As the pop industry gears up to pour additional millions into a campaign to overturn temporary state sales taxes on soda pop, bottled water, gum, and candy (Initiative 1107), a new USDA report shows that taxes on caloric sweetened beverages could substantially reduce people's consumption of sugary drinks. According to the report (via Marion Nestle):
A tax-induced 20-percent increase in the price of caloric sweetened beverages could reduce net calorie intake from all beverages by 37 calories per day  for the average adult. The effects for children were estimated to be  larger—an average reduction of  43 calories per day.

Between 1999 and 2004, the average American consumed 22.5 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Although higher taxes would only reduce that by two or three teaspoons, the report concludes that even that small reduction works out to weight loss of 3.8 pounds a year for adults, 4.5 pounds per year for kids.

One big caveat: The USDA report considers a tax that would increase the price of pop 20 percent, high enough that people would notice it. Here in Washington State, the soda tax is only two cents per 12-ounce can of soda, which is probably imperceptible to the average consumer. Still, the beverage industry is gearing up to defeat it; as of late June, the American Beverage Association-funded campaign had nearly $2.5 million in its bank account.
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