If sugary drinks and snacks were more expensive, would that keep you from buying them? Some researchers say yes. One recent study found that a 20% tax increase on sweet snacks could ultimately lead to a 2% decrease in obesity in the U.K.
Hungary and Mexico both have taxes on high-sugar foods and have seen improvements in obesity rates. Other countries and cities are also considering introducing a tax that would extend to sugary foods as well as drinks.
Sugar taxes have already caused changes in what consumers are buying and also what manufacturers are putting into their snacks. But this doesn’t mean that fixing obesity is as easy as slapping a tax on unhealthy food. It may take longer than anticipated.
“In 5 or 10 years to get to that level would be more realistic,” says nutrition professor Barry Poplin. “We just need to manage expectations.”
Will the U.S. ever see a day where we tax sugary food and drink?