Listen to the review by Dennis Morton above, or read it below.
For well over two decades I was in the natural foods business, so when I learned of the new documentary called Fed Up, I knew I’d watch it. And let me say, up front, that while much of the content is extremely disturbing – this is a vitally important film. I recommend it to everyone. I’ve misplaced my magic wand, but if it were handy, I’d require everyone to watch it.
The movie is about an exceedingly dangerous epidemic, and about what we can do to contain, and ultimately, reverse it.
The epidemic is obesity, and Fed Up focuses on the toll it takes on our children. It is estimated that the current generation of children will have shorter lives than their parents. Notwithstanding the emotional costs of the consequences of obesity, the health care costs are almost beyond comprehension.
Director Stephanie Soechtig wisely opens her film by personalizing the issue. We meet a handful of children coping with the results of their excessive weight. Soechtig provided the children with cameras and let them tell their own stories over a period of approximately two years. And the stories are heartbreaking.
Fed Up serves us a full plate of infuriating facts, but for the sake of our survival as a nation, we cannot ignore them. The film suggests that the roots of the problem were a set of ostensibly benign attempts to deal with obesity, and that it began about thirty years ago. The solution was deemed to be: control your appetite, minimize fatty foods, and get plenty of exercise. It sounded reasonable and logical. But it wasn’t, and it set in motion a response from corporate food giants that greatly exacerbated the problem.
Reduced-fat and fat-free products began to proliferate in supermarkets. TV screens filled up with ads for highly processed foods, and many of the ads were aimed at kids. School lunch programs were hijacked by purveyors of what were, essentially, junk foods. Pizza magically morphed into a vegetable.
And the most venal villain of all, sugar, walked in the back door and became an essential ingredient in the new wave of nutritionally vacuous comestibles.
Gradually, an unholy alliance of corporate agriculture, corporate processed food giants, and politicians resulted in an explosion in the number of highly processed so-called foods, 80 percent of which contain added sugar. And the primary target of the processed and junk food manufacturers was, and is, children.
Fed Up features interviews with real nutritional experts, and we learn that sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine. And that the consumption of excessive amounts of sugar-laden processed food is the true cause of obesity.
The solution: all of us should be eating unprocessed, whole foods. Whether we’re omnivores, vegetarians, or vegans – fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes and grains provide the path to health. We, and our children, deserve no less.
Stephanie Soechtig’s film makes the case brilliantly. I strongly urge you to watch Fed Up.