A new documentary, Fed Up, produced by bookseller Heather Reisman and environmentalist Laurie David, who wrote An Inconvenient Truth, takes aim at the food industry, and levels much of the blame for the dramatic increase we have seen in the spread of obesity, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says has doubled since 1980.
The statistics are alarming, with more than 10 percent of the world’s population being obese and even 40 million children under the age of five being considered as obese. It has also been disclosed that ten percent of the adult population are pre-disposed to contracting or developing diabetes.
The documentary Fed Up, narrated by Katie Couric, lays the blame squarely on processed foods, with the extensive use and abuse of refined sugar that it adds to make the taste of foods more appealing. The problem as explained in the film is that the human body cannot process more than 25 mils in a day, but that amount is usually exceeded in a single serving of many processed foods. The foods companies remain reluctant to display the recommended daily allowance or RDA on processed foods, and in many cases, if it is printed; it is often disguised in misleading serving sizes. It can also be disguised with different names such as fructose, glucose, honey, syrup, molasses or anhydrous dextrose.
The documentary centers on the struggles faced by some teenagers in their efforts to lose weight. They are all considered obese and are plagued with chronic health diseases, as they explain through tears, the depression and isolation that they experience. Director Stephanie Soecthig with narrator Couric, creates an impactful observation, which examines why millions of American children are growing up obese, even though a lot of media attention has been focused on the issue, as well as guidelines suggested by the government. The missing or misleading RDA also leads the kids into making unhealthy choices of foods that contain excessive amounts of sugar.
Although no blame is directly assigned in the documentary Fed Up, the efforts by former U.S. Senator George McGovern, to make the U.S. aware of the consequences of better health are mentioned, even though his efforts were crushed by the influence of the sugar industry.
The documentary asserts that the food industry is fueling a dependence that may even border on an addiction to sugar, that is creating an obesity epidemic. Producer Reisman explains Katie Couric has followed the issues of obesity, exercise and diets in different forms for almost three decades, and notwithstanding all of the reports that Americans and others around the globe were getting fatter, she thought it would be interesting to further explore this problem to understand what is going on.
There are a few pertinent facts from the film Fed Up that takes aim at the food industry, as it reveals that in the U.S., the consumption of sugar has increased in just three years. Obesity rates have also doubled, despite fitness club memberships also doubling between 1980, and 2000. Of the 600,000 processed foods being sold in the country, more than 80 percent contain sugar, and children are more exposed to foods that contain more sugar, which studies reveal, is an addictive substance.
By Dale Davidson