This past weekend I finally sat down and watched the documentary Fed Up. I have been wanting to see this for awhile and have had so many friends comment about how great this movie is. I have to tell you, this is on the of the best movies I have seen in awhile. I also believe I might be a changed person.
We are living in a society where obesity is now an epidemic. More people are dying from overeating than from malnutrition. However, in many ways we are living a malnourished diet and it comes down to one substance, sugar. Sugar is literally killing us and we are being bamboozled by the food industry.
I recently read that years ago sugar was a very expensive commodity. It was so pricey that only the rich had stores of sugar. It was the wealthy who had cakes and desserts to present to their guests at dinners. Sugar was an expensive treat and not an everyday occurrence. Not only is sugar readily accessible to all of us now, but it is found in an even cheaper form, high fructose corn syrup.
On top of this, the low fat/no fat diet craze turned the food industry into sugar monsters. To make up for lack of fat, sugar has been added to everything to improve the taste. People aren’t losing weight on these low fat foods, but instead gaining weight and becoming addicted to sugar at the same time. We have been told that we need to exercise more and eat less, which is certainly true, but when the sugar is being slipped into our diets we are on a fast track to hopeless weight gain, regardless of our activity levels.
The part of the movie that will forever stick out in my mind was when cocaine addicted rats were given sugar laced water. They drank and responded to it just as they did to cocaine. And when they were given the choice between cocaine laced water or sugar water, they chose the sugar water over cocaine. Research shows that our brains respond to sugar in the same way as drug addicts respond to cocaine. How scary is that? Sugar is an addicting drug.
So how do you get away from it? The problem is that the food industry has a powerful pull on our government. Remember Congress being swayed into allowing the tomato paste in pizza to be considered a “vegetable” for school lunches? The government is meeting as much road blocking on this issue as they once did with cigarettes. Do you remember when those weren’t the cause of cancer either?
I myself can see this trend happening in my own life. Years ago I made the healthy lifestyle change to becoming a runner. Over the years I lost some weight and felt great. But I started to allow myself “treats” because in my head I ran 7 miles and could have that cookie or piece of cake. Today I run 50-60 miles per week and have a stubborn five pounds that came back and sticks around. To be honest, it bugs the heck out of me, especially because I eat a healthy diet….except I am addicted to sugar and I know it. After every meal I crave dessert. I crave a cookie or candy and Christmas was not a good time for me or my waist line. On top of that I would eat Wheat Thins all day if it was socially acceptable!
But be aware that this goes way beyond dessert. Sugar is packed in everything. We live in a society of convenience. We can buy prepared everything for our weekly diets. Cereals, granola bars, freezer meals, pasta sauces and the pasta itself……it is all packed with sugar.
The best way and only true way to get back to a healthy lifestyle is to eat whole foods. Put away the prepared foods. Make yourself a real dinner. Make your lunch and control what goes into it. And don’t let the food industry trick you. We have been swayed to believe it is cheaper to grab food on the go than to make it at home, but research shows that isn’t true either!
So where does that leave me? I will be upping the ante in this house. We make our meals around here 5 days a week and never really eat out for lunch. But I will be making sure when I am at the grocery store that I stick to whole foods and skip anything prepared and laden with sugar. Dessert will be swapped out for a piece of fruit. And I will allow myself one evening on the weekend for a dessert of choice, but within reason. I can’t wait to see how different I feel!
Have you seen Fed Up? Do you find yourself addicted to sugar?