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Farm Policies and Added Sugars in US Diets

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  • Beghin, John C.
  • Jensen, Helen H.

Abstract

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. 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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 12872.

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Date of creation: 28 Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Food Policy, December 2008, vol. 33 no. 6, pp. 480-488
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12872

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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Keywords: agricultural policy; corn; sugar; added sugar; caloric; diet; farm policies; HFCS; subsidy; sweetener;

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References

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  1. John C. Beghin & Barbara El Osta & Jay R. Cherlow & Samarendu Mohanty, 2001. "Cost of the U.S. Sugar Program Revisited, The," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 01-wp273, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  2. John C. Beghin & Barbara El Osta & Jay R. Cherlow & Samarendu Mohanty, 2003. "The Cost Of The U.S. Sugar Program Revisited," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(1), pages 106-116, 01.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Golan, Elise & Unnevehr, Laurian, 2008. "Food product composition, consumer health, and public policy: Introduction and overview of special section," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 465-469, December.
  2. Zhen Miao & John C. Beghin & Helen H. Jensen, 2010. "Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax or Final Consumption Tax?," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 10-wp510, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  3. 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 31-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  4. 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 162516, Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics.
  5. 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., vol. 22(3), pages 316-339, 03.
  6. 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, vol. 36(5), pages 588-596, October.
  7. Getu Hailu & John Cranfield & Rawlin Thangaraj, 2010. "Do U.S. food processors respond to sweetener-related health information?," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 348-368.
  8. 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, vol. 37(3), pages 343-353.
  9. 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, vol. 34(2), pages 176-184, April.

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