How much sugar do your kids eat? And does that question make you want to hit the back button immediately? It’s such a prickly subject. I’m a family food blogger and I still feel defensive just thinking about it, like my crazy button has been punched with a big, judgy finger. It’s annoying, this cloying and accusatory question, because it just might call many of us out on our most basic parenting job of all: feeding our young. That’s why I’m curious about how parents will react to the new movie from the makers of An Inconvenient Truth. This time the target is Big Food — and possibly our own cupboards.
Fed Up is produced by Laurie David (who won an Oscar for Truth) and narrated by Katie Couric. The point of their documentary is to expose what its makers consider the real reason behind our country’s obesity epidemic: sugar. Found in everything from the obvious, say a Big Gulp, to sneakier places such as sliced bread and salad dressing. Even chicken lunchmeat is often brined in sugar, to say nothing of the Go-Gurts, Fruit Snacks and boxes of Cap’n Crunch making their way into our kids’ lives.
The idea that a calorie is a calorie, that everybody should just eat less and exercise more and that if you’re overweight it’s simply a matter of willpower — all the stuff we’ve all come to accept as medial fact over the last few years — is thrown out by their panel of experts. “Forget it,” says Dr. Mark Hyman. Many scary stats are mentioned in the film; these morsels came from just the trailer alone:
“There are 600,000 foods items in America,” explains Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of pediatrics at University of California San Francisco. “Eighty percent of them have added sugar.” Dr. David Kessler, a former FDA commissioner, describes the sugary American diet as “one of the great public health epidemics of our time.” And you also hear Katie Couric’s voice, the one you grew up with on The Today Show, sharing a chilling thought. “By 2050, one out of every three Americans will have diabetes.” And it’s all driven by sugar, she says.
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