With obesity at record levels, people are questioning if the government should put taxes on junk food. Some countries have existing laws that ban products like sugary drinks, sweets, and other fattening foods. Junk food is described as food products that lack nutrients. Most of these foods, that we find convenient, contain ingredients that do more harm than good. But does taxing these products solve America’s growing epidemic? By increasing the tax on such foods, it will cause people to consume less causing improvement in individuals health and nutrition.
While fighting the battle of diabetes and obesity, we search to find the solution to the problem. Sugar. Until the 1700s, sugar was known to be scarce (Mulherin). Now, we see it as an over-abundant growing problem. Although we need some sugars, most added sugars do more harm than good. If the high amount’s of sugar in soda doesn’t scare you, then you should all know that soda products are linked to diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver disease, and various cancers (Rippe and Angelopoulos). This provides yet another incentive to reduce consumption. While high doses of sugar bring many health risks, there are other ingredients that impose health concerns. These ingredients include high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, saturated fat, salt, caffeine, and artificial coloring. Such ingredients are the culprits for these diseases. Controlling these substances would lead to lower healthcare costs, and longer, healthier lives.
By taxing fatty foods, the government could bring in a decent sum of money that would increase our economy. These benefits can do all kinds of things like better roads, school districts, offset other government costs, or even pay for obesity healthcare costs. Such taxes, such as the cigarette tax, have made a significant decline in the sale (Pettinger). By increasing the price of products, the government could make a substantial amount of revenue. Putting a tax on junk food seems like the most logical thing to do. Why should taxpayers support those that want to enjoy their food rather than the individuals that care about their own health?
Some people believe that taxing junk food puts a burden on low income people. Some people don’t want to eat poorly, but it’s all lower income individuals can afford. Studies show that lower income people spend a good portion of their money on foods that are lacking these vital nutrients. Others just think it’s up to the individual to make choices about their own health. If they want to put those harmful ingredients in their bodies, let them. Conveniently it’s cheaper to eat junk food rather than healthy choices in America.
No wonder we have such a big problem. But which foods would we tax? There is such a broad variety of products to choose from. However, there are other factors that play a role in obesity such as genetics, portion sizes, or amount of physical activity. In addition, by taking certain sugary products, people might find other things that may be even worse. For example, apple juice sounds healthy but in reality it has just as much, if not more sugar (Marron).