Back to Basics: Nutrition Education
Posted by Americans for food and beverage choice on January 25, 2016
Carol Berg Sloan, RDN, FAND
I grew up in El Monte, a suburb of Los Angeles and worked as a consultant to the school district there for many years, specifically in nutrition education for K-8 schools. Just after I left this position in 2012, the El Monte City Council placed an initiative on the ballot to support a soda tax. I was not surprised when it was rejected by a 77% vote. Soda tax initiatives continue to pop up all over the country, despite their failed record to actually improve public health as is their alleged purpose. Unfortunately, most tax proponents continue to ignore this fact.
Recent “added sugar” data from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans show that a variety of foods and yes, beverages, contribute added calories to the American diet. However, singling out one item in the grocery cart to tax just doesn’t make sense to me, as is reflected in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans report. According to their recommendations, overall dietary balance is what matters.
We need to empower consumers with science based nutrition information so they can make their own decisions about what they choose to eat and drink- not by arbitrarily taxing their everyday food and beverage choices. Utilizing resources such as the “Calories Count” initiative, which makes calories clear and easy-to-understand, is a great place to start.
Carol Berg Sloan RDN, FAND is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and independent food and nutrition communications consultant in Long Beach, California. Carol has served as a delegate to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a committee member of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Nutrition Education for the Public and Dietitians in Business and Communication Dietetic Practice Groups.