New Movie "Fed Up" Offers Challenge to Think About Sugar Consumption

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • I was sitting in the automobile center’s waiting room this morning as my car was serviced. I had finished reading the papers when I heard a familiar perky voice. Looking up, I noticed Katie Couric was being interviewed. She was talking about the dangers of consuming too much sugar.

    “You’re supposed to eat six to nine teaspoons a day – or that’s the safe threshold, according to the American Heart Association, but there’s hidden sugar in everything,” Couric told ABC News. “Of the 60,000 products in the grocery store, 80 percent have added sugar.”

    Her interview was in conjunction with the release of a new film entitled “Fed Up,” for which Couric served as executive producer along with Laurie David, the Academy Award-winning producer of “An Inconvenient Truth.” The film opens May 9 in theaters around the United States. The experts who are involved in this film include former President Bill Clinton, Senator Tom Harkin, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. David Kessler, Dr. Kelly D. Brownell, Risa Lavizzo Mourey, Dr. Robert Lustig, Michael Pollan and Margo Wootan.

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    So what is too much sugar? According to Dr. Lustig, who is an endocrinologist, you shouldn’t consume more than 200 calories of additional sugar daily. Too much sugar can cause weight gain, damage to the liver, high blood pressure, lipid buildup, heart disease and dangerous fat buildup around your abdomen.

    As part of the promotion for the opening of the film, Couric is calling for Americans to participate in “The Fed Up Challenge: Sugar Free for 10 Days.” This challenge calls for:

    • Cutting out sodas and other sweetened beverages that are essentially liquid sugars. This includes sweetened ice tea, bottled tea, lemonade, fruit juices and sports drinks.
    • Cutting out foods in which sugar has been added.
    • Avoiding honey, molasses, agave and other products that contain added sugar.
    • Stop using all artificial sugars and sugar substitutes.
    • Avoiding foods that have hidden sugars, such as yogurts, canned foods, spaghetti sauce and ketchup.

    The "Fed Up" website points out that a 20-ounce bottle of soda has the equivalent of about 17 teaspoons of sugar. People who drink between 1-2 sugar-sweetened beverages daily raise their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 26 percent. A 2012 analysis found that Americans consumed an average of 765 grams of sugar every five days, which amounts to 130 pounds annually.

    So let’s look at comparisons of sugar content. For instance, an eight-ounce container of fruited yogurt has 43 grams of sugar, which is the same amount as ½-cup of raisins and 10 gummy worms.  One cup of unsweetened grape juice has 35 grams of sugar while a 12-ounce can of soda has 33 grams.

    Therefore, I’d encourage you to take the following steps:

    • Go see the movie (and avoid the unhealthy offerings at the concession stand).
    • Take the "Fed Up Challenge" to see if you can cut sugar intake over the 10-day period.
    • While grocery shopping, be sure to read food labels over the next two weeks to learn where hidden sugars are lurking. Avoid buying these products.
    • Try to eat more whole unprocessed foods.
    • Avoid fast food.
    • Choose water as your beverage of choice.

    Now, I haven’t seen the movie, but think at the very least this production is useful since it will encourage a national dialogue on the types of food we eat and our overall diet. I’ll look forward to seeing what everyone has to say about the message that Couric and company are sending.

  • Primary Sources for This Sharepost:

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    ABC News. (2014). Why Katie Couric wants you to get ‘Fed Up,’ take a sugar challenge.

    FedUp. (2014). Fed Up website.

    Millar, H. (ND). How much sugar is in that? Prevention.

Published On: May 08, 2014

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