Media coverage of sugary drinks and soda policies (especially soda taxes) has been extensive, including this selection of some of the most influential and informative reports.
The New York Times, January 22, 2013
This scathing editorial highlighted the absurdity of Coca-Cola’s self-congratulatory ad in which they defended their alleged obesity prevention efforts. Bittman compared the ad to efforts by Big Tobacco to diffuse responsibility for the chronic diseases linked to their products.
"This video is sheer manipulation, calculated to confuse, obscure and deny... The beverage companies see the writing on the wall and will lobby, cajole, beg, plead, propagandize, lie, spend and do anything else they have to do to prevent that regulation, just as the tobacco companies did."
The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 24, 2012
Soda tax foes reek of tobacco
This article refutes the arguments used by the beverage industry to defeat proposed soda taxes in Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011, as well as in two California cities in the fall of 2012. The author points out the overwhelming similarity between arguments initially used by the tobacco industry to resist cigarette taxes and regulation and those used by the beverage industry today.
"The cigarette companies were wrong then - just as the soda apologists are wrong now."
The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 19, 2012
"In less than a decade of scrutiny, sugar-sweetened beverages have been removed from most schools nationwide; portions are set to be cut by law in New York; calories are labeled by mandate in such cities as Philadelphia and will be voluntarily in Chicago and San Antonio, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola said this month; and various soda taxes have been proposed, with two more on local ballots in California next month.Even if the proposed beverage size rule or sugary drink taxes prove easy to evade, research supports the hypothesis that these policies will gently nudge people to make healthier decisions about what they drink. They make the default choice the healthy choice and advertisers have known for ages that most people choose the default, no matter what it is."
"The [beverage] industry, which the Federal Trade Commission estimated spends nearly $500 million a year marketing sugary beverages to adolescents alone, is light years ahead of public health campaigns. But the public health advocates are improving."
The Atlantic, September 4, 2012
How Regulation Really Does Change Eating Behavior
Even if the proposed beverage size rule or sugary drink taxes prove easy to evade, research supports the hypothesis that these policies will gently nudge people to make healthier decisions about what they drink. They make the default choice the healthy choice and advertisers have known for ages that most people choose the default, no matter what it is.
"These regulatory approaches are worth trying. If research continues to demonstrate their value, cities will have even more reason to use them. If the research becomes compelling enough, the federal government might need to act. In the meantime, cities are leading the way, Richmond among them. Their initiatives are well worth trying, testing and supporting."
The New Yorker, August 13, 2012
Mayor Bloomberg's proposed 16 oz limit on sugary drinks may be viewed as paternalistic, but evidence still suggests it will help New Yorkers to consume fewer calories from sugary drinks.
"If Bloomberg has his way, we may start feeling like we’re white rats in a maze, but at least there’s a good chance we’ll be thinner rats."
Consumer Affairs, July 23, 2012
Time for Surgeon General to Weigh In On Sugary Drinks?
James R. Hood
A coalition of health and consumer advocates and several municipal public health departments request that the Surgeon General release an authoritative report on the health effects of sugary drinks similar to the report from over 50 years ago that changed the conversation around tobacco.
"Like turning a cruise ship, changing public opinion takes a lot of time, patience and planning..."
New American Media, News Report, June 15, 2012
Inside the Mind of a Soda Marketer
Former Coca-Cola marketing executive, Todd Putman gave an insider's view of Big Soda on June 7, 2012 at the National Soda Summit.
"From the perspective of beverage companies, Putman explained, inside the stomach, food or other drinks become direct competitors with a brand's products. 'Water, anything you want to put in your stomach, I want to push out.'"
Bloomberg, March 13, 2012
Anti-Obesity Soda Tax Fails as Lobbyist Spend Millions: Retail
Duane D. Stanford
A summary of beverage industry tactics to fight soda taxes and arguments in favor of the taxes.
"Since the beginning of 2009, PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), Coca-Cola Co. (KO) and the American Beverage Association have spent as much as $70 million on lobbying and issue ads..."
Scientific American, January 5, 2012
Can Mountain Dew Really Dissolve a Mouse Carcass?
Evidence suggests citrus sodas can eat away teeth and bones in months, an issue arising after a claim of a dead mouse in a soda.
"Key to Pepsi's legal argument is that there's no chance a mouse's corpse could survive, intact, for 15 months swimming in Mountain Dew. While published studies have not been conducted on how rapidly Mountain Dew would dissolve a mouse, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the neon green soda... would likely do quite a number on a rodent."
Bloomberg BusinessWeek, November 7, 2011
Fatty Foods Addictive as Cocaine in Growing Body of Science
Robert Langreth and Duane D. Stanford
A summary of the research showing that sugary drinks and fatty foods have addictive properties in the brain similar to that of illicit drugs, and the potential implications of this research.
"If fatty foods and snacks and drinks sweetened with sugar and high fructose corn syrup are proven to be addictive, food companies may face the most drawn-out consumer safety battle since the anti-smoking movement took on the tobacco industry a generation ago."
The New York Times, July 29, 2011
Bad Food? Tax it and Subsidize Vegetables
A compelling and entertaining explanation of the rationale for food and beverage taxes, why government should be involved in health, and the benefit such taxes could provide.
"Simply put: taxes would reduce consumption of unhealthful foods and generate billions of dollars annually. That money could be used to subsidize the purchase of staple foods like seasonal greens, vegetables, whole grains, dried legumes and fruit."
The New York Times, July 2, 2010
Failure of State Soda Tax Plan Reflects Power of an Antitax Message
Describes the range of strategic tactics used by the beverage industry to defeat a tax in New York.
"The American Beverage Association spent $9.4 million in the first four months of the year to oppose New York’s soda tax."
The New York Times, June 4, 2010
Can a Soda Tax Save us From Ourselves?
N. Gregory Mankiw
A balanced look at “sin” taxes, with interesting points highlighting the arguments for and against them.
"Taxes on items with short-run benefits and long-run costs tell our current selves to take into account the welfare of our future selves."
The New York Times, May 18, 2010
The Battle Over Taxing Soda
A comprehensive review of beverage industry tactics, local beverage tax efforts, and arguments for and against the taxes.
"Someday we will probably look back at our gallon-a-week soda habit the way we now look back on allowing children to ride without seat belts or listening to doctors who endorsed Camel cigarettes. We will wonder what we were thinking. Coke and Pepsi, unfortunately, seem willing to do whatever it takes to delay that day."
Times Union, March 4, 2010
A tax that invests in our health
Richard F. Daines
This compelling opinion piece by New York State's former Health Commissioner provides strong arguments in favor of a soda tax.
"Healthy choices are rising in price while the cost of bad choices falls. Low-fat milk costs more than soda. So grocery stores in poorer neighborhoods stock less milk and more soda, and the relentless advertising from the beverage industry and fast food joints makes sweet drinks an expected part of daily living."
The Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2010
Beverage industry douses tax on soft drinks
Tom Hamburger and Kim Geiger
Available for purchase
A report of industry tactics used to fight taxes on sweetened beverages; examples range from lobbying lawmakers and expensive advertising campaigns to funding so-called "scientific" research.
"Employing a broad-based lobbying effort, the soft drink industry has smothered a plan to tax sugared beverages -- a plan advocates said would have reduced obesity and helped finance healthcare reform."