If you haven’t seen the 2014 documentary, Fed Up, we highly recommend that you set aside 92 minutes of your time and snuggle up on the couch with a big bowl of something healthy. Written and produced by Stephanie Soechtig, this film highlights the obesity epidemic in the United States, and how it poses significant physical, mental, emotional, and social challenges particularly for children in the United States.
If you don’t mind us spoiling the substance, keep reading.
Katie Couric’s voice guides us through a heartbreaking and informative journey that focuses on the role of the food industry in sickness and in health. A plethora of shocking statistics are presented by a list of leading nutritionists, scientists, doctors, politicians, and lobbyists. President Bill Clinton, Dr. David Kessler, Michael Pollan, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Senator Tom Harkin are just a few of the contributing voices.
Food labels are revealing in what they conceal. The number of unpronounceable, addictive, and genetically modified substances overpower the few, if any, whole and healthful ingredients. While nutrition labels report the daily percentage of fat, cholesterol, sodium, and other vitamins and minerals, food companies strategically omit from food labels the percentage of sugar. Could it be that food manufacturers and distributors do not want us to see that the daily sugar intake recommendations end at 25 grams and most packaged foods exceed that in one serving? It is also highly significant that the human brain responds to sugar in a similar way that it does to cocaine.
From 1977 to 2000, Americans have doubled their dietary sugar intake. “Healthy” products often contain the same if not more sugar than some junk food items, and Fed Up graphically illustrates some astounding comparisons.
The film also weaves together personal stories of three obese children with physical conditions that have severely diminished their quality of life. One young man is told by his doctor that his life is severely at risk because of his weight. Another is a victim of school bullies because of his size.
Fed Up is a story of disheartening truth. However the message is not primarily to point fingers. It is an historical analysis with the purpose of leading audiences to a greater—perhaps even profound—understanding of the urgency of the obesity crisis. It is a call to conscientiousness and a catalyst for change.
The future is in our individual and collective hands. What will you do to consciously choose health? One way is to take the Fed Up Challenge: Sugar Free for 10 Days. Healthy Teens has joined. We too are fed up!