Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages like soda is linked to premature aging in humans as reported in a study published in October 2014 in the American Journal of Public Health by the University of California, San Francisco. Researchers concluded “Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging.”
The study was done on 5300 healthy adults by Dr. Elissa Epel and her research team over 5 years. They discovered that the leukocyte telomeres, the ends of the chromosomes, in the subjects who drank sugar-sweetened beverages were shorter than normal. Shorter telomeres cause less ability of a cell to regenerate which raises disease and early death risk.
Dr. Epel said, “We think we can get away with drinking lots of soda as long as we are not gaining weight, but this suggests that there is an invisible pathway that leads to accelerated aging, regardless of weight…This finding is alarming because it suggests that soda may be aging us, in ways we are not even aware of.”
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg attempted a ban of large sodas in the city but lost in a high-profile court case. In California there is a proposal on November ballots to add a penny per ounce tax on soda distributors. A 2 liter bottle costing $1.99 would have an added tax of .68 for a new price of $2.67 or a 34 percent increase. Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia have various soda excise taxes. They were proposed in 2011 for Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah and Vermont, with an even higher tax proposed in Tennessee. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia already tax vending machine sodas.
Thirty bills to levy or raise taxes on sugary drinks have all failed since 2010 with the aid of ad campaigns from groups like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the American Beverage Society (ABA) who have spent millions on lobbying, public relations, and advertising to defeat taxes on their sugar-loaded products. Just in September 2014, the ABA donated a half million dollars on top of their previous $300,000 to the “No on D” campaign against the Berkeley tax on sugary drinks. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, 49.7 percent of added sugars in U.S. diets come from soda, energy, sports and fruit drinks, and tea, and adult obesity rose from 13 percent to 34 percent between 1962 and 2008 (PDF).
States had to define what sodas are, officially call them “caloric-sweetened beverages” or “soft drinks” and include those like cola, root beer, ginger ale and lemon-lime carbonated drinks. Also included are non-alcoholic beverages sweetened with a sucrose agent like sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Per-ounce taxes on powder or syrup used to make the beverages are computed on the amount of beverage yielded which can be quite high on drink mixes like lemonade.
The Intercessors for America asked in 2014 for members to focus on awareness when praying about the issue saying, “Intercessors of a certain age will recall the fierce battles waged by the tobacco industry to deny or suppress the evidence that smoking did, indeed, cause cancer. Today, people may choose to smoke (it’s not illegal), but if they do, it is with full knowledge of the possible, perhaps probable, consequences. The sugar industry will do battle with these studies. If proven, the science will ultimately be accepted, however grudgingly. How much it will affect the market is pure guesswork. Pray and act as this report affects you and your family.”
American taxpayers and businesses spend about $150 billion a year on medical expenses related to obesity, about half of which is paid for with taxpayer (Medicare and Medicaid) dollars. Watch the Fed Up documentary. Tell your U.S. and state Representatives if you support taxes on soda and other sugar drinks.