Kudos to UCLA dietitians Dana Hunnes and Erin Morse for acknowledging that soda taxes can be an effective public health strategy.
- “They are really among the worst things we can drink,” said Hunnes, senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. “They are not only empty calories, but they also provide no beneficial nutrient intake whatsoever.”
- “Drinking sugary drinks can not only lead us to consume more calories than we would have, but they can also be cause for concern with regard to diabetes. “The insulin response may in fact make us hungrier afterward,” Hunnes said.”
- “We know that education has mostly failed,” said Hunnes, who is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Fielding School of Public Health. “Educating people to drink fewer sugar-sweetened beverages only works to a point. After that, taxation on an unhealthy product — along with putting those taxes toward public health programs — would help far more.”
- “Indeed, nutritional choices are very personal, which may explain why new regulations on food aren’t taken lightly. But, Hunnes said, this is a risk we need to take. “Sometimes it takes an unpopular decision to better people’s health.”
After recent embarrassing reports of health professionals being paid by the soda industry to oppose soda taxes, this is refreshing, encouraging, and welcomed.