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Sugar Tax Curbs Spending On High-Calorie Beverages, Berkeley Study Shows [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 20, 2017 05:05 AM EDT
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A new health research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill looked into the impact of the sugar tax imposed by the city council of Berkeley, California. They found out that it was an effective measure to cut down on sugar consumption.

When Was Sugar Tax Imposed?

The sugar tax took effect in Mar. 2015 and imposed a tax on every fluid ounce of packaged sweetened drinks. A year after, the sales of sweetened fruit drinks, energy drinks, and sodas fell to around 10 percent, while the unsweetened versions of teas, milk, and fruit juices went up. Bottled water sales even rose by 16 percent, Time reported.

The city of Berkeley hoped that by passing the measure on sugar tax, consumption of high-calorie drinks will go down. The higher prices would make consumers think twice, as purchasing a soda would affect how they can stretch their money on other goods.

Results Of Sugar Tax Imposition

The researchers were surprised that the data showed the stores did not lose out on expected income from the imposition of the tax. Grocery bills averaged pretty much at the same levels, as to before the tax was imposed, suggesting that the residents of Berkeley either bought healthier options or other goods, The Guardian reported.

The study also reinforced the idea that a tax on these drinks will ultimately affect spending decisions, regardless of economic status. Berkeley, the first city in the US with such a tax, is one of the cities in the California with higher average income and education.

The tax on sugary drinks is just a small step in a national effort to cut down caloric intake that can cause diabetes and obesity. It may even take a while before the effects of their campaign would be felt or noticed.

The war on obesity and sugary drinks has been gaining traction all over the US but beverage companies are fighting back. In the case of Philadelphia, Pepsi filed a case against their version of the tax measure calling it unconstitutional. The city mayor appears determined to succeed in their battle against the beverage giant, as they plan to continue with their tax plan even after the Pepsi threat of job cuts in the city.

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