'Fed Up' Worth a View in Discussion of Childhood Obesity

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • I was hoping to catch the movie “Fed Up” while I was on a vacation last May. You see, the documentary never made it to where I live (or if it did, it didn’t stay long enough for me to work it into my schedule). I had the best intentions to see this movie in the major city where I was staying; however, I had to return home due to an emergency before I could make it to the cinema.

     

    So with that said, I am happy to report that I have now seen “Fed Up,” thanks to its availability on Netflix, Google Play and VUDU. The movie, which has Laurie David (who was a producer of the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth) and former CBS News anchor Katie Couric as two of the executive producers and is narrated by Couric, looks at childhood obesity levels and tries to examine underlying causes. (Note: There is another documentary called “Fed Up!” that came out in 2002 and focuses on the use of pesticides and herbicides. That’s not the movie I’m talking about here.)

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    I found this documentary thought-provoking. So here are some of the movie’s take-aways:

    1. It’s not really about calories in (what you eat) vs. calories out (how much exercise you get), which also is known as energy balance in the lingo. The experts who were interviewed in the movie pointed out that calories are processed differently by the body. For instance, eating 160 calories of almonds is processed differently than eating 160 calories of soft drinks. Because the almonds contain fiber, the intestinal tract is unable to absorb the calories quickly. In comparison, the composition of a soft drink allows it to be absorbed quickly by the body, resulting in a sugar rush that turns into fat.
    2. Sugar is prevalent everywhere – and producers are not required to list sugar in the top portion of the food label that reports the percentage of recommended daily amount. The documentary suggests that sugar began being added to food to make it palatable as a result of food engineering to lower the fat content in the wake of the McGovern Report in 1977. Because of this, we’ve doubled the daily intake of sugar from 1977 to 2000. The experts interviewed in the film described the level of sugar we’re consuming as a chronic dose-dependent toxin that can result in diabetes, cancer, lipid problems, strokes and other health issues.
    3. Processed foods are also dangerous to your health since sugar can be found in 80 percent of these types of food.  One of the experts indicated that there is no difference in the metabolic response of the human body between eating a bowl of corn flakes cereal without sugar or a bowl of sugar without corn flakes. Fruit juices also are problematic, as are diet drinks and diet foods.
    4. Many people consume more than four times the recommended amount of sugar daily. That’s because sugar is hidden in food products such as juice, cereal, many canned foods, jelly, bread, frozen foods and pasta sauce.
    5. Sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine. Since the food industry is focused on getting infants to be fed sugar-laden food as early as possible, the experts point out that willpower doesn’t work in face of this type of addiction.
    6. Parents can help set their children up for success in maintaining a healthy weight. To do so, parents should try to shop on the edges of the supermarket (which means they’ll be purchasing whole foods) and then regularly cook meals from these foods.

    I think this documentary is definitely worth watching. After doing so, I’d encourage you to do your own homework about what you – and your children – eat.  Find qualified and respected sources such as research centers and see what they have to say. Talk to your medical doctor. Be wary of research reports that are underwritten by the food industry. And at the very least, use this movie as a challenge to return to the kitchen stove and learn how to cook foods that are good for you and that taste good!

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    Primary Sources for This Sharepost:

     

    ABC News. (2014). ‘Fed Up’ with sugar: Katie Couric’s 10-day challenge.

     

    FedUp. (2014). Movie.

     

Published On: September 11, 2014