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Dr. Barry Popkin and Dr George Bray of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge received widespread attention five years ago when they proposed a relationship between increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and the rise in obesity. Popkin now has linked consumption of beverages sweetened with nutritive sweeteners to health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. HCFS and other fructose containing sugars, including table sugar, are nutritive sweeteners.


He also determined that the proportion of calories Americans consume from sweetened beverages has more than doubled since the early 1970s and proposed the controversial and inflammatory solution of taxing these beverages. Popkin acknowledges that the furor over HCFS contributed to consumers perceiving that "pure and natural" sugars are better for us. However, he now also includes fruit juices and alcoholic beverages as items of concern. His explanation is that "[horizontal ellipsis]it's a sugar problem-any sugar."


Believing that other countries will pass a "soda tax" before the U.S. does, Popkin cites cigarette taxes as assisting to decrease the use of cigarettes and feels a "soda tax" could have similar beneficial results. Objectors to the "soda tax" say that this strategy will be regressive and/or penalize responsible soda consumers as well as the beverage industry.


Source: Fructose in the Firing Line? September 16, 2009. News Headlines: Financial and Industry. Available at Accessed on September 17, 2009.


Submitted by: Robin Pattillo, PhD, RN, News Editor at