Finally, a useful suggestion for health reform–tax sodas! Well, by golly…I think they’ve got something there: Tax the nutritionally inert liquid sugar that Americans are severely addicted to, and yes, a solution. One solution. Small solution. But a great start.

Here are the facts. Sodas are the number one consumed beverage in the United States. They contain about 100 calories and ten teaspoons of sugar. Diet sodas add their own twist. While having zero calories, a large study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio showed that people who drink diet soda regularly are 41% more likely than regular soda drinkers to become obese. What??? You heard right, the zero calorie drink actually makes people more susceptible to obesity; and it’s because of aspartame, the artificial sweetener, that people pack on the pounds.

According to researchers, aspartame fools the body into thinking it will be receiving sugar–an energy source–but that sugar never comes; so the body is left wanting. What happens next is that our diet soda drinkers reach for something to satisfy that sugar urge, and they overindulge. Not convinced? Then ask yourself why the discrepancy in physicality. Why are diet soda drinkers anything but emaciated? Hmmmmm….

Since soda–diet or regular–is garbage, and it’s contributing enormously to the obesity problem (and consequently, outrageous health care costs), then why not tax it? We tax tobacco, alcohol, and mary jane (oh yeah, not yet), why not the simple syrup? Americans drink enough soda that a tax would generate an estimated “100 to 200 billion dollars over a 10-year time frame.” Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Listen, health care cost are significantly related to lifestyle behaviors. If you want to socialize health care, then don’t just punish everybody across the board; tax those most negligent. Tax the smokers (I’ll pay my share), the boozers, and the junk food junkies. My position has always been, “Don’t just single out the fast food restaurants; nail the soda manufacturers too.” That’s fair–and accurate. Bingo.

And I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they ever get how much the chronic pharmaceutical drug users cost us–you know, people who prophylactically or habitually take statins, antidepressants, or any other drug that doctors are pushing on the public like the sky’s the limit. Yeah, tax all those negligent people involved in making our system “broken”.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved.