France Bans Free Soda Refills In Attempt To Tackle Obesity Rates

Will other countries follow suit?

February 15, 2017
france bans soda refills
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France has officially banned restaurants from offering free refills of soda and other sugary drinks, effective immediately, reports the New York Times. The ban follows a recent World Health Organization (W.H.O.) statement that encouraged a 20 percent tax on soda and other sugary drinks to help fight obesity and type-2 diabetes. This isn’t the first time the French have passed fat-fighting regulations: The country’s schools have been stripped of vending machines, and cafeterias can only serve French fries once a week.

While French people tend to weigh less than other Europeans, a little over 15 percent of French adults are still obese. That’s compared to 36.5 percent of Americans, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While measures like a refill ban may sound drastic, the research speaks for itself. People who drink 1 to 2 cans of soda a day have a 26 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who don’t indulge in the sweet stuff, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Plus, we’ve seen soda taxes work in the United States. After Berkeley, California implemented the first soda tax in the country, consumption of sugary beverages fell by 21 percent and water consumption rose by 63 percent, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health.

Recently, Philadelphia imposed its own soda tax, but no major U.S. city has gone so far as to ban refills in restaurants. 

But you don’t have to wait for taxes and bans to kick your soda habit. Avoid quitting cold turkey and switch to diet drinks to reduce calories while getting your sweetness fix, recommends psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. After a week, switch over to seltzer water with a slice of lemon or other citrus fruits to wean yourself off the sugar. 

 

“Substituting an alternative drink makes you two to three times more likely to resist temptation,” Halvroson says.

Additional reporting by Markham Heid

The article France Bans Free Soda Refills In Attempt to Tackle Obesity Rates originally appeared on Men’s Health.

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