If you’re planning on visiting New York City anytime soon, you’ll be treated to sordid subway pictures of soft drinks turning into yellow globs of human fat.
The Big Apple’s anti-soft drink campaign is the latest disturbing trend in bureaucrats trying to dictate consumers’ diets. And the government, backed by food activists, is looking to demonize and tax what it deems bad foods.
The fight to slap a fee on soda revved up in May when the Center for Science in the Public Interest, leaders among dietary control freaks, proposed a federal tax to help pay for health care reform. President Barack Obama added fuel to the fire when he stated last month that a pop tax was worth exploring. But while Congress isn’t yet lining up to punish people for their personal beverage choices, soda tax advocates are taking their crusade to cities and states.
The scaremongering about high fructose corn syrup, or corn sugar, can be dated to a 2004 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study’s authors speculated that corn sugar could be responsible for our widening waistlines since rising obesity rates coincided with increased use of the sweetener.
But the authors quickly learned a lesson that correlation doesn’t equal causation. Five papers published in the same journal last winter found that corn sugar was nutritionally no different from any other sugar.
Research at Harvard University also concluded that there was not a strong link between weight gain and the intake of snack foods, including soft drinks.
An economic analysis conducted this year determined that the government would have to tax soda at a rate of 1,200 percent to actually make a dent in obesity.
Whether food warriors attack corn sugar or soda, their goal is the same. They believe that government regulators – rather than individual consumers – should decide every aspect of what, where and when we eat. And pols, who have to fill budget deficits larger than their constituents’ midsections, are all too happy to jump on board.