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The food industry’s not-so-sweet influence

Thirty years ago the U.S. Government issued its first ever dietary guidelines and with it one of the greatest health epidemics of our time ensued. In her documentary feature debut, executive producer and narrator Katie Couric joins Laurie David , Regina Scully and Stephanie Soechtig to explore why, despite media attention and government policies to combat childhood obesity, generations of kids will now live shorter lives than their parents.


3.5 out of 4 stars

Fed Up
Written by
Mark Monroe and Stephanie Soechtig
Directed by
Stephanie Soechtig

You won't look at grocery store aisles the same way after you've seen Fed Up. Narrated by Katie Couric, this call-to-action documentary aims to do for the obesity epidemic what An Inconvenient Truth did for climate change.

At the current rate, 95 per cent of the U.S. population will be obese in 20 years. Why? Director Stephanie Soechtig marshals an impressive list of health, dietary and policy experts, including Michael Pollan, Gary Taubes and Bill Clinton, to explain why the simple formula of eat less, exercise more is a complete lie. Instead, the film argues convincingly that the food industry is to blame.

Following the McGovern Report in 1977, which outlined healthy dietary goals, food companies responded with a flood of "low fat" products with soaring sugar content.

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The food industry's power to influence policy, from making pizza qualify as a vegetable in school lunches, forcing the World Health Organization to raise its recommendations of daily sugar intake, is proof, the doc persuasively argues, that private interests have trumped public health.

When we see obese teenagers struggling to lose weight and learn that sugar consumption has doubled in the past 30 years and see how cases of Type 2 diabetes are skyrocketing, it's hard to think otherwise.

Couric and Soechtig argue that sugar should be demonized the same way tobacco has been in the hopes of turning the tide. There are plenty of familiar targets here, including advertising to children, but Fed Up is a powerful movie that will make you want to skip the cookie aisle and head straight to a farmer's market.

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