Soda and candy aren’t the only foods that contain sugar. Even those with words such s “healthy,” “organic” and “vegan” can be loaded with the sweet stuff. Numerous studies have shown the negative effects too much sugar can have on one’s physical, emotional and mental health and now there’s a film that’s bringing it all to light.
The sour side of sugar
Soda has been a major target in the debate over sugar and its role in the obesity crisis. But high levels of added sugars can be found in many seemingly healthful foods, from yogurts to energy bars and even whole-grain bread.
A new movie called “That Sugar Film” seeks to educate consumers about the hazards of consuming too much added sugar, which can be found in an estimated 80 percent of all supermarket foods. The new documentary stars an Australian actor-director, Damon Gameau, who modeled his movie after “Super Size Me,” the 2004 film that followed Morgan Spurlock as he consumed an all-McDonald’s diet for 30 days.
In “That Sugar Film,” which first had its debut in Australia this year, Mr. Gameau gives up his normal diet of fresh foods for two months to see what happens when he shifts to eating a diet containing 40 teaspoons of sugar daily, the amount consumed by the average Australian (and an amount not far from the 28 teaspoons consumed daily by the average American teenager). The twist is that Mr. Gameau avoids soda, ice cream, candy and other obvious sources of sugar. Instead, he consumes foods commonly perceived as “healthy” that are frequently loaded with added sugars, like low-fat yogurt, fruit juice, health bars and cereal.
Mr. Gameau finds that his health and waistline quickly spiral out of control. While the film is mostly entertainment, it tries to present the science of sugar in a consumer-friendly way, with helpful cameos from Hugh Jackman, Stephen Fry and others. It is also timely. Just last month, the federal government proposed a new rule that would require nutrition labels to carry details about added sugars, a measure that has faced resistance from the food industry.
Recently, we caught up with Mr. Gameau to talk about why he made the film (which has also been turned into a book), what he learned along the way, and why he believes that sugar – despite his criticism of it – should not be vilified.
thumbnail courtesy of nytimes.com