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Entries in Sugar-Sweetened (2)

Wednesday
May162012

Can a 'Fat Tax' Help Lower Obesity?

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Adding a high tax on unhealthy food and drinks may help slow the rising rates of obesity, according to a new study published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal

Previous studies suggest that the sharp tax increase on cigarettes in 2009 has contributed to the dramatic decrease in the number of smokers in the U.S. And it's hoped a "fat" tax would work the same way.

A tax of at least 20 percent placed on sugar-sweetened drinks could drop obesity rates by 3.5 percent and prevent 2,700 heart-related deaths each year, according to the study.

Nearly 34 percent of Americans are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The growing obesity rate has led to high cholesterol, and an increase in chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer.  The goal of the tax is to curb sales of unhealthy food and decrease overconsumption, which may help to prevent disease.

The study also called for subsidizing the cost of healthy foods and vegetables to make them more affordable to greater numbers of people.

A growing number of European countries, including Denmark and France, have already imposed a tax on unhealthy food and drinks.

But not all foods that are high in fat are considered unhealthy, which may challenge the notion of imposing a blanket tax, some food policy experts said.  It's important to first distinguish what food and drink should be labeled "unhealthy" before imposing a tax, they said.

"Some high fat food like nuts are related to reduced weight gain," said Dr. Walt Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard University's School of Public Health.

Salmon and avocados, also high in unsaturated, so-called good fat, are also considered healthy foods.  Unsaturated fat eaten in moderation can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

"A focus on sugar and refined starch is better, but as a first step I favor a focus just on sugar-sweetened beverages as the evidence is strongest for this," said Willett.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb282011

Sugary Drinks Could Increase Blood Pressure, Researchers Say

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It may be necessary for people with high blood pressure to watch their sugar as well as their salt intake, according to a new study. 

The study, published in the journal Hypertension, found that individuals who consumed the most sugar-sweetened drinks such as soda and fruit juices had higher blood pressure.  The problem may be worsened when salt is added.

"Individuals who consume more soda and other sugar-sweetened soft drinks may have higher blood pressure levels than those who consume less, and the problem may be exacerbated by higher salt intake," Dr. Ian J. Brown of Imperial College London wrote in an email to ABC News and MedPage Today.

Researchers in the study focused on 2,696 patients from the U.S. and U.K., taking information from urine collections and blood pressure readings.  The patients also reported on their diets over a four-day period.

The collected data showed a consistent increase in blood pressure with every extra fruit beverage or soda consumed by a patients.

Study authors also reported that people who consumed more sugar-sweetened drinks on a daily basis also tended to have less healthy diets overall than those who had less sugary beverages.

"It appears that empty calories from these drinks displace calories from other foods that have beneficial nutrients such as minerals and vitamins," Dr. Brown said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio