On Friday, the new film Fed Up debuted in select theaters across the U.S., with Katie Couric as an executive producer as well as Laurie David (of An Inconvenient Truth), and backing from academics of the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as authors and revolutionaries like Michael Pollan and Michelle Simon. Future showings in North America are on May 16, 23, 30, June 13. Go to the film’s website to find a location, date and time near you.
This film could have a profound impact on our nation. Its main premise is to dispel the notion that the obesity epidemic can be stopped by exercise and point a finger at the food industry (and consequently the federal government) for promoting the ridiculous amounts of added sugars that are in almost 80% of the products sold in supermarkets. An underlying theme, as New York Times journalist Anahad O’Connor explains, is the question of calorie equality. Referring to the film, O’Connor writes:
[Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian] has studied the effects that different foods have on weight gain and said that it is true that 100 calories of fat, protein and carbohydrates are the same in a thermodynamic sense, in that they release the same amount of energy when exposed to a Bunsen burner in a lab. But in a complex organism like a human being, he said, these foods influence satiety, metabolic rate, brain activity, blood sugar and the hormones that store fat in very different ways.
Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest is quick to point out that not only food, but also soda and other sugary drinks are also gigantic culprits in this mess. He explains in a Food Day blog post he wrote last Thursday:
Soda and sugary drinks are actually the largest single source of calories in the American diet, accounting for about 7 percent of our energy intake. It’s certainly true, as Fed Up makes clear, that so many of our foods have added sugar. But soda, energy drinks, “fruit” drinks, sweetened teas, and other sugary drinks make up almost half of Americans’ consumption of added sugars.”
Let’s hope that this film moves the national (and international) conversation on our health and the health of our food system forward. We’re going to see it. Are you?