A new report says not allowing food stamp recipients to use their benefits to buy sugary drinks won’t prevent obesity. The Illinois Public Health Institute study says while sports drinks, sodas and energy drinks do contribute to obesity, those in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would still buy them, just not with their SNAP benefits.
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“If you have sugar-sweetened beverages in your cart and they weren’t allowable just like other things weren’t allowable, at the end of your transaction, the people who are paying additional cash would pay cash for what was not allowable,” said Elissa Bassler, chief executive of the institute. Bassler recommends that the General Assembly create a pilot program that would include a ban on buying sugary drinks with SNAP benefits, along with incentives to buy more nutritious foods.