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Standard American Diet (Yes, it’s SAD)

The solution: Tax Soda, Subsidize Vegetables?
http://goo.gl/nkhNs

Right now it’s harder for many people to buy fruit than Froot Loops; chips and Coke are a common breakfast.

Timeline of the Standard American Diet
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/07/24/opinion/sunday/20110724_SAD_Timeline.html?ref=sunday

The average American consumes 44.7 gallons of soft drinks annually. (Although that includes diet sodas, it does not include noncarbonated sweetened beverages, which add up to at least 17 gallons a person per year.)


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.

We could sell those staples cheap — let’s say for 50 cents a pound — and almost everywhere: drugstores, street corners, convenience stores, bodegas, supermarkets, liquor stores, even schools, libraries and other community centers.
Other ideas: We could convert refrigerated soda machines to vending machines that dispense grapes and carrots, as has already been done in Japan and Iowa.

To counter arguments about their nutritional worthlessness, expect to see “fortified” sodas — à la Red Bull, whose vitamins allegedly “support mental and physical performance” — and “improved” junk foods (Less Sugar! Higher Fiber!).
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Jamie Rauscher's profile photo
 
Mark Bittman makes some excellent points. Taxing unhealthy foods may help (studies have shown cigarette taxes can discourage smoking) but it is not the complete solution. We must continue to educate people too about the importance of eating at home. The amount of time people spend preparing meals continues to decline. (See report "Who has time to cook?" by US Economic Research Service) Many people also no longer know how to cook. Finally we need to teach nutrition to children and adults. I recently completed a nutrition class in a graduate program at Boston University. It was a real eye opener--and I thought I was pretty knowledgeable going into the class.
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