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NewsBites November 2016 Issue

Consumption Changes After Sugary Beverage Tax

Does taxing sugary beverages really help cut consumption? A preliminary study of a tax of one cent per ounce enacted in Berkeley, Calif., in March 2015 suggests the answer is yes. Berkeley was the first US jurisdiction to pass such a levy, which adds to the cost of sugary sodas, juices, energy drinks and coffee concoctions. Researchers compared trends in purchases by low-income Berkeley residents four months after the tax was implemented to consumption in neighboring Oakland and San Francisco, which have no such tax. In Berkeley, consumption of sugary drinks dropped 21% after the tax was imposed, even as the other cities saw a 4% increase. Berkeley consumers also drank 63% more water, according to results published in the American Journal of Public Health.

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