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Soda tax would likely reduce diabetes rates in San Antonio

February 17, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland’s mayor is the latest politician to propose a soda tax — a projected 20% sales tax on sugary carbonated drinks. This news comes after last summer’s battle amongst Texas senators proposing the same tax, aimed to reduce the cost of health care in Texas. The Texas motion was opposed and never passed, but the sentiment is still relevant and has made news once again this month as other politicians work towards proactive health and penalties (or checks and balances) for downright unhealthy food and drinks in the U.S.

But opponents (including many, if not most, American consumers according to studies) argue that taxing soda is akin to taxing the poor and perpetuating a nanny state on nutrition. Should the government have a say in what we eat? The reality is, it already does: via both the government-created food pyramid, now replaced by My Plate, which advocates eating lots of the products of subsidized agriculture (grains, dairy), or a lax stance on labeling genetically modified foods which are in high demand by way of processed food producers.

The benefits of a soda tax include averting 2,600 deaths, 9,500 heart attacks, and 240,000 new diagnoses of diabetes every year. A soda tax is also projected to reduce soda consumption by 15 percent among adults age 25 to 64. San Antonio has a diabetes rate two times the national average. People of Hispanic heritage are especially prone to the illness, hovering near 12% of the total population in the U.S. Unfortunately those numbers are even worse for adults living in poorer neighborhoods where nearly 18% have diabetes. Those same poor neighborhoods also happen to be consumers of soda — much more than affluent areas. Whether it be causation or correlation, there is a definite connection between soda, processed foods in lower income areas, and rates of illness.

So far no taxes on soda have been passed in Texas, though rumors continue to circulate and other states have already followed through. But with an ever-growing obesity and diabetes rate, making disease-promoting foods less convenient, accessible, and cheap would surely force many consumers to purchase different foods and drink or stay away from soda entirely.

Soda Taxes Might Save 2,600 Lives A Year, But Certainly Make Cents
Centers for Disease Control: Diabetes Facts Sheet


Liz Schau is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor who specializes in nutritional changes for women with thyroid disease, food allergies, autoimmunity, and digestive health concerns. You can find her at

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  • urcrazy

    I have an idea stop allowing those who receive food stamps to buy junk food. Non-food items are not allowed, junk food shouldn’t be either.

  • Guest

    what a dumb ass idea.  how many people have quit or curtailed their smoking habits when taxes were raised on them?  People will continue to drink soft drinks because they  like to do so.  Putting a tax on it is just an excuse by the government to increase revenues to make up for their piss poor management of public funds.

  • Forevryng45

    taxes on anything have never reduced a disease just reduced our pocketbooks

  • Kevin T

    Increased taxes on alcohol has certainly curtailed the number of drunk drivers on the road. Should work about the same for sugar and diabetes. How fricken stupid does it get?

  • Lasecre001

    They should make junk food items lik soda, chips and other snacks NONFOODSTAMP items. This way they will only buy fruits and vegetables!

  • Martinez Jesse10

    thats what i say, food stamp people are already fat dumb and lazy.

  • Islandsku

    Limiting what people on Food Stamps can buy is one thing / fine … but i am sick of the Gov finding new ways to Tax us and new ways to control out lives … if a person wants to eat fries and drink coke and beer everyday, long as he or she pays for it … Aint the Gov Business.

  • Rhett Smith

    thank you for this important story;  excess consumption of these products is among the top health threats; . . . and for children, it is probably the top dietary threat.
    Rhett Smith

  • redbella22

    Give me a break…..most people have no idea what the FDA allows companies to put in food.  The usual witch hunt is on…..tell the government to stuff it.  Everything in the grocery store that says “enriched”…means everything that is good has been zapped out of it .  Even honey that the FDA allows to advertise as natural and pure is not.  All pollen has been taken out, which means…. no benefit.  It is the same old mind game and people fall for it.  Do the research…it will blow your mind.

  • redbella22

    Look at all the fat F***** that have money…’s not about food stamps, it’s about education!!!! How can anyone be healthy when the FDA allows companies to put chemicals that kill into our food.  Do the research, educate yourself!!!! My guess is….your over weight yourself!

