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High tax on high energy dense foods and its effects on the purchase of calories in a supermarket. An experiment

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The present study examined whether a high tax on high calorie dense foods effectively reduces the purchased calories of high energy dense foods in a web based supermarket, and whether this effect is moderated by budget and weight status. 306 participants purchased groceries in a web based supermarket, with an individualized budget based on what they normally spend. Results showed that relative to the no tax condition, the participants in the tax condition bought less calories. The main reduction was found in high energy dense products and in calories from carbohydrates, but not in calories from fat. BMI and budget did not influence the effectiveness of the tax. The reduction in calories occurred regardless of budget or BMI implying that a food tax may be a beneficial tool, along with other measures, in promoting a diet with fewer calories.

    Research areas

  • Tax, Energy density, Obesity, Purchases, Social economical status (SES), Macronutrients, OBESITY, PRICE, ENVIRONMENT, CAFETERIA, HEALTH, FRUIT, COSTS
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-765
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011