Let's Ask Marion: Is NY's "Fat Tax" On Soda A Good Idea?

(With a click of her mouse, EatingLiberally’s kat corners Dr. Marion Nestle, NYU professor of nutrition and author of Pet Food Politics, What to Eat and Food Politics:)

Kat: New York Governor David Patterson's new budget plan calls for plumping up the state's coffers by slapping a so-called "fat tax" on non-diet sodas. This measure would reportedly raise $404 million in much needed revenue--and would presumably encourage some folks to cut back on sugary beverages. What do you think: is this a win-win, or a nanny state no-no?

Dr. Nestle: The governor must be desperate for money to take on soft drink lobbying groups, who reporters tell me, are already in Albany hard at work. This is an old idea, first attributed to Kelly Brownell at Yale and Michael Jacobson at Center for Science in the Public Interest, who based it on the success of high taxes in reducing rates of cigarette smoking. With cigarettes, there was a clear link between cost and usage. The higher the cost, the fewer people smoked.

The governor is picking on soft drinks for good reason. They have calories but no other nutritional value, which is why CSPI calls them “liquid sugar.” Much evidence demonstrates that children and adults who habitually consume sugary soft drinks take in more calories, have worse diets, and are fatter than those who don’t.

But my understanding is that the tax will be 15%, meaning just 15 cents more for something that now costs a dollar. It’s hard to believe that 15 cents will make a difference in consumption levels. Cigarette taxes are much higher. Also, the tax will not apply to milk, juice, diet soda, and bottled water. I suppose this means that juice drinks and sports drinks are also excluded, sugary as they are.

So I’m a bit worried about the slippery slope. Juice drinks also predispose to overweight, and that’s no surprise. It’s easy to take in lots of calories from juices if you drink enough of them. And then there’s the diet soda paradox: people who drink diet sodas also are fatter, perhaps because they retain the taste for sugars and make up the calories in other ways. It looks to me like this tax is more about raising money than preventing obesity. But it’s an interesting experiment, and it should be most entertaining to watch soft drink lobbyists go into action.

Should be taxed very high

Why these guys aren't able to put a complete ban on all Soda drinks as we all know, they are dangerous for our health.
Whats really going on ?

Marion Nestle is a strong

Marion Nestle is a strong proponent of high food taxes to discourage unhealthy eating habits, but I wonder if such taxes would affect her own food choices, since her income is so much higher than that of low-income peasants who she believes are too ignorant to make proper decisions on what to eat.

Ms. Nestle is a socialist elitist who seems to have contempt for human beings, treating them as if they were house pets to be fed rations of nutritionally balanced kibble for their own good.