Only steep taxes added to a large amount of unhealthy food and beverages will keep consumers from switching to other unhealthy foods, according to Oliver Mytton, academic clinical fellow at the University of Oxford and lead author of the study.
"Singling out one set of products in such an overly simplistic manner only undermines efforts to combat this complex issue," the American Beverage Association said in a written statement, citing a study review by researchers at George Mason University that only showed a slight decrease in body mass index when a 20 percent tax was imposed on sugar beverages.
According to the study, some food industry groups say higher taxes could damage the industry and lead to job losses.
But some experts say that cost to jobs is not as risky as the economic cost if Americans remain obese. Obesity costs American businesses $70 billion in lost productivity, another statistic presented in the HBO documentary series.
"The cost in tax payer dollars is enormous," said Klauer. "A soda tax could be used to offset the medical costs."