Fed Up

Another documentary on Netflix. There will be more reviews on documentaries now because I love watching them and finally have access to sooooo many.
I read a lot on the topic of food, nutrition, health and fitness and now know what is believable and what is trash. The best book I have read on this (and I have read 100s of books by now) is Salt Sugar Fat How the Food Giants Hooked us by Michael Moss. Review here
This documentary talks the exact same things on Fat and Sugar. But watching everything on screen is of course a big shock compared to reading about it. It has been written, produced and directed by Stephanie Soechtig. 

The documentary talks about how the obesity problem is not just about will power. I don't know about you but whenever I see a fat person, in my head I think it is that person's fault for not being in shape. I also blame myself for not being healthy. And it is my fault... to a certain extent. A larger responsibility lies with the environment. In the case of the documentary - with the food industry and the government. 
Sounds like passing on the blame, right? 
Here are some things:

- In the 1950s, a scientist came to the conclusion that fat in foods was making people fat. So, everyone started eating fat free. The shelves were stocked with fat free foods. The fitness industry (Jane Fonda, gyms etc) became more active. BUT the obesity levels continued to rise. Why?

- An experiment was conducted where 43 cocaine addicted rats were put in a cage with sugar filled water and cocaine for 15 days. At the end of the period, 40 of those rats were now addicted to sugar and didn't care about cocaine. SUGAR IS MORE ADDICTIVE THAN COCAINE. 

- When the whole fat free fad was a rage, skimmed milk was launched. What happened to the fat removed from the milk? It was converted to cheese but hardly anyone ate cheese then. So, money was poured into marketing cheese and the US population made cheese a part of their daily diet. Who is responsible for the unhealthy food in US? Not the people... but the government and the food industry.

- Michelle Obama started talking about children's obesity and targeting the food companies. Then a deal was signed wherein the food companies pledged to remove calories from their food. Michelle Obama started focusing on the exercise part of the equation even though food was the real problem.

- When fat is removed from food, it tastes like shit. Food companies then add sugar for taste... hence, everything you eat has oodles of sugar. Take note that the nutrition label on food does not mention % daily recommended sugar that the product has. Why? See this documentary to find out. You will be shocked.

- As a mature, knowledgeable 32 year old struggling to get healthy; going to a supermarket when am hungry is not a great experience. There is junk food everywhere screaming for my attention. Everytime I go to the cash counter at Spencers for billing, I see the branding of Lays Max chips. The chips taste bad and yet it takes all my willpower not to pick up a pack. Now I shop at a standalone store which does not have space for ads. 

- If exercising my willpower is so difficult, what hope does a child have? How are kids supposed to resist fat and sugar if their school offers them nachos every single day for lunch? How do they resist junk if it is lying around at home? It is so difficult to bring up kids these days. Parents have a bigger challenge than their parents ever had. Of course, most of them are making a terrible mess of it. I am happy I will be dead by the time these annoying kids grow up. Kids who have no idea what a home cooked meal is... who rarely go to parks... spend hours in front of the TV... are under stress to get 100% results by hook or by crook.... are taught not to respect queues because their parents don't etc etc. 
*But that is a rant for another post and another blog*

- I will tell you how dumb all of us are when it comes to food. People I know were on Dukan Diet where you eat only protein, 2 spoons of oats and can drink anything for months. You drop weight ... fast... 5-10 kgs in a month which is huge. Here is the catch- you cannot eat fruits but can drink anything you want- cold drinks, tang, juices... anything and in any quantity. I have seen people eat grilled fish with diet Coke/Pepsi. Educated, well informed people. 

- This documentary is about USA but it is relevant for India too. We are slowly but steadily getting there. I was surprised when people were surprised that Maggi is unhealthy. How can anyone think Maggi is healthy is beyond me. How many people even read or understand nutrition information on food? Zilch. Our food is filled with sugar (all those mithais) and fried food (samosas, kachoris etc). My office serves lunch and it includes a dessert everyday. Can they not put the dessert money into something healthier? Sure but people will surely protest. 

- Why are kids obese? Yes, it is the parents fault to a certain extent but how much can a parent control outside the house? The kids are targeted with ads as soon as they watch cartoon channels... the cash tills are overflowing with junk... everything is placed on shelves at a kids' height.

*There is lots of research done to figure out how to get a kid to buy candy. I have spent 1 whole day talking and listening to impulse purchase, cash till space etc etc... all to get kids and adults to buy more candies. 
My whole job is to figure out how to get people to eat sugar filled candies so I can meet my MBOs and get paid better next year*

If there is one thing you watch.... let it be this documentary. It is on Netflix and maybe you can even download it from somewhere. Else, drop me a comment and I will tell you how to get on Netflix, no matter which country you are in. 


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