Should food stamps be used to buy soda and candy?

Lawmakers across the country are aiming to ban low-income families from using their food stamp cards to purchase soda and other junk food, sparking a debate over how much influence the government should have in purchasing decisions of families receiving supplemental aid.

A new USDA report shows that while most food stamp money was spent in the category of “meat, poultry and seafood,”recipients spent millions more on soda, or sweetened beverages, than vegetables, the second and third highest categories purchased.

When grouped together, more money was spent on unhealthy food than healthy foods. About 20% of food stamps were spent on the categories of sweetened beverages, desserts, salty snacks, candy and sugar.