AlterNet staff writer and editor Daniela Perdomo takes a look in this article at the money that the beverage industry is purportedly spending to oppose federal and state efforts to impose a tax on soft drinks. According to the article, the American Beverage Association increased its lobbying nearly 4,000 percent over the last quarter of 2009, from $140,000 to $5.4 million. The article cites statistics indicating that children and teens today consume 10 to 15 percent of their daily caloric intake in the form of soft drinks, and weigh more, at a shorter average height, than their counterparts when soft drinks were first introduced in the late 1880s. While some public health advocates argue that people should not consume more than one sweetened beverage each week, those blaming American obesity on lack of exercise counter that “soft drinks are an enjoyable, safe product that people have been enjoying for generations.”

The article compares the purported health issues associated with the consumption of sweetened beverages to cigarettes, stating “given how much we drink these beverages, and how much of the nutritionally void sugar we ingest is derived from them, soda has become a problem we’re only now in hindsight realizing has damaged the health of entire generation. Kind of like cigarettes.” Citing research on the effects of cigarette taxes on use, the author implies that soda taxes would not only raise significant revenues, but would help people consume fewer calories per day and lose up to five pounds each year. The author concludes by urging readers to “get off the Internet, reach for a glass of water and go for a run.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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