The other night, my wife and I rented the movie Fed Up on AppleTV. I love the ability to point, click and get whatever I want. Is that because I’m a product of our instant gratification society? I want what I want and I want it NOW! Am I the adult version of Veruca Salt from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Maybe. But the amazing thing, is that there are huge businesses whose sole purpose is to give me what I want, give it to me now, or overnight it to me if I pay a price. This isn’t a problem if I can afford it and if I want a book from Amazon or a gift for my wife from Tradesy. The problem lies in when this need for speed comes in the form of food or more specifically, sugar. As the movie reveals, sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine and the obesity epidemic is causing a “tsunami” of financial and health problems just waiting in the wings.
I was fascinated when the filmmakers listed the enormous amount of different names of sugar and other sweeteners. I thought there must have been at least 50. Included in the list was the obvious, high fructose corn syrup, but others such as brown rice syrup, agave, grape sugar, honey, panocha, molasses and more were included as well (Check out the 57 names of sugar for more).
Instant gratification in the world of sugar typically means addiction. And addiction can be very hard to stop especially when it’s everywhere we look and in so much of what we eat. Furthermore, the companies that put it in our foods want nothing but to have us continue consuming their products to please their shareholders. Our welfare as a culture, I’m sorry to say, is not part of the agenda at the shareholders convention. This kind of profit will kill those of us who are in denial.
Fed Up, the movie, is narrated by Katie Couric and executively produced by Couric and Laurie David, the Oscar winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth. It is directed by Stephanie Soechtig. I give it 2 thumbs way up, if not for the style of the film, definitely for the message and call to action. At the start of the film, Couric says that she had no idea, 30 years ago, she would still be talking about obesity today. 30 years! And it’s only gotten worse. More people are obese, more children are obese. The sad truth was told best by former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who said, “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”
If that doesn’t make your blood boil, here are some of the facts from the movie’s website:
- A 20-ounce bottle of soda contains the equivalent of approximately 17 teaspoons of sugar.
- One soda a day increases a child’s chance of obesity by 60%.
- Individuals who drink one to two sugar-sweetened beverages per day have a 26 percent higher risk for developing type II diabetes.
- 98% of food related ads that children view (3920/year) are for products high in fat, sugar, sodium.
- In 2012, Americans consumed an average of 765 grams of sugar every 5 days, or 130 pounds each year.
- It will take a 110-pound child 75 minutes of bike riding to burn off the calories in one 20-ounce bottle of soda.
- There is overwhelming evidence of the link between obesity and the consumption of sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks.
- More than 9 Million adolescents (children and teens 6-19 years old) are considered overweight.
As an exercise guy, the one that struck me the most is the fact that a 110-pound child will have to ride a bike for 75 minutes to burn off the calories from a 20oz bottle of soda. Most kids aren’t going to burn that much or do that much exercise. Though we may think exercise will help, the bottom line is that our diet must change. Most of my life is based on healthy eating, exercise and making the most of the time I have on this planet, in as healthy a way as possible. A lot of this information is at my fingertips. Let it be known however, that I am not perfect by any means. I love my Talenti Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream just like the other guy, but I seldom indulge. It’s time we put a stop to the ignorance of our society and the strong arming of the food industry.
- Watch the movie.
- Take the Fed Up Challenge and get you and your family to go 10 days off sugar.
- Watch Dr. Lustig’s youtube video Sugar: The Bitter Truth
- Slow down your sugar intake immediately!
- If you have kids, make sure they cut their sugar intake and stop them from drinking sugary drinks.
- Take action and pass the word!
Though it may be possible, with incredible discipline, to reverse Type II Diabetes, it is very rare. And do we really want our kids to have to deal with the burden of all that ignorance? I don’t think so. So instead of being suckered in by bad marketing of sugar lips photos and the like, start thinking about what your doing, what your feeding your kids and what your allowing your kids to eat. Then make it better.
Photo Credit: flickr.com/Jeanny