This spring I wrote about this exciting documentary, FED UP. Just from watching the trailer it was clear that this would be something extra. A documentary about the obesity epidemic, of highest quality, that doesn’t just put the blame on a lack of calorie counting and willpower in sick people (something that’s just sickening).
The documentary screened in theaters in the US during the summer and received consistently excellent reviews. It hasn’t shown in Sweden, but a couple of days ago it was released on DVD and finally I had a chance to watch it.
The movie is excellent and goes further than other previous major productions. It completely dismisses the sugar industry’s favorite idea that obesity just depends on calories. Instead, the blame is clearly put on the real culprit: sugar and addictive junk food.
Here’s the movie’s strengths… and its fatal weakness:
Among the experts who get the most exposure in the movie are noted, Robert Lustig, science journalist Gary Taubes and author Michael Pollan – and former president Bill Clinton.
The Derailed Project Against Childhood Obesity
One person who oddly enough (and perhaps cowardly), has declined participating in the movie is first lady Michelle Obama. A woman who has had as her main project to reduce childhood obesity in the US, but who made a fatal mistake… she chose to “cooperate” with the junk food industry.
The result is that her well-intentioned and beautiful project “Let’s Move” is failing, with a focus on efforts that are comfortable for the sugar industry, but not efficient for the children. The project resulted in obese children in the US being pressured even harder to run more, while they’re getting even more obese from all the addictive junk food surrounding them. This is abuse.
The promises from the junk food industry? They would “remove” the equivalent of 1.5 trillion calories from their products. It sounds impressive, but in reality it’s 14 calories per child per day. One bite of food a day, or a sip of a soda a day. And not even this small thing is real. Remove 14 calories? There are still unlimited calories available anywhere, whenever an overweight child wants. The shelves are just as filled with cheap junk sugar as they were before.
The junk food industry’s promise to “remove” calories when there’s always unlimited cheap and bad calories available everywhere is of course a bad joke. But it’s a joke that gets stuck firmly in the throat.
In schools, children are filled with junk food – and sodas – at lunch time. The joke has become a reality: in America’s schools, pizza counts as a vegetable. Poor Michelle Obama didn’t stand a chance against the junk food industry. And poor American children, who don’t receive a fair chance to avoid an addictive junk-food start in life.
A First Necessary Step
I highly recommend the documentary FED UP if you want to get upset over the sad state of affairs. However, a really efficient solution is not offered. They get halfway there: obesity is not about calories, it’s about sugar and addictive junk food.
That’s all good, but the only solution I see in the movie is more focus on vegetables. Vegetables are great, but I can’t really see junk-food addicted Americans giving their Big Macs for some asparagus. It’s not very satisfying. The ingredient that I miss the most here is fat, but also satisfying protein sources.
Perhaps the producers chose to sharpen the focus of the movie, by not ALSO venturing into the question of whether fat and meat are dangerous (which they’re not). Or perhaps they did not dare to explore further controversial topics.
The result is a movie that offers a cause of the obesity epidemic, but lacks an efficient solution. So, the glass is half full or half empty, depending on how you look at it.
I choose to view it as a major and necessary step in the right direction. America is waking up. Maybe soon we will stop mistreating an entire generation of children.
Have You Seen FED UP?
Have you seen the movie? What did you think? Feel free to comment below.