Skip to main content

See also:

Could ending SNAP subsidies for sugar-sweetened beverages reduce obesity?

You may wish to check out the abstract of the latest study on soda from Stanford, "Ending SNAP Subsidies For Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Could Reduce Obesity And Type 2 Diabetes," published in the June 2014 issue of the journal Health Affairs. The study explained that a prohibition on the purchase of sugary drinks with food stamps would drive down the average recipient's glycemic load -- a measure of blood sugar response to diet -- by 2.7 grams per day.

Could ending SNAP subsidies for sugar-sweetened beverages reduce obesity?
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

On the other hand, people on food stamps probably wouldn't like the idea of the government telling them what edibles to buy with food stamps. After all, they're not supposed to by tobacco or alcoholic drinks with food stamps. (See, "Eligible Food Items | Food and Nutrition Service.") How many people on food stamps would convert their food stamps to money first, either in stores or even in gambling casinos, if they could, to get at the sodas, if they're addicted to the taste? If sugary sodas are banned, numerous people may turn to sugary milkshakes or smoothies, with similar results of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

After all, two slices of whole wheat bread are similar in the effects on the blood glucose levels as a candy bar or a few spoons of sugar. And the same effects might apply to sugar-sweetened nondairy milk substitutes. See, "2 Slices Of Wheat Bread Equals 2 Tbls. Of Sugar Or More." or "Translate Carbs into the sugar they'll become." Carbs become blood glucose.

If they want sugar, they'll buy sugar and make their own soda, if they can afford the price. After all, prohibition didn't stop alcoholics and other addicts from getting what they crave, would telling people what to eat help, since soda is not tobacco or alcohol, which you can't buy with food stamps? Health Affairs published this recent study the first week of June, 2014. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Healthy Eating Research Program funded this study. If SNAP subsidies for sugar-sweetened beverages are ended, the consumers who buy sodas would buy beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, which are used to sweeten many sodas in the USA. On the other hand, where sugar is cheaper such as in Mexico, sodas there are sweetened with sugar rather than with corn syrup or other sweeteners. Then again, you have diet sodas sweetened with synthetic sweeteners that have other health issues you can check out in studies or in news reports such as, the Yahoo Health article "7 Side Effects of Drinking Diet Soda."

How do you reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes?

The research explained in the study's abstract that in order to reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes rates, lawmakers have proposed modifying Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to encourage healthier food choices. At Stanford University, researchers in this new study examined the impact of two proposed policies: a ban on using SNAP dollars to buy sugar-sweetened beverages; and a subsidy in which for every SNAP dollar spent on fruit and vegetables, thirty cents is credited back to participants’ SNAP benefit cards.

The Stanford researchers used nationally representative data and models describing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and determinants of food consumption among a sample of over 19,000 SNAP participants. We found that a ban on SNAP purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages would be expected to significantly reduce obesity prevalence and type 2 diabetes incidence, particularly among adults ages 18–65 and some racial and ethnic minorities. You also may wish to check out the Los Angeles Times article, "Can food stamps help improve diets, fight obesity and save money?" You also can read in the LA Times article that the $79.8-billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) might also reap taxpayers untold future savings for the federally funded care of diabetes and other obesity-related ills among Medicaid recipients.

The subsidy policy would not be expected to have a significant effect on obesity and type 2 diabetes, given available data. Such a subsidy could, however, more than double the proportion of SNAP participants who meet federal vegetable and fruit consumption guidelines.

On the other hand, there are newspapers that don't want any body of government to dictate to people what food they choose to consume, simply because they have food stamps from the government. So a food stamp soda study followed with the conclusions of the study pointing to the possible reduction of obesity.

The Stanford University food stamp study, according to the university's recent press release, "Forbidding use of food stamps for sweetened drinks could reduce obesity," showed that banning the use of food stamps to buy soda, would reduce obesity. But others say that food stamp recipients would switch to cash to buy soda, says a June 7, 2014 Christian Science Monitor news article, "Food stamp soda study: Less soda, less obesity." Ironically, the press release from Stanford is not accessible at its website at the present time, but the Christian Science Monitor newspaper article is online. However, you can check out the study somewhat with a video on YouTube. See, "Study: food stamp soda ban may reduce obesity." Or go directly to the study's abstract online, "Ending SNAP Subsidies For Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Could Reduce Obesity And Type 2 Diabetes."

If a person is addicted to the sweet taste of soda, perhaps they'll find ways to buy it or make their own with syrups and carbonated water. They'll even buy sugar, boil it down until it's syrupy, and pour it into liquids, or they'll mix fruit juice and soda, if they crave sweet drinks that much instead of clean water.

You also may wish to see the article, "Food stamps: How does the program work?," or See, "Soda Free Summer Campaign LPCH Continuity Clinics Start Date." Then again, you may wish to check out the site, "If economy is reviving, why are more Americans struggling to afford food? (+video)?"

One goal could be how to help people get clean from addiction to sugar, syrups, or other sweetened carbonated drinks or sugary juices

There's also a noteworthy article from THV11, "Food stamp soda ban can save 141,000 children from obesity," commenting that banning food stamp purchases of soda and other sugary drinks could cause a major drop in obesity and diabetes among the poor. That's the finding of a new study published in the academic journal Health Affairs, reports that article.

Stanford researchers say banning these sweet drinks could prevent more than 130,000 kids from getting obese. It could also keep another 200,000 adults from developing type-two diabetes. This study comes as critics say the Federal Food Stamp Program supports the purchase of sugary drinks that don't have nutritional value, the TV station THV11's article mentions. You might keep in mind the four most addictive foods: sugar, chocolate, dairy, and meats.

If all you eat daily are those four foods, perhaps you'll become addicted to them to the point that you may even add sugar to meat. In fact, in some countries, a few spoons of sugar is added ground beef to make it taste sweeter before grilling and then sprinkling with spices and salt. Sugar can change the brain to keep wanting to taste sweetness.