It is shocking how much sugar is in our food. Not just the natural sugars that are found in fruits, but everyday foods like cereal, tomato sauce and yogurt. In fact, of the 600,000 items that are sold in the supermarket, 80% have added sugar. This is remarkably sad, specially where it is estimated that by 2050, one in three Americans will have diabetes.
Additionally, research is showing that sugar is more addictive than alcohol and tobacco, even cocaine. It alters the brain chemistry to produce cravings. This is remarkably scary, especially since these are the foods we are unknowingly feeding our children.
I knew our food industry was bad and complicated, but after seeing the incredible film, FED UP I have been literary changing the way my family and I eat and I know you will to after you learn about the startling facts about how complicated of our food is.
From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP follows how everything we have learned about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong. In fact, from 1977 - 2000, it's estimated that Americans have doubled their daily intake of sugar. More specifically, in 1981, as part of the National School Lunch Act, President Ronald Reagan cut $1.46 billion dollars out of the child nutrition budget. As a result, government got rid of cooking equipment and turned to the food industry for a cheap, simple alternative: In 2006, 80% of all high schools operated under exclusive contracts with soda companies. By 2012, more than half of all U.S. school districts served fast food.
Take a stat I learned from the movie: it is estimated that 93 Million Americans are affected by obesity. To understand this problem, the film follows a group of families – the children of whom are the hardest hit demo because unbeknownst to them or their parents, they’re being force fed food with added sugar – for more than two years, Soechtig achieves a profound intimacy as they document their uphill battles to follow the conventional wisdom of 'diet and exercise', in order to live healthier, fuller lives. In captivating interviews with the country's leading experts, FED UP lays bare a decades-long misinformation campaign orchestrated by Big Food and aided and abetted by the U.S. Government.
Following the movie, I had the chance to participate in an intimate round table with Katie Couric, Laurie David and Stephanie Soechtig who spoke about making changes on the community level.
Laurie David, author of the new book "The Family Cooks" spoke about changing at home by having weekly family dinners and preparing food on Sunday for the week. She also spoke about change in schools, and how sometimes "the biggest fighters of reforming school lunches are parents."
As a former fat-free eater and dieter, Katie Couric spoke of our culture of snacking where she noted, during soccer games moms would bring cupcakes and brownies and cookies. And I thought that's so screwed up. First of all, I don't know about you, but you know when I grew up, we weren't supposed to eat between meals."
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Even being healthy doesn't guarantee that food isn't dosed with sugar. Take Stephanie Soechtig, a vegetarian, who during the research of the movie started looking at the food where she stated, "I was trying not to buy anything with more than five ingredients or anything with sugar. And suddenly I didn't know what to buy anymore. So, it dramatically changed my--you know I didn't really think I was eating processed food. But so much vegetarian food is very processed."
So, what can we all do?
1. See the movie. It will open your eyes to the complicated issue with food and sugar.
2. Take the no sugar challenge. Fed UP is having a no sugar challenging asking participants to give up sugar for 10 days. Learn more here - http://fedupmovie.com/fedupchallenge/
3. Share the movie in your community. Let people know about the movie or what you learned to start changed.
4. Look at everything you eat. The film has a five ingredient rule where no food should have more than five ingredients. If it does, it is most-likely processed and filled with sugars.
5. Cook more. Cooking at home is a great way to get your kids involved and to know exactly what is in your food. Keep it wholesome and healthy.
Be sure to check out the trailer, and check out this eye-opening movie on May 9th:
FED UP #FedUpMovie opens in theaters on May 9th.
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