5 Bucks for a Can of Coke?

coca cola coke


You heard it here first.

$5 for a can of Coke.

And I’ll tell you why:

  1. America is fat…really fat
  2. American media keeps telling Americans to be afraid because they are soooo fat.
  3. American politicians tell the media that they are concerned that so many Americans are fat.
  4. And according to the laws of physics, Media fearmongering + faux Politico concern = Gov’t Intervention

But, what kind of intervention?

  • Public service announcements?
  • A national exercise program?
  • A subsidy on broccoli?

Nah, all of those options cost money.

What we need is an anti-obesity plan that actually makes money for the government.

six packBecause we all know that the government needs money. Between the recession and rising unemployment and the war(s) and the potential cost of President Obama’s healthcare reform package, the feds are strapped for cash.

So, how can the gov’t raise big wads of money in order to give America a collective six-pack?




More specifically, sin taxes on the food and/or behaviors that lead to obesity.

But what should we tax?

What we need is a nutritional villain

How about trans fat?

No, that won’t work. Bad PR and gov’t bans have pretty much killed off trans fats.

We need something new.

How about this?

According to the American Heart Association:

  • High intake of added sugars is implicated in numerous poor health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
  • Added sugars and solid fats in food, as well as alcoholic beverages are categorized as “discretionary calories” and should be eaten sparingly.
  • Most American women should consume no more than 100 calories (25 grams) of added sugars per day. That is equal to the amount of sugar in 2/3 of a single 12 oz /355 ml bottle of Coke.
  • Most men, no more than 150 calories (38 grams). That is equal to the amount of sugar in one 12 oz /355 ml bottle of Coke
  • Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet.

And there we go. We have our villain


And since we get most of our added or non-naturally occurring sugar from soft drinks, look for a big gov’t/NGO/media push for a sin tax on soft drinks.

Mark my words people.

5 Bucks for a Can of Coke


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  1. I love the idea, but wait until the corn agribusiness finds out you are pushing that. Tobacco has nothing on those lobbyists.

    Of course, soft drinks aren’t my particular soft spot. Don’t you touch my cheese, though.

  2. You know, that may be true for some, but I’m a size zero at 108 lbs. 5’2″ at age 22. And I am somehow staying about the same weight considering the amounts of fast food and calories and sodas I intake on a daily basis. I usually eat nothing but fast food, and usually drink a two liter by myself in one day. Just saying. the difference is, my body and my excersize patterns. My metabolism uses everything I put in it, so that nothing gets turned into fat stored anywhere. And I’m usually running around a lot during a day, I don’t like to sit down and not do anything. Also, I don’t have a lot of stress in my life, people in depression tend to eat their way out of it. By the way, I never get sick. So I think it’s unfair for them to tax the things that everyone uses just because everyone’s fat. I think they should just inform people of what they’re doing and what they need to do in order to stay healthy. Even if it means telling them to excersize. Because in the end, THAT’s our real problem. Nobody wants to excersize off all that food they eat. And we’re Americans and LOVE our food. I still need to feed my Barq’s addiction.

    Take a look at Superman. In order to feed this man who burns so many calories in a day just by being Superman, one would need to buy him 10 double cheeseburgers, 10 large Mcdonald’s fries, and 4 2-liters of soda. But look how good he looks!!! It’s because he burns it off by excersizing! Which doesn’t have to be strenuous crunches or pushups, just start by moving a little more quickly throughout your day. Instead of lazily walking around and moaning to get off the sofa, sit up straight (which burns calories) and walk as though you’re in a hurry.

  3. Everyone is different I guess. I don’t reccomend you charging five dollars for a can of coke. I just think that certain people who know they gain weight easily and have trouble exercising it off shouldn’t have the sugary soft drinks and food. They need to police themselves.

  4. I think it is terrible that the government wants so much control in people’s lives. Really, if you step back and think about it, who eats the most fast food? Drinks the most soda? Has the most weight problems? Sadly, because health food and “whole foods” cost so much now, it is the lower end of the financial population. I thought there were going to be no new taxes? I knew that was too good to be true. It is just ridiculous that we have allowed so much government control that it is now coming down to what we eat as well. Good article though, thanks for posting.

  5. I agree lack of exercise is the real problem and maybe also portion control. But being uninformed isn’t. It is simply a personal choice I think some people make. It is sad due to the health risks imposed by the excess weight, but non the less, a choice that should remain theirs to make.

  6. How about the government stops trying to tell me what to do, reforms and regulates the insurance industry, and people are able to buy and eat what they want. What next? Potato chips cost $20?

    Consumed in moderation neither will make you fat. However, if one ate too much chicken or fish you’d get fat too.

    In a society some people are thin, some are fat. Some are healthy and some are not. That’s part of the normal distribution and risk pool. Insurance companies want you to forget that.

  7. The problem is that while we don’t want government to be our nanny telling us what to eat (controlling our choices), we want them to help us no matter what we do (remove the negative consequences of our choices).