  • redbella22


  • redbella22


  • Steve

    Let me get this straight, lets put a tax on soda, people stop buying soda, soda company’s profits fall. do I have this right? Oh, people who work for the soda company’s get laid off, cause, don’t need to make as much so the third shift shuts down, and maybe half of the second shift. Gas stations, Grocery stores, all there soda profits are gone, bread,milk,eggs, etc.etc. goes up. Are we starting to think yet?
     Let’s see, we are healthy, but unemployed.
    So,even if we wanted to by a soda we couldn’t, cause no money.
    So, next time a politician talks about a tax on foods, lets tell him to think twice before you decide to run for re-elction.

  • SWTEXlady

    if the government wants to raise/tax the prices of junk/unhealthy foods.
    they should consider lowering the prices on the healthier foods, take some time and look at the prices. Healthier foods are quite expensive and the quantity is not comparable.

  • anydf

    so would deporting all the illegals but you dont see that option.

  • anydf

    actually its very factual.

  • Guest

    People stupid enough to drink soda deserve to die!  I just wish I didnt have to pay for it.

  • Dickey752001

    tell people to stay out of the goverment in the handout lines. When you have no private health care the goverment is picking up the bill with our taxes. if you like soda and didnt want to pay the tax make your own.

  • The Wickerman48

    Since this is supposed to cut down on medical costs,cut off free medical care to  illegal aliens and clean up the food stamp system, problem.
    Watch out they will go after Candy bars, Twinkies and anything else that contain sugar.

    I watched a Buffalo girl by $35 worth of cupcakes, candy bars and other assorted junk with food stamps one day at the diamond Shamrock.

  • Dxsggsdgs

    so i have to pay extra because some fat bitch cant control her intake.. Nice.

  • Bexar44

    they will be taxing the air  next

  • JT

    stop the medicade and CHIPs and make the low income pay for their own heathcare like everyone else and I’ll bet they will cut down on the sodas. That will cut down on healthcare cost in Texas.

  • Dr. Octagonecologyst

    Government knows that with a fat city like ours (BS on the healthiest 25, I think they are counting all of the bogus memberships at Planet Fitness), people will still buy the soda because it is soda! It just happens to be consumed here more because of all of the fatties…

  • Richard K

    Taxing won’t work…they tax the sh*t outta cigarettes and people still buy them. Too many taxes in this country already.

  • RDG

    The only thing certain about the soda tax is that it would put more of your money in the hands of the politicians. The rest of the story is planted BS by politicians who want more money. Thumbs down on this kind of baloney.

  • Ezaxstwo

    YUP…Transfer one disease for another…namely the Obesity of the Fat Cats in Government

  • Tore_nada

    Just looks like the state is trying to fined  anther source of revenue. Every time a state runs out  of money ,they look to the poor and the middle class so they can tax them.Its for the public good, as they laugh all the way to the bank.

  • urcrazy

    You do realize if you purchase soda with food stamps you don’t have to worry about sales tax. If I buy a soda with cash I DO HAVE TO PAY IT! Maybe you need the education. Sorry to hit a nerve, some do need and should be on food stamps, but not everyone….

  • homer

    I hate F****n politicians!  Our government should tax anal sex… maybe they will quit F***ing us so much!

  • NurseSue

    Why dont they make Food stamps like WIC cards and designate what you can buy? Lean inexpensive meats, vegetables, no crap like sodas or chips.

    San Antonio is always going to have diabetes issues because of the culture. Hispanics cook with lard and eat a diet high in fat, not to mention all the beer they consume.

    Remember…. Carbs turn into sugar and excess sugar consumption and being fat causes diabetes. Sodas won’t make a difference.

  • NurseSue

    I agree with you, but remember the ones that are on Food stamps and the uneducated are usually without insurance… Who do you think pays that cost when they have diabetes and heart problems, not to mention liver cirrhosis from all that boozing and eating?

  • NurseSue

    How do you know it is a woman? What about all those loser men who are slugging those beers down?

  • NurseSue

    Nice idea but dont hold your breath….