According to Politico:
I've written about this policy proposal several times in the past. It's an example of good intentions getting ahead of good evidence. Do SNAP (aka "food stamp") participants generally drink more soda than non-SNAP participants? Yes. Is excess soda consumption likely to lead to health problems? Yes. But, will banning soda purchases using SNAP funds reduce soda consumption. Probably not much.
In fact, I just received word that the journal Food Policy will publish a paper I wrote with my former Ph.D. student, Amanda Weaver, on this very topic. First is the logical (or theoretical) argument:
If that wasn't transparent, consider the example I gave in this paper I wrote for the International Journal of Obesity:
So, in theory, people can "get around" these sorts of SNAP restrictions very easily making the restriction ineffectual.
Now, back to my Food Policy paper. Our experiment results show the following:
So, maybe restrictions on soda purchases by SNAP recipients will affect their soda consumption after all. Here are our thoughts on that:
Another thing to keep in mind is that such restrictions may limit people's willingness to participate in SNAP in the first place. Even in our experimental context, we find that soda restrictions do indeed affect participation as measured by use of the "coupon" or "stamp" (both whether it is used at all and the amount of the coupon used).
All in all, I think the above discussion shows that despite the intuitive appeal of a simple policy restricting SNAP purchases, the actual consequences are likely to be much more complicated.