    It happens all the time. We did it in finance, too (privatize the gains, nationalize the losses).

    Freedom without consequences isn’t sustainable long-term. The wonder of natural selection was what got us here through the course of 4 billion years. Maybe society shouldn’t be protecting everyone from themselves.

  8. Guys, excercise is great, but it won’t solve all problems with weight. I think it helps, but I see excercise as more of a health need then a weight loss need and I think food has MUCH more power over your body composition.

    For example for at least the past 5-6 months or so I have been doing 18-20hrs of martial arts training a week (including at least 2-3hrs of sparring or grappling work, which can be a very intense workout), plus 3 HIIT sessions that are about as intense as they can be (I play with finding my max HR a lot), plus a 1.5hr full body weight lifting workout each week, and on top of this I walk my dog at least 2 miles every single day. I have not been able to get the pounds off with just exercise, I have still struggled. Yes I have lost weight, but I could not seem to get past the “I just need to lose 25-30lbs more” situation. Could I work out more? Yes. Could I maybe make more headway with more excercise? Yes. Is that the best option? Probably not, there is a lot to say for recovery and wear and tear on the body.

    I firmly believe that a large part of my problem was sugar, specifically soda as I am a huge addict. I cut back on sugar all around and just recently have started to try to do the paleo diet, in the short period on the paleo diet I have already regained some of my previous progress (I had been slipping back into gaining weight). I still need to lose ~25lbs, but its only day 5 on this diet, but I already feel this is going to get me further on down the road.

    $5 soda huh? I am not totally against the idea except for the fact that the tax revenues will go to a black hole of lobbyists and crooks.


  9. Pretty cool post. I just came by your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your posts.

    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

  10. I agree with Anna too – no one takes time to take the staircase, 20 minute walks / jogs…yoga…it’s all about shortcuts in this country and it personally ticks me off when people complain about their weight and stuff their face and do nothing to counteract it.

    And let’s not forget about carbs from alcohol – they stick with you forever. Tax beer. Especially now that football’s around the corner. Which is an irony that the majority of people that watch football, an extremely athletic sport, do so glued to the TV with no activity. Granted there may be some that actually go out & play…but not nearly enough.

    Thus, why I just worry about me. Too many people on this planet live in too much ignorance.

  11. I agree somehow with you…Coke and soda are poisons. We should consume sugar… but brown sugar. They are worried about ZERO Cal…What about zero sugar… But the worst. Coke is the responsible for the slaughter of thousand of innocent iraquians and billions of other people… Like Chomsky says: according to our own classification we are terrorist…. (and the big ones)
    But I respect the american for many of rational things they contribute

  12. Coke is my all time favourite although I am growing fatter and fatter… guess it one of the things that you are addicted too.. perhaps they added small amount of cocaine in coke… u never know man!!

  13. I have a can of Coke for lunch at work each day, but I have Diet Coke. The artificial sweetener is probably doing me more harm than the sugar.

  14. Nice article and was thought provoking.

    It’s sad but it’s true. Tax is always the politicians answer to life’s problems. And there is no way for normal people to see if tax collected from sugary food and drink has gone towards any anti-obesity initiatives. Not that I am synical or anything.

  15. I like your idea… but…

    If 5 bucks for a coke was successful where would it stop?! Chocolate, fries, etc.

    There are some foods that are fairly high in calories that have many fantastic benefits – enter Mr Banana.

    If people can’t be expected to exercise common sense when consuming calorific foods, how can we expect people to exercise common sense when creating food taxes?!!?

  16. Where would it stop?

    Great question.

    First soft drinks, then “fruit drinks”, then chocolate milk, chocolate bars, breakfast cereal….

    The list is endless.

    The food industry adds sugar to just about everything. Does that mean that a sugar tax would apply to all of those products?

    And how do they determine the size of the sugar tax?

    Research has shown that small tax increases have little effect on purchasing behavior, but large tax increases have a significant effect. So, if they are serious about this tax changing America’s sugar addiction, they NEED to slap a big ole tax on sugar-added products.

    And this probably would lead to a black market in sugar (not to mention a very angry corn/sugar lobby),

    In Canada, when gov’ts increased the sin taxes on cigarettes past that invisible “piss off the taxpayer” breaking point, they created a market for black market “native” cigarettes.

    And when they lowered the tax, the market went away…until they raised the taxes again.

    But, who can blame them, politicians are as hooked on tax dollars as we are on cigarettes and Coke.

  17. Anna,

    About a month ago I would have agreed 100% with what you just said. And I do agree with your statement, “My metabolism uses everything I put in it” – I’m just not so sure that it’s the exercise that is doing it. Two books crossed my path this summer, Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” and Gary Taubes'”Good Calories, Bad Calories”. I realize I am coming late to the debate about Taubes’ book since it was published a few years ago, but I am astounded by what I am reading.

    I recently lost 25 lbs without a smidge of exercise because of a bad back – just cut down on portion sizes and carbs. I have had a lifelong struggle with weight and was even given diet pills at 10 years of age. But I have noticed that anytime I ease up on the carbs, I lose weight.

    If it really is all about thermodynamics, i.e., more calories out than calories in = weight loss, why do we all know people who contradict that law? Are they living outside the law of physics? Duke University has even done studies where they totally controlled the amount of food taken in by obese patients and they still did not lose weight.

    Something else is going on here. I am starting to believe that the reason we haven’t found that out yet is because scientists and researchers believe that the case is closed and there is no need to do any more research.

  18. I agree with this but in the same regard we have other rules which impact our day to day lives and freedoms that we all know are necessary, such as traffic lights and signs. It is not so much about limiting freedom as it is about preventing chaos.

    In a similar way obesity is creating havoc on our health care system, and it’s not even really put its full weight on the subject yet (no pun intended). Perhaps we need to start looking at ways of limiting the self inflicted problems rather than just trying to take everyone’s money and spread it around enough to paper mache over those problems. That goes for the single payer, government run healthcare, or even the private as everyone’s rates are based on what is occurring on all clients. By choosing to not try to do something about these problems you are essentially giving them your checkbook to continue their road of abuse, after all there is probably some (expensive) experimental pill out there that can keep their vitals closer to normal isn’t there? They thereby impact my freedoms by their carelessness, just like an idiot running a stop sign can impact me personally.

    Also while your analogy about chicken and fish is technically correct, it would be physically harder to consume them in the same quantities as soda, candy, and processed foods can be. Mountain Dew has 290 calories in a 20oz serving and almost anyone that drinks this soda can drink this amount in a matter of seconds (along with gulping down a candy bar or what not). I would bet you could drink 2, maybe 3 of these before feeling any type of fullness (just because the physical size of your stomach limiting capacity, not because you are satiated), and within the next 30 minutes you could most likely ingest more. Imagine how much can be taken in over a 24hr period, and yes people do drink soda like this as I have personally seen people easily drink a 2 liter bottle of this stuff in the span of an 8 hour work session. That’s nearly 1000 calories of pure sugar! That’s 2lbs a week weight gain potential, especially since you do not get any real fullness or satiation from it.

    In the same regard 20oz of lean chicken has around 700 calories, but seriously, who eats 20oz of chicken in a single setting, and even if you do how much longer do you think you would be full in comparison to the Mountain Dew? Most likely you would feel full for at least 3hrs if not longer, and I have never seen someone eat 67oz of chicken in a single 8 hour work session….

    Anyway there will always be fat and skinny people, healthy and unhealthy, we can’t eliminate that situation. However what we can try to do is influence the boundaries (extremes) to not be so wide, which will lessen the impact on all of us.


  19. No…how about a health czar? Or a soda czar? I’ve got a better plan though for those with problems with obesity—cut out fast food and keep it as a treat once in a while. Our problem is too many indoor activities and not enough excercise. Everything in moderation. Forget the fad diets. Go with your common sense. Oh wait…America doesn’t have any anymore.

    On the more sobering reality, it is really tough to lose weight after 30.

  20. I think it’s not a bad idea to raise the cost, as you’ll get more tax money to be invested in useful things (health research, information propagation, I don’t know what else)….but it won’t solve the problem.

    You have to kill the root of the problem or else the problem will continue existing. Coke is not the root of the problem…

  21. Follow the money.

    Research costs money. The people who pay for research (corporations, gov’t, charitable donation) all have an agenda for how they would like that money to be spent.

    Big Pharma pays for research leading to new drugs. To do otherwise would be poor business.

    How much of our health care budget is spent on researching the effects of a Taubesian or Pollanesque nutrition plan? Not much…unless the Broccoli Council of America comes up with some cash.

  22. Hey DR. Your probably not far off the target with this post. Taxes are already going up around the country. State sales taxes, gas tax, sin tax etc. We will see increases in utility taxes too so plan on spending more for your water, sewar, electric, cell phone, gas, cable etc. Thanks for stopping by Live Smart and leaving your thoughts on my post about the AHA’s new guidelines.

  23. As soon as I stopped drinking soda I dropped like 80 lbs. No joke… I mean I did exercise and eat right in other areas…but it was totally the not-drinking of the coke that did it.

  24. Awesome idea.It is better to cut added sugar from daily food to stay in the healthier side.Americans are strongly advised to cut sugar consumption by their doctors because excess sugar may lead to number of health problems.
    Thanks for the article.

  25. This is an excellent example of how easily misinformation gets passed off as de facto information – upon which people formulate misguided, and often counterproductive attitudes and belief systems. While the blog provides an accurate cause and effect analysis of soda’s negative effects on the nations health, there is not an iota of rational support of this idea that a massive (400% !?) tax on carbonated beverages is imminent. Yet much of the comment section is filled with outrage over the government’s plan to tax coke. Its almost comical, except that its frightening that people so easily believe anything they read or hear. NEWSFLASH: Not everything you read on the internet is true!

  26. Do you think this will have an impact on diet cola, too? £1 for a diet coke, £3 for coke?

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