking at a future in which ongoing care will be needed. If nothing shocks us out of “diabetes denial,” numbers like these should.

What’s more striking, though, is what the report says about who these teens are. The study, conducted by scientists at the National Institutes of Health and Social and Scientific Systems in Maryland, showed stark differences by race/ethnicity. Diabetes prevalence was 0.6% in White teens (6 per 1, 000) but more than twice that -- 1.5% -- in Blacks (15 per 1,000) and 0.9% in Mexican-Americans (9 per 1,000).

View Post Share

Two Sodas a Day Raises Cancer Risk, Study Finds

Drinking lots of soda and other sugary drinks linked to gallbladder cancer, study shows.

By Allie Shah, Star Tribune

Here’s one more reason to consider cutting back on the soda: drinking too many sugary drinks on a daily basis has been linked to gallbladder cancer.

Swedish researchers studied the eating and drinking habits of more than 70,000 adults, keeping an eye out for cancer diagnoses. They found that people who downed two or more sodas (including ones with artificial sweetener) or juice beverages a day doubled their risk of developing gallbladder tumors compared with people who abstained from sweetened drinks.

View Post Share

Steph Curry Backs Brita -- Not Coke or Pepsi

NBA Star Signs Three-Year Deal With Water Filtration Brand

National Basketball Association superstar Stephen Curry has a new beverage endorsement deal -- and it's not with Coke, Pepsi or another soda. Instead, the Golden State Warrior is backing water filtration brand Brita.

Mr. Curry signed a three-year deal to "endorse the brand's water filtration products and the benefits of water in general," according to a statement. He will be featured in TV ads, PR and social media campaigns.

View Post Share

Chef Jamie Oliver Calls For Sugar Tax, While Mexico Eyes Soda Tax Cut

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is urging the British government to be bold with a sugar tax, which Mr. Oliver says would make a big difference in the health of British children. “My suggestion to the Government is that we should implement a three-year sugary drink tax of 20% per litre, which is seven pence on a regular can of soda, and that we should absolutely interrogate it and put a sunset clause on it.”

He expressed confidence that the tax would cut soda sales. But he said if it didn’t work, the tax should be dropped. He is lobbying hard to give the tax a try. It fits his Naked Chef persona, stripping down recipes and presenting the bare essentials. He has tried before for a soda tax. Earlier this year, he added his own ‘sugar tax’ on sweet drinks in his restaurants when the U.K. government refused to introduce one.

Mr. Oliver’s version was an add-on charge of 10 pence (about 15 cents) for every drink containing added sugar. He’s helping to underscore the dangers of sugar consumption and sending a message to U.K. government to get off its bum and take action against childhood obesity. Mr. Oliver has spoken passionately about his 10 pence ‘sugar tax’ on fizzy drinks:

"I’ve seen first-hand the heartbreaking effects that poor diet and too much sugar is having on our children’s health and futures. Young children are needing multiple teeth pulled out under general anaesthetic and one in three kids [is] now leaving primary school overweight or obese. Soft drinks are the biggest single source of sugar among school-age kids and teenagers and so we have to start here.”

Mr. Oliver says that his four children drink mainly water or diluted fruit juice. He believes in healthy drinks, such as putting freshly cut lemons, oranges or strawberries into iced water. The U.K.’s David Cameron has refused to introduce a soda tax. But this time Mr. Oliver might be getting more traction. Meanwhile, Mexico’s soda tax is under siege, with Mexico’s congress being accused of caving to the soda industry.

View Post Share

UCSF Study Links Soda To Premature Aging, Disease, Early Death

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — A new study looked at whether America’s thirst for soda speeds up how the body’s cells age.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco used a sample of 5300 healthy adults. Dr. Elissa Epel worked on the study for 5 years.

“We think we can get away with drinking lots of soda as long as we are not gaining weight, but this suggests that there is an invisible pathway that leads to accelerated aging, regardless of weight,” said Dr. Epel.

CBS SF Bay Area, October 18, 2014

View Post Share

Soda Tax is a Social Justice Issue

Soda tax is a social justice issue - San Francisco Bay Guardian www.sfbg.comWe are fighting for a soda tax because public health leaders have sounded the alarm that sugary drinks are a serious threat to our public health. Now is the time to get the word out about the latest facts that tell the story.

Our work on the issue began when community leaders and medical experts started educating us on the impact of sugary drinks. The resulting legislation that we crafted along with four other members of the Board of Supervisors will not only slow soda consumption, but it will fund the anti-hunger and physical activity programs we dearly need.

Most folks know soda is bad for you, but not how bad. Many are also unaware that Big Soda is specifically targeting communities of color and children. Our task is to spread the word about the health disparities this creates.

San Francisco Bay Guardian, Tom Ammiano, John Avalos, and Eric Mar, March 11, 2014

View Post Share

Soda Tax Myths: Are Beverages Being Unfairly Targeted?

Beyond Chron Square Logo www.beyondchron.orgFebruary wasn’t a good month for Big Soda. As proposed soda tax measures moved forward in San Francisco and Berkeley, and the concept gained traction in Illinois and Connecticut, it seemed like each week brought a new study showing that sugary beverage taxes do not cause job losses, or that such taxes do result in consumers making healthier beverage choices. Scientific research is undermining all of Big Soda’s traditional arguments against a sugary beverage tax.

Meanwhile, legislation designed to help consumers make better beverage choices and lead healthier lives is clearly gaining popularity with voters. A recent Field Poll showed that 74% of Californians surveyed support putting health warning labels on sugary beverages, while 67% statewide and a whopping 78% of SF Bay Area residents support a soda tax to benefit health, nutrition and physical activity programs, as has been proposed for both SF and Berkeley. As frustration mounts within the ranks of Big Soda’s shills over their inability to control public opinion, can anyone blame them if they occasionally crack?

Beyond Chron, Dana Woldow, March 3, 2014

View Post Share