Pull out the cookies and Coke and snuggle up on the couch to watch this one…NOT! Personally, I haven’t met a documentary that didn’t make me passionate, and this one was no different. Fed Up unveils the problem and solution to the childhood obesity epidemic in our country. Thoughtfully and downright deceptively, food companies have managed to control our view of their food through advertisements, endorsements, and funded research. This documentary seeks to reveal their secrets and the widespread impact it’s having on our country.
Here’s the premise: All calories are not the same. For instance, if you eat 160 calories of almonds, these calories are slowly digested over time. However, if you drink 160 calories of coke, it turns to fat because the body can’t process sugar that quickly. Additionally, sugar is in everything. Therefore, the outcome on a country that consumes sugars hidden in nearly every product, is detrimental.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of this? These food companies target our kids. Childhood diabetes is on the rise from 0 cases in 1980 to 56,000 cases of type 2 diabetes in 2010. Sugar is even found in many baby formulas, especially lactose-free types. The documentary states that sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine, according to studies done on lab rats. With the average American consuming 41 grams of sugar a day, many of us are addicts (the average recommended allotment of sugar is highly debated, but is somewhere around 10-20 grams).
Fed Up particularly focused on school lunches. School lunches have been a hot topic in previous years. Much reform has been made, however, plenty is still necessary to ensure our children are nourished by school lunches. The documentary revealed that according to the current standards, pizza and french fries are considered vegetables. Sure enough, I didn’t have to look to far to discover the same thing in my search on the USDA’s website.
So, if you’re anything like me, you consider yourself a generally healthy person. If we can ignore my consumption of Christmas cookies in the month of December, I think I do alright. I exercise regularly, eat fruits and vegetables, and am addicted to coffee, but who isn’t? After viewing Fed Up, I scoured my fridge to assure myself of my wise health habits. However, I found little assurance upon opening my fridge door. My healthy Greek yogurt? You know, the kind from Whole Foods that’s loaded with protein and is convenient for lunches and snacks? 18 grams. From conservative standards, at least a day’s allotment of sugar. My lowfat milk? 12 grams. In one cup. You see where I’m going. It’s in everything.
The challenge of this documentary was to go sugar free for 10 days by watching nutrition labels, cooking more, and eliminating soda and sugary drinks. I’d love to join in and become more conscientious of my consumption of sugar, however, I won’t lie, I’m not throwing away my Greek yogurt. However, if you’re braver than me and interested in joining the challenge or simply becoming more educated on nutrition in our country, check out their website here.