Food-Assistance Program Sees $2 Billion Spent on Sweet Drinks: Study

Avatar for cmkarla
Administrator
Registered: 01-03-2001
Food-Assistance Program Sees $2 Billion Spent on Sweet Drinks: Study
8
Tue, 09-18-2012 - 9:35am

According to Health Day News, "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- formerly known as Food Stamps -- pays at least $2 billion for sugary drinks bought in grocery stores alone, say researchers from Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. That amount doesn't include sweet drinks bought at other retail chains such as Wal-Mart...The study revealed 58 percent of all beverages purchased by SNAP participants were sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sugary soda, fruit drinks and sports drinks. The researchers pointed out that SNAP paid for 72 percent of these purchases." more

Should SNAP participants be allowed to purchase surgary drinks with their SNAP benefits? Why or why not?

Karla
Community ModeratoriVillage.com

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001

OK --- it's kind of hard to regulate by Brand, and I suspect one would have to because fruit drinks could also qualify as sugary and fruit drinks are supposed/percieved to be good for kids. Keeping in mind that people on SNAP don't necessarily have the wherewithall to make their own juices from fresh druits (or can even afford fresh fruits), it may restrict them in what their child can have as a drink.

True, it seems that sodas, sprots drinks, flavored waters aren nutritional and if it would be possible to separate these out for "sugary" drinks that add nutriotion to a diet, then, yes, I'd say regulate away.  



CL for "

Community Leader
Registered: 04-05-2002

It's touchy and political but there are different reasons people drink sweet drinks. I know someone who refuels during marathons w/ mountain dew. While I can't imagine it, it's no less healthy than my Gatorade. I don't know about policing what others do and why.  I would fully support campaigns to show people how bad all that stuff can be, though, marketed to everyone.  I worked w/ someone who wanted to lose weight, had a good diet, worked out. But, his drinks were killers. I quickly added up close to 1000 calories. He knew it was bad, just not how bad.  And, it doesn't take much to add up to that much, and easy not to think about.






Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

No, I don't think they should be able to use SNAP benefits for drinks with added sugar. Personally I think it should be extended to not include cereals with a lot of sugar, candy and possibly most cookies. When somebody has a limited amount of funds for food I think it should be used in the best possible way and if they don't know or care which foods are the most nutritious then the provider of those funds can help by limiting the poor choices. The WIC program (food vouchers for pregnant women, infants and children) is very specific as to what the vouchers can be used for. The allowed cereals are low sugar like original Cheerios, the allowed beverages are milk or 100% juice, etc. Cash registers can be programmed to disallow certain bar codes. SNAP recipients already have to pay for non-food items so the disallowed foods could be put onto that portion of the bill.

I'm not a big fan of nanny government but I do care about what happens to my tax dollars. I think that education is the best method to get people to make better choices. That education can be effectively reinforced by saying that SNAP won't pay for empty calories leaving the shopper to either come up with cash for the junk food, or not eat it. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

I get the Mountain Dew for the caffeine, but what does he do about electrolyte replacement?

 

Community Leader
Registered: 04-05-2002

He uses it for sugar/carbs. I have no idea what he does for electrolytes. He also eats twinkies to refuel. I don't get it but he's young.  And, he's fast.






Community Leader
Registered: 09-25-2003
No. If you can't afford to feed your own family, and other people have to pay for your living expenses (e.g., taxes), you should only be allowed to buy healthy food that are staples for healthy living...I have seen too many abuses of welfare and food stamps. There needs to be incentive to get OFF of welfare and food stamps (do they still have that program???). Just my two cents. One of the biggest correlational factors to childhood obesity is sugared soda. Obesity leads to heart disease and diabetes which is a further drag on taxes ( Medicaid and Medicare), again, our taxes.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
Oh heavens. The biggest challenge would be in determining what exactly is classified as a sugary drink? Sure sodas are an obvious one. But tea, flavored water, flavored milk, fruit juice, and sports drinks are also sweetened. Are we really going to try and tell people that the only beverages they can purchase can't be sugary? Are we then going to say they can't buy sugary foods either? Next we'll be regulating what the fat, sodium, and calories of what they buy and you know what will happen then? The program will be so restrictive and people will resent such regulation that they'll quit using the program. Then how many people will be inadequately fed as a result? That I don't even want to think about.

Another thought....I seriously see the makers of these sugary drinks loudly protesting any type of ban on these benefits being used to purchase their products. Given their popularity and the amount of money these companies have that would be one nasty battle.
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Community Leader
Registered: 04-05-2002

Exactly.  We'd have Supreme Court cases on whether grape juice, which has little nutritional value, was eligible. And, what if Coke decided to add vitamin C and calcium to it? It would be opening Pandora's box.