I’m having a hard time writing this reaction because I really want you to see the movie and I don’t want to give too much away. So here’s what I’ll do: I’ll share the synopsis, the trailer, the five soundbites that blew my mind, and my conclusion. There is a lot more in this movie that I am purposely leaving out. For instance, four teens are showcased and I will not talk about them because I want you to get to know them like I did.
Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong. FED UP is the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP will change the way you eat forever.
“Sugar is poison. It is a chronic, dose-dependent, hepatotoxin.”
“You can eat a bowl of Corn Flakes with no added sugar or a bowl of sugar with no added Corn Flakes. It might taste different but below the neck, they are metabolically the same.”
“Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine.”
“I think that America is still insufficiently alert to the damage we are doing long term to our collective health by too much sugar intake.”
“’Sodas’ is the cigarette of the 21st century.”
It’s the Sugar, stupid! I hate to be blunt but that’s what it is… not so much the sugar sugar, but the hidden added sugars. If our daily meals and snacks are primarily made of processed food then we are consuming WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR. And I already knew this. A while back I took a class on Coursera titled “Nutrition and Physical Activity for Health.” We had a module titled “Carbohydrates” where I learned a few things: first, that the whole debate on high fructose corn syrup was bogus because sugar is sugar regardless; second, how carbs are digested and regulated in the body; and third, I finally understood what the whole deal with fiber is. We must eat fiber to slow down digestion. Here’s a really great article that explains it and click here for copies of my class handouts on carbohydrates. This movie further my understanding of how we are affected by sugar and it ain’t pretty.
We cannot exercise our way out of the obesity epidemic but can cook ourselves out of it. The government is not going to help, the food industry is not going to grow a conscience, so if we want change, we have to change.
The social scientist in me could not leave out the negative press this movie has received. Some people took the movie as taking the blame off obese/overweight people and placing it on big business and government; and although I see their point, I believe they (I hope unconsciously) turned a blind eye to how the government had failed to properly inform their citizens and to the amount of money the food industry has spent to bury research that would help us make better decisions. That’s messed up no matter how you look at it. Yes, we need to be held accountable for what we put in our bodies but that doesn’t absolve them for what they have done and continue doing. Others criticize the fact that Katie Couric (who produces and narrates) is not a food specialist, nutritionist, etc. and to that I say… did you miss all the experts that are in this movie? This is not Couric’s opinion that she’s spouting, the movie interviews heads of medical and pediatric institutions, well-respected ones, people you can look up (as I did) to make sure they are not fake, politicians, food authors like Michael Pollan (my #mancrushmonday) and many others.
I do agree that the movie shifts blame but at this point I don’t even care who’s fault it is. We have a problem, a real problem that we need to stop sugar-coating, literally and figuratively. Do yourself a favor and for at least one day track how much sugar you eat. If you are eating anything processed, as Michael Pollan would put it, anything that is made in a plant instead of coming from a plant, then you are probably eating too much sugar. How much is too much? Apparently nobody knows. The World Health Organization recommends 5-10% of your daily calories should come from sugar, the American Heart Association recommends “no more than 100 calories per day for women and no more than 150 calories per day for men.” Believe me, they add up quickly. I went to the USDA website looking for an official decision on this and was unable to find one. I also went to the FDA website and found nothing. That explains why nutritional labels do not include %DV for sugars. It’s on us then.