Monday, May 11, 2015

movie review - Fed Up

Food is a big passion of mine. I love to learn about how it grows and how we prepare it. I also understand that the industrialized world has an unhealthy relationship with food. This movie explains it all so well.  It’s just like the lies they told us about tobacco. It’s for the same reasons they told us the lies about tobacco. We’re not overweight because we're lazy and spineless, we’ve been poisoned. For profit.

Watching Fed Up, I learned about the McGovern Report on Nutrition and Human Needs in the late ’60’s when we were concerned about hunger in America and the establishment of the Dietary Goals for the United States. Even while the committee examined hunger, they were also examining the relatively rare, but increasing condition of obesity.  At that time, the committee recommended we eat less fat, less cholesterol, less refined and processed sugars, and more complex carbohydrates and fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and less high-fat meat, egg, and dairy products.

The meat, dairy, and sugar industries went bananas. They launched into a massive lobbying campaign that caused the McGovern Report to temper it’s language. But Americans had still gotten the word that we shouldn’t eat too much fat. Hell, no one wanted to be fat, just made sense not to eat too much of it, right?

Food processors responded by making thousands of low-fat and fat-free products. To improve the taste once the fat was removed, they added sugar. Simple, right? Harmless, right?

Turns out, sugar is a poison. Our bodies process sugar by streamlining it directly to the liver and overloading the pancreas (complex process you can read about here) and shuttling it off to store directly in fat. We become fat and we get sick. The movie points out the incidence of Type II (Adult) Diabetes in US teenagers in 1980 was 0 (Zero!). Now it is well over 200,000 cases.

The other scary thing I learned was about the condition of metabolically obese normal weight (MONW). This refers to people who are not overweight, but their fat percentage is higher than optimum and they have increased chances of being sickened by the metabolic diseases that stem from too much sugar: diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The movie was very well presented. Even though I was already familiar with much of the information, I still learned some new things and am even more resolved to keep sugar out of my kitchen and my body. It’s in about every processed food you can think of. Back to eating apples for me.