Fat that fizzes or analyses that fizzle?
The premise behind taxing soda is simple: We shouldn’t be drinking so much of it. But what does the current state of the science tell us about the impact of drinking sugar sweetened drinks on weight?
Has increased soda consumption driven the increase in weight gain and obesity?
One might think that the link between drinking sugared beverages and gaining weight is beyond the need for confirmation, but that if one wanted such confirmation, the evidence would be abundant and robust. Surprisingly, this is not the case.
When good intentions lead to bias in obesity research.
The less rigorous the study, the greater the association it found between soda and weight gain, and the more likely it was to be published.
A “disappointing” lack of good research
One thing most researchers agree on, the research on soda and weight gain is poor and full of methodological problems - and there's a need for high quality radomized control trials.
Will a tax on soda reduce consumption and lead to a reduction in weight and obesity?
Despite the “disappointing” quality of the evidence linking soda to weight gain, proponents of soda taxes tend towards selectively citing the strongest studies when arguing for implementation.
How do current soda taxes work?
There are, presently, 33 states that implement some form of soda taxation. Have they had an effect on consumption? What do soda tax proposals hope to achieve?
The problem with modeling sodal taxes: price elasticity
It's not quite as simple as "if we raise the price, people will cut back or switch to something that has lower calories."
How has the media framed the issue?
Soda taxes have been a hot topic in the media for the past three years, but as one study shows, the media was only interested in one expert perspective, that of tax advocates.
The determination to solve a public health problem of crisis proportions is to be applauded and encouraged; but the determination to solve a public health crisis by any means necessary can bend enthusiasm toward plausible yet unproven solutions.