(Gray News) – Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that would keep food stamp recipients from using them on things like soda, energy drinks, candy and other junk foods.
The legislation says it would ban people from buying energy drinks and any beverages containing 54 milligrams of caffeine or more per 8 fluid ounces. Coffee is not included.
Included in the bill are sweetened or carbonated beverages, some potato or corn chips, cookies and candies.
The proposed ban will not prevent food stamp users from buying fruit or vegetable juices.
“At-risk Texans and families who utilize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are often the most susceptible to diabetes and the serious complications associated with it,” State Representative and bill sponsor Briscoe Cain told KHOU.
“HB 4364 seeks to curb the spread of diabetes and other health complications among Texans in at-risk populations by eliminating sugary drinks and snacks from the state’s nutrition assistance program.”
In 2012, the estimated annual total economic cost of diabetes in the United States was $245 billion, according to a study in the National Library of Medicine. Costs of the disease are projected to increase to $336 billion by 2034.
Diabetes can severely damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and other body parts. It can also double the risk of heart attack and stroke.