Each child and teenager in the United States consumes enough sugary beverages to fill a bath tub every year, said the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association. Citing strong evidence of an association between added sugars and an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses, the prominent medical groups said they supported soda taxes to reduce consumption of added sugars.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage said it was “extremely disappointing” that the USDA denied his request to ban the purchase of candy and sugary drinks with food stamps on grounds it would help prevent obesity, reported the Bangor Daily News.
Only half of adult Americans and 61 percent of children consume a sugar-sweetened beverage on any given day, down sharply from consumption rates a decade earlier, reports the New York Times, citing a study in the journal Obesity. Fewer people are drinking sugary beverages and when they do, they consume fewer calories.
Coca-Cola upped its production of plastic drink bottles by more than a billion between 2015 and 2016, bringing the total number of bottles manufactured during that time to 110 billion, according to an analysis by Greenpeace. Coca-Cola, which is responsible for more plastic bottles than any other company, said in July that it intended to increase the amount of recycled plastic in its bottles to 50 percent by 2020, reports The Guardian.
A series of emails obtained under a state freedom of information law suggest major food companies have a "roadmap for dealing with scientific challenges," says the leader of the nonprofit group U.S. Right to Know in a Bloomberg story. The emails by current and former Coca-Cola executives suggest actions such as enlisting outside organizations to question dietary advice that was contrary to their business interests.
With judges split 5-2, the Pennsylvania Comonwealth Court upheld Philadelphia's 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, the second win in court by the city, said Philadelphia Magazine. "Still, the ruling doesn’t conclude the soda tax war," said the magazine, because the American Beverage Association and local businesses could appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Drinking one to six diet sodas a week doubles the risk for stroke and may also increase the risk for dementia, according to a study of 4,000 people over age 45 in the journal Stroke. The reasons for the link are unknown, says The New York Times.
The nation’s first soda tax, Berkeley, California’s one-cent-per-ounce levy, hasn’t impacted retail businesses, but it has reduced soda purchases by 9.6 percent, says a new study by the University of North Carolina.
The Obama administration gave a cold shoulder to Gov. Paul LePage's proposal to bar Mainers from spending food stamps on soda and candy. LePage "is optimistic the new administration will approve his revived proposal," says The Associated Press, adding that lawmakers in Tennessee and Alabama are pursuing the same idea.
Opponents of Philadelphia's 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sugary beverages, who lost last year in Common Pleas court, asked the Commonwealth Court to overturn the levy as a form of double taxation, said the Associated Press. In arguments before a seven-judge panel, attorney Chip Becker said the state already imposes a sales tax on soda so the city is barred by law from taxing it too.