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Farm Policies and Added Sugars in US Diets

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Major changes in the use of US sweeteners have occurred since 1970, in both the amount and composition. Increased consumption of caloric sweeteners, especially in beverages, has been linked to excess energy intake and lower-quality diets. We examine how US farm policies (specifically agricultural research and development [R&D] expenditures and commodity programs) have affected the consumption and composition of sweeteners in the US diet. R&D expenditures have lowered the unit cost of most commodities and increased their use in food production, ceteris paribus, although corn has benefited more than sugar crops in the technical progress. Commodity programs have raised the price of sugar and decreased the price of corn; high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) became an inexpensive substitute for sugar in food beginning in 1970. However, the effect of this change in the price of ingredients has become less important over time. Today the farm value share in sweetened food is very small (below 5%), and HFCS has become a specialized input in many food items. Countries with different or no commodity programs experience similar increases in consumption of added sugar. We conclude that the current link between the US consumption of caloric sweeteners and farm policy is tenuous, although historically the link was stronger.

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Paper provided by Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University in its series Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications with number 08-wp462.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:08-wp462

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Keywords: added sugar; agricultural policy; caloric; corn; diet; farm policies; HFCS; subsidy; sugar; sweetener.;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Miao, Zhen & Beghin, John C. & Jensen, Helen H., 2010. "Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax or Final Consumption Tax?," Staff General Research Papers, Iowa State University, Department of Economics 31969, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Peterson, Cora, 2011. "A rotten deal for schools? An assessment of states' success with the National School Lunch Program's in-kind food benefit," Food Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 588-596, October.
  3. Bradley J. Rickard & Abigail M. Okrent & Julian M. Alston, 2013. "How Have Agricultural Policies Influenced Caloric Consumption In The United States?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 316-339, 03.
  4. Golan, Elise & Unnevehr, Laurian, 2008. "Food product composition, consumer health, and public policy: Introduction and overview of special section," Food Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 465-469, December.
  5. Guy E.J. Faulkner & Paul Grootendorst & Van Hai Nguyen & Tatiana Andreyeva & Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos & Chris Auld & Sean B. Cash & John Cawley & Peter Donnelly & Adam Drewnowski & Laurette Dubé & R, 2011. "Economic Instruments for Obesity Prevention: Results of a Scoping Review and Modified Delphi Survey," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series, Monash University, Department of Economics 31-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  6. Getu Hailu & John Cranfield & Rawlin Thangaraj, 2010. "Do U.S. food processors respond to sweetener-related health information?," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 348-368.
  7. Hawkes, Corinna & Friel, Sharon & Lobstein, Tim & Lang, Tim, 2012. "Linking agricultural policies with obesity and noncommunicable diseases: A new perspective for a globalising world," Food Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 343-353.
  8. Alston, Julian M. & Mullally, Conner C. & Sumner, Daniel A. & Townsend, Marilyn & Vosti, Stephen A., 2009. "Likely effects on obesity from proposed changes to the US food stamp program," Food Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 176-184, April.
  9. Okrent, Abigail M. & Alston, Julian M., 2011. "The Effects of Farm Commodity and Retail Food Policies on Obesity and Economic Welfare in the United States," Working Papers, Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics 162516, Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics.

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