Adults usually eat less pizza and drink less soda as the price of these items increases, and their body weight and overall calorie intake also appear to decrease, according to a study appearing in JAMA’s Archives of Internal Medicine.
"To compensate for food environments where healthful foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables tend to cost more, public health professionals and politicians have suggested that foods high in calories, saturated fat or added sugar be subject to added taxes and/or that healthier foods be subsidized," the authors write.
Such manipulation of food prices could be used as a mechanism to promote public health and chronic disease prevention efforts.
Kiyah Duffey, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues compiled food price data and assessed the dietary habits of 5,115 young adults, age 18 to 30. A 10 percent increase in pizza and soda price was associated with a 12 percent decrease in calories consumed from pizza, and a 7 percent decrease in calories consumed from soda. Cost increases were also associated with a lower overall daily calorie intake and lower body weight.
An 18 percent tax on these foods would result in a weight loss of 5 pounds per year by reducing calorie intake by 56 calories per day, the authors estimate. This weight loss would also correspond with a reduced risk of obesity-related diseases.
"Findings suggest that national, state or local policies to alter the price of less healthful foods and beverages may be one possible mechanism for steering adults toward a more healthful diet," the authors write. "While such policies will not solve the obesity epidemic, they could prove an important strategy to aid in weight loss and reduced rates of diabetes.”
Permanent weight loss can be achieved by:
• Burning more calories than you consume.
• Aiming for no more than two pounds of weight loss per week.
• Regular low-impact and vigorous exercise.
• Substituting whole grains, fruits and vegetables for fat and sugar.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for weight management as well as a wide range of other health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.