With global consumption of sugary drinks increasing in the past few years, particularly in developing countries, health experts have tried pushed for the adoption of a soda tax to discourage people from overindulging on such beverages.
Efforts to start a soda tax have continuously been blocked by opponents, who claim that there is not enough evidence to date that can prove a tariff on sugary drinks can reduce consumption among consumers.
However, a new study featured in the journal BMJ has found that a tax on sugary drinks in Mexico has led to a considerable drop in consumption a year after it was implemented.
Figures show that the use of soda and other sugary beverages in the country was 6 percent lower than the average expected over the course of 2014. This percentage continued to increase as the year progressed, which eventually reached a 12 percent lower rate compared to the average expected by December.
Arantxa Colchero, an economist from the National Institute for Public Health in Mexico and one of the co-authors of the study, said the decline in sugary drinks consumption was greatest among people who earned the least amount of money, and that it appears to be going up over time as the habits of people in the country continue to change.
Despite initially being skeptical of the impact of a soda tax, food policy expert Corinna Hawkes of the City University London said that the BMJ paper has helped her reconsider her stance on the issue.
Hawkes, who was not involved in the study, said that the paper shows the potential of taxes to course things in the right direction.
Similar to the taxation of other products such as tobacco, which decreased in consumption as tax rates increased, the soda tax in Mexico helped influence the behavior of consumers.
Hawkes said that such policies can also help issues, such as the dangers of overconsumption of sugar, be brought into the political arena, where they can be discussed more prominently.
The decline in sugary drinks consumption is considered to be a major development in the Mexican government's efforts to curtail the growing obesity epidemic in the country.
Mexico is one of the member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to have the highest rate of overweight or obese adults (about 70 percent) and the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes.
The Central American nation also has the highest intake of sugary drinks per capita, which is about 70 percent of the total amount of added sugars consumed by the average Mexican.
Impacts Of Daily Sugary Drink Consumption
Aside from an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, here are some other effects drinking soda and other sugary beverages can have on the human body.
1. Prevents Weight Loss
The high amount of added sugar contained in soda can be highly counteractive for people looking to lose excess weight.
A single drink of canned soda can already give you about 160 calories. Provided that you continue to drink one can of soda every day, you can take in as much as 4,800 additional calories in a month. This adds about 1.4 pounds to your body weight.
In a year, your daily consumption of canned soda can add as much as 57,600 additional calories or about 16.8 pounds to your body.
While it is not definite that you will add precisely 16.8 pounds to your body weight as your body's metabolism will eventually be able to adapt accordingly to your consumption of calories, the figures show that you are likely to gain weight by drinking soda instead of other healthier beverages.
2. Limits Hydration Of The Body
Contrary to the popular belief that soda can quench your thirst, drinking such beverages can instead cause the body to lose more fluids. This is because many soft drink variants contain caffeine, a diuretic substance that speeds up the removal of water from the body in the form of urine.
You may be able to temporarily satiate your thirst with a drink of soda, but you won't become as hydrated as you can be if you drink water instead.
3. Can Cause Insomnia And Other Sleeping Problems
The caffeine content of soft drinks can also cause drowsiness because the substance blocks the impact of melatonin and serotonin hormones on the body. It also prevents sleep-inducing adenosine receptors from binding.
Too much consumption of caffeine can lead you to develop insomnia, as well as keep you from receiving the complete benefits of a good night's rest.
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