Fed Up, a documentary opening May 9, “blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and weight loss, revealing a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history,” according to the film’s website.
A trailer for the film points the finger at food manufacturers and sugar consumption as the driving forces behind obesity and a myriad of other health-related problems.
The film’s website describes how, in her documentary feature debut, executive producer and narrator Katie Couric joins Laurie David (An Inconvenient Truth), Regina Scully (The Invisible War) and Stephanie Soechtig (Tapped) to explore why, despite media attention and government policies to combat childhood obesity, generations of kids will now live shorter lives than their parents.
According to the promoters, the film “upends the conventional wisdom of why we gain weight and how to lose it, unearthing the dirty little secret the food industry doesn’t want you to know—far more of us are sick from what we are eating than anyone has ever realized.” The film asserts that only 30 percent of people suffering from diet-related diseases are actually obese; while 70 percent of the population—even those who look thin and trim on the outside—are facing the same consequences, fighting the same medical battles as the obese among us.
Promotional materials trumpet: “The film follows a group of children for more than two years, documenting their uphill battles to follow the conventional wisdom, ‘diet and exercise,’ in order to live healthier, fuller lives. In riveting 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.”
Our allies at the Center for Food Integrity have come up with several statements about food choice that may be useful when discussing documentaries such as Fed Up with consumers (see below). A goal we share with CFI is to facilitate informed conversations on food topics. All of CFI’s values-based messages are available here.
- Consumer choice should be celebrated and protected. At the same time, the food system must be allowed to responsibly use technology and innovation to produce more food using fewer resources in order to feed a rapidly growing global population.
- The best food choices for one family may not be right for another. We should support the right we each have to choose the food that fits our lifestyle and our family budget.
- Understanding our choices and how they affect our food supply is vital to preserving our personal right to choose the best food for our family’s dinner table.
- Supporting today’s food system in order to produce the food we need using fewer resources is the ethical choice for people, animals and the planet.
- We should each be free to buy the food that works best for us. Access to abundant and affordable food is necessary to ensure that millions of American families do not go to bed hungry.
- If we relied on the food production systems of 1950, approximately 150 million people living in the U.S. would be without food.
- Whether we choose food that is organic or vegan, prepackaged or fresh, locally grown or conventionally raised, from the supermarket or from the farmers market, we all want food raised in a responsible way, food that is safe, wholesome and meets our family’s needs.
- Buying organic or locally grown foods are great options. However, if we limit our ability to produce the food we need, we will increase hunger and food insecurity.