Last weekend I saw a movie that broke my heart.
Fed Up, a new movie produced by Katie Couric and Laurie David (producer of the Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”), aims to finally tell the truth about our messed up food system and how it is linked to the obesity epidemic. In it, we learn that food company lobbyists have been feeding our government misinformation, leading to food policies that are ruining our health.
The most troubling part of the movie is a glimpse into the lives of overweight teenagers, trying to deal with their problem through conventional “diet and exercise” methods. It just doesn’t work and by the end of the movie, we understand why. Sugar, added to 80% of the products on grocery store shelves (and prevalent in most fast food, school and restaurant meals), is the primary culprit.
But the forces behind all that added sugar in our food is what should really make us FED UP.
Top 10 reasons to see the movie Fed Up:
1. Everything you’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is wrong. What we’re told: a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Truth: 150 calories of almonds behave very differently in your body than 150 calories of soda. Because of that, calorie reduction and exercise does not always equal weight loss.
2. You don’t have a clue how much sugar you are eating. Hint: one sweetened yogurt has more sugar than you should have in a day.
3. Ingredient lists are tricking you. Sugar is hiding under 56 different names on ingredient labels.
4. Lobbyists are fighting against you. Due to lobbying efforts, sugar is not listed with a daily recommendation percentage on packaging. This is just one of many ways lobbyists for Big Food and Big Ag have influenced U.S. dietary guidelines.
5. Your government is subsidizing the obesity epidemic. Government subsidies of corn based sweeteners have amounted to over $8 billion since 1995.
6. Your child is likely eating fast food for school lunch. In 2012, over half of all U.S. school districts served fast food.
7. Your child is being bombarded with ads for junk food. Children’s exposure to junk food ads increased 60% from 2008 to 2010 alone.
8. There’s a good chance you or your kids will be overweight or obese. Two thirds of Americans were overweight or obese in 2010 and at our current rate, 95% of Americans will be so within 2 decades.
9. Even if you think you are healthy, you might be TOFI. Thin on the outside, fat on the inside. Layers of fat around internal organs can lead to the same adverse health effects as obesity, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
10. Your medical costs are impacted by the obesity epidemic. Bariatric surgeries, at $10,000 per pop, have increased over 5 times since 2001. Not to mention the cost of treating diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to be unheard of in kids, but now is quite common.
The movie Fed Up broke my heart, not because of how these things effect me or my family, but because of all the children out there who are not so lucky to have the money, resources and education to help them navigate this mess.
In our home, we are very conscious of how we eat. We can afford to buy fresh, organic, unprocessed food. We have the time to cook healthy meals. We teach our kids about healthy choices and how to cook for themselves. But not all children have these advantages. As we see in the movie, it is extremely hard to break away from processed, sugar-laden foods. It is extremely hard to lose weight and stay healthy when sugary foods are all around us. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine. We need an intervention.
And by the way, food industry lobbyists are spending big money to try to discredit this film. We can’t let industry get away with this crap.
Are you FED UP with our food system?
You can take action in a few ways:
- Ask your government representatives to support new taxes on soda and other sugary drinks.
- Contact your school or district about improving your school’s nutrition policies.
- Take the Fed Up Challenge – go sugar free for 10 days!