I’ve talked in the past about how cutting back on added sugar in my diet has really improved many aspects of my life. Because of this change I eat better overall, have improved digestive health, and have more energy to do things like exercise, garden, and grade papers, projects, and assignments. Overall, just saying no to keeping candy in the house, dropping by my colleague’s candy bowl every afternoon for just one little piece, and looking at nutrition labels and ingredient panels for hidden sugars has been a game changer for me.
If you’ve been contemplating making a shift away from added sugar but need a little more motivation or prodding, watch the movie Fed Up. I just got back from this movie, now showing at the Fleur Cinema, and it was really worth the 90 minutes! As a wellness professional who has read Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle and Gary Taubes, even I need reminders every now and again as to why sugar killing us, literally.
The documentary, narrated by co-executive producer, Katie Couric, focuses on the health of our nation, our youth, and the rising obesity epidemic. Why was there a big spike in obesity as soon as everyone started exercising? What happens to all the fat taken from the milk that becomes skim? Why is pizza considered a vegetable on a school lunch menu? The answers to those questions and more are addressed and will get you thinking about what’s really happening and what we can do to change the course of this grim outlook on well-being. Bonus for Iowans: you’ll see a couple guys you should recognize – former Governor and current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Senator Tom Harkin make a brief cameo, both going to bat for reform in the school lunch program!
I’ve seen a lot of wellness-based films and documentaries and thought this was well-done and best of all, very relatable. Sometimes documentaries are a bit extreme – they recommend going on a juice cleanse for 30 days or recommend only eating organic. From my experience working with individuals looking to make changes, I find that extreme approaches can be challenging and discouraging for people to adopt. This documentary features families trying to make the best food choices given their current circumstances. I also like how it addresses the different ways sugar hides. When you start to realize that sugar is not just found in candy and other junk food, but condiments, breads, dairy products, etc., you will be able to really start making positive changes for your health and the health of your family.
If you’re up for a challenge, Fed Up has a 10-day no added sugar challenge you can try! Remember, this is added sugars, not naturally occurring sugars! Hopefully the USDA will approve the recommended nutrition label changes and in the near future we can easily determine how much added sugar is in a product.
Sugar is a favorite topic of mine to address when doing seminars. I always remind people that it’s not an all or none approach. If you can eliminated added sugars, processed foods, and fast food 90% of the time you will be on the road to better health. Here are some sugar shockers to enjoy!