LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Is a tax on soda the answer to a growing obese population? A new study suggests it could help. The study released just this week found the more people had to pay for soda, the less they drank it. So, we wanted to see if folks here agree.
"The more sugar, the more calories you're going to have in it," Covenant Health System Dietitian Allyson Click said. That's why some say it's time to cut back on soda and other sugared drinks.
Different studies show these drinks can increase risks for obesity and diabetes; now a new study that followed more than 5,000 young people for 20-years suggests upping the cost could lower the risk.
Click says the problem can be that people just don't realize how many calories they're swallowing. "A lot of times not, because you think if I'm not getting full, then I'm not actually getting calories from it," Click said.
There's no doubt obesity is a problem. This year, it's estimated Texas will spend $15.6 billion on health costs associated with obesity, but Click says a tax on sugared drinks is not the solution. "The tax in it of itself is not going to be what helps; somebody at some point has to make the decision the they're not going to drink a coke anymore," Click said.
Crystal Garcia and Alexander Zapata say they don't' drink all that much soda. Still, they say if a tax were added to their drink, they'd cut-back. "I don't even drink that much, so why drink something that gets too expensive," Garcia said.
"I would probably stop drinking it for the idea of them taxing it," Zapata said.
"If you're addicted to it, and you want it, you'll pay for it," Click said. She says education is the key, which has been the focus of Texas law makers, including money for the Texas Bringing Healthy Back program.
Click says a lot of people know what's good and what's not; it's just a matter of choosing. "It's just a matter of realizing that there's a problem and choosing to change it. We look for so many quick fixes today and just want somebody else to fix our problems for us instead of taking ownership of our health," Click said.
Click says soda can be part of a balanced diet, as long as it's in moderation. Also, she says switching to diet soda will save on calories and sugar.
If you're looking to stop drinking soda, Click suggests a partner who also wants to quit. That way you'll hold each other accountable. If you're looking to switch to diet, but aren't a fan of the taste, Click suggests mixing regular and diet soda at first. She says you can gradually reduce the amount of regular soda per drink, until it's solely diet.
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