Many events pass through my email but one titled “The Better Food Movement” caught my eye.
Essentially, this is a collaborative of food-interested professionals who are working to make healthier food more available. I attended the initial conference last month at Miami Dade College. Food policy was the topic.
Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University and champion in the field of food politics, was the keynote speaker. One point she made: Food companies deduct the money they spend on advertising from their overall corporate taxes.
The advertising budget for high-sugar, low-nutrient foods is considerable. Coca-Cola spends $254 million a year just on Coke. Most soda drinkers do not need convincing. I wish a fraction of that money could go to promoting vegetables and fruits. (You can follow Nestle’s postings at www.foodpolitics.com.)
Next up was Sara Soka, who discussed the soda-tax movement in Berkeley, California. The tax is 1 cent per ounce. The purpose is to discourage sugary drink intake and improve health. The tax money goes back to the community. Other cities with a soda tax are Philadelphia, Santa Fe, Oakland and Cook County, Illinois. Mexico, France, Hungary, Ireland and the United Kingdom have also initiated a tax on heavily sugared beverages. Mexico’s tax started in 2014 and in the first year, sugary beverage consumption fell, with the largest decrease among low-income Mexicans.
Food experts recommend that an adult consume no more than seven teaspoons of added sugar a day. That’s for the entire day.
A 12-ounce can of soda has eight teaspoons of sugar — already beyond your daily intake.
So, why are you still drinking that soda?
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.