Wednesday night, I went to see the documentary Fed Up. I left the movie so mad I wanted to shake my fist at the concession stand in the lobby as I left.
I was also sad that there were only a handful of other folks in the theater. It’s a message EVERYONE needs to get.
Here are some nuggets of wisdom from the movie:
In 1977, the McGovern Report recommended we all cut back on fat. The food industry’s response was swift and stealth. Through the 1980s, shelves of grocery stores soon became full of “low-fat,” “fat free,” “low cal” and “lite” versions of all the processed food products we were already used to eating. But because food without fat just isn’t palatable, the food manufacturers replaced it with more sugar.
The World Health Organization recommends people consume no more six teaspoons of added sugar daily. That’s about 25 grams. However, every five days, Americans consume an average of 765 grams of sugar.
As a matter of fact, a 20-ounce soda has 17 teaspoons of sugar.
In 1980, there were no documented childhood cases of Type II Diabetes. In 2010, there were almost 60,000 cases in the U.S. Type II Diabetes is what used to be known as “adult onset” because it used to typically develop in late adulthood, largely as a result of lifestyle. Those afflicted are becoming younger and younger.
But what makes me so mad is that the food industry knows how bad these products are for us, and they continue to insist there’s nothing wrong with them, putting profits ahead of public health. And, it also makes me mad that our government just willingly looks the other way.
The most compelling parts were also the saddest parts–the stories of the kids who are struggling everyday with obesity.
This movie pulls back the curtain about our food system, the government’s complicit role in our current obesity epidemic, and the biochemistry of what these poisons are doing to us. It’s truly appalling. I wish it were on TV so more people could see it.
In the meantime, check out the website. Some of the resources are really eye-opening. We’re consuming obscene amounts of sugar, and it’s slowing killing us. Even if you already eat well, you might not be aware that sugar is in just about every product on grocery shelves, from salad dressing to sliced bread. And, even if you’re perfect (and none of us are) in your diet, this problem still affects you because our future workforce is being hamstrung by our diets. It’s a public health crisis. Every time steps were taken by the government to reign in sugar consumption, the food industry very deftly fought back time and time again. I realized while sitting in the movie theater, that the only thing that is going to stop the course we’re on is education. That’s why its so important that people see this movie, or at the very least get info from the website.
The simplest thing that we can do to avoid added sugar is to cook our meals at home with whole foods. I have always liked Michael Pollan’s philosophy espoused in his book Cooked.
Here is the Wikipedia entry for the documentary. At the bottom, under the “References” section, is a list of a number of articles about and reviews of the movie, that I found particularly helpful.
Here’s something else related that I wanted to share. A common mantra of the food industry is that a calorie is a calorie. It doesn’t matter where they come from. You’ve probably seen the ads that the corn refiner’s association was running a year or so ago about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). But it’s just not true. Earlier this week, I found this article on twitter about the chemistry of HFCS, specifically in soda. Our bodies have been processing the HFCS in soda on the market today differently than regular table sugar (sucrose). HFCS is made up of both fructose and glucose, and it is indistinguishable from sucrose by our bodies if the ratio is around 50/50 fructose to glucose. The beverage industry reports that HFCS is generally no more than 55% fructose, but studies have revealed that sometimes the proportions are much more skewed. It’s no wonder why drinking only one soda a day raises the risk of developing diabetes by a whopping 60%. It’s time we all kick the can habit.