Fed Up, a controversial new documentary on childhood obesity, points out troubling discrepancies between nutritional value and the content of most American foods. “The dietary recommendations for weight loss coming from both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Beverage Association (formerly known as the American Soda Pop Association) are based on the same scientifically-unfounded dietary advice,” The Huffington Post writes.
Children are rapidly gaining weight and struggling to lose it — and experts believe that sugary foods, like breakfast cereals and sodas, are at least partially to blame. “The solution is eating real food and cooking it yourself, because you would never put the amount of salt or sugar in that corporations do,” says Laurie David, producer of An Inconvenient Truth. “The majority of the food a lot of people are eating are made by strangers who don’t have your health at the forefront of your mind.” In fact, The New York Times adds, at least 80% of foods on grocery store shelves contain added sugar.
The film goes on to challenge the notion that losing weight is strictly a matter of calories consumed versus calories burned. “The film explores what it sees as some of the more insidious corporate and political forces behind the rise of childhood obesity, and it examines whether increasing levels of sugar consumption have played an outsized role in the epidemic,” The New York Times explains. In other words, consuming similar amounts of processed foods and raw and/or homemade foods is, more often than not, vastly different. The latter contains much more nutritional value and may help keep weight gain at bay, the film suggests.
One thousand calories of soda, for example, can be particularly harmful to a young child’s health. Calories primarily from sugar fuel food addictions, binge-eating, the inflammation of the liver, and the build-up of belly fat. “Sugar calories are the major contributor to heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia and Type 2 diabetes,” The Huffington Post continues.
If that’s not enough to motivate parents, the documentary adds: “One of the most sobering and tragic statistics is that this generation is expected to lead a shorter lifespan than their parents.”