This weekend, I got a chance to see a very important movie. All I thought about after the movie was how I had to tell as many people as possible.
Imagine that there was a drug out there, specifically targeted to children,that significantly shortened their lifespan and worsened their quality of life, and the drug was only becoming more prevalent and the messaging was just getting louder. What parent on Earth would allow that to happen?
That’s basically the takeaway I had after seeing Fed Up. Sugar is in everything, including all of the products that we don’t think about. Sugar metabolizes into fat and is creating a childhood obesity epidemic. One of the biggest culprits is soda, but the surge in low fat foods in the 90s are also to blame (less fat = more sugar).
Worst of all, sugar is impossible to avoid. According to the Fed Up website, kids watch 10 food commercials every day on average, and 98% of these ads are selling products that are high in sugar, fat, and sodium. When most kids arrive at school, they are bombarded again by sugar everywhere they go: Vending machines in the hallways, soda at the school stores, and pizza for lunch (which was deemed a vegetable in 2011). When they’re up against these odds, what can they do to stay healthy?
The movie presents the problem and omnipresence of sugar in a very easy-to-understand way, with a lot of experts on the topic putting in their two cents (I may have screamed like a fangirl when I saw Michael Moss, Michael Pollan, and Marion Nestle on the film) and guiding narration provided by Katie Couric. It’s obvious that this a passion of Couric’s, and how couldn’t it be? When you are introduced to the children struggling from obesity, extremely aware of their situation but unsure of how to fight against it, it’s heartbreaking. You just want to reach into the screen, rid their house of all sugar, and fight along with them.
One boy puts it best, and I’m paraphrasing, but what he basically said was: If you were an alcoholic, and you were sitting next to a bottle of gin, wouldn’t it be hard to keep yourself from drinking? So, why do we expect a child like him to abstain from eating junk food if it’s in the house? He’s suffering from a food addiction.
Watching the movie has also led me to think a lot about my blog posts. I write a lot about baked goods, and the number of posts with recipes like that may be sending the wrong message. I don’t eat baked goods all the time, obviously, but maybe I should be balancing out my content, or ensuring that the number of other posts show a statistical moderation when compared to posts featuring low or no-sugar recipes. It’s something I’ve been thinking about and will most likely continue to think about. The movie has generated a lot of thought between me and others who have seen the movie, and I’m really interested in hearing feedback and keeping the conversation going.
Have you seen the movie yet? If so, what do you think? Fed Up proposes that people participate in a 10-day sugar fast. I’ve been talking to my fiance about it and we will probably be doing it at some point this summer. Would you abstain from sugar for 10 days?
Let me know what you think in a comment here, or send me some feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m planning on writing more posts about Fed Up and these health topics in the future, so I’d love your comments and thoughts to be part of more posts.