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Fed Up And The Change That’s Not Coming

A few weeks ago, Fed Up, a documentary about America’s obesity crisis, opened in theaters with a whole lot of media buzz and and a promise that the film will change the way we eat forever.

I won’t be holding my breath.

The goal of the film seems to be to expose Big Food but who will actually see this movie? Mark Bittman agreed to be interviewed because he thought the film might reach a broad audience. You know, all of those people who love Katie Couric (a producer of the film) and don’t read the New York Times. And perhaps there are hoards of Katie Couric fans who are unaware of the role nutrition plays in this country’s obesity crisis, but my guess is that this film will mostly attract people who are already compulsive about their nutritional choices.

Fed Up goes after sugar and sugar is the most reviled villain that compulsive stevia cupcake makers have ever faced. The movie features Robert Lustig — that guy who taught us sugar is poison (but consider this) — and the movie’s website comes with a pop-up imploring you to go sugar-free for ten days.

Why sugar? Why not encourage people to eat more whole foods? What about giving up soda or junk food? Wouldn’t either of those be a better and more realistic first step for folks who want to adopt healthier eating habits? The best thing about Mark Bittman is the way he makes healthy food seem simple and intuitive. Roast some vegetables. Toss together some whole grains. No need to hunt for artisanal agave or coconut sugar. The man makes simple, wholesome dishes sound like not just a revelation, but a revelation that we might all be able to actually experience. If that were the primary focus of the Fed Up Movie, perhaps the film might make some good on its promise. As it is, it’s just another means of validation for nutritional fascists everywhere.

Featured image by Flickr user Life Mental Health

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Jenny Splitter

Jenny Splitter

Jenny Splitter is a writer, storyteller and over-scheduled mom of two living in Washington, DC. She spends her glamorous days trying to write whatever she can, counting 1-2-3 in a slow yet threatening manner to her children, playing with gluten and working to eradicate dog hair from the planet (or at least her home). Find her on Twitter , Google+ and Facebook

8 Comments

  1. May 28, 2014 at 3:52 am —

    Since I am currently changing my eating habbits and trying to become overweight instead of obese, I’ve come to the firm conclusion that fat people are just lazy and stupid [/snark]
    Actually, my grocery bill skyrocketed. I currently spend about 5 bucks a day on fruit and veg for me alone. Cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries*, melons… And I live in a country that is known for its extremely low food prices.
    I also need to do a hell lot more cooking. Because all the nice convenience food has gone out of the window. No more coming home at half past six and just opening a bag/taking something out of the freezer. Nooo, I start cooking things from scratch, often in the morning or the evening before. And before anybody starts talking about 20 minutes meals: please don’t.

    Please, nobody tell me that apples are cheap. I’m allergic to apples

    • May 28, 2014 at 10:47 am —

      I love summer because I can throw together a salad or something fresh. In the winter I have to develop a deep affection for root vegetables and slow cook everything. Do people use slow cooker devices in Germany? I know slow cooking on low heat is a pretty universal concept but I associate the “crock pot” with the U.S.

      • May 29, 2014 at 2:16 am —

        We don’t call it slow-cooking, but we do it.
        Problem is that during the week I often come home late. Slow-cooking