Want to Slim Down? Tax Soda

Brownell estimated that even a tax of 1 cent on each canned soft drink purchase would raise $1.5 billion per year. Taxing 1 cent on each bag of chips or snack food could, in theory, generate hundreds of millions of annually. U.S. News & World Report called the plan one of 16 "smart ideas to fix the world" in 1997.

And the food industry has pushed back on this and others' ideas they believe are not so smart. The Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit coalition of restaurants, food companies and consumers, called Brownell a "food nanny" and likened his idea to a "weed or a virus" that has spread all the way to England and New Zealand.

The group also released a print ad with the caustic message: "You are too stupid to make your own food choices." It warned consumers about the "food police" imposing taxes on foods "they don't want you to eat."

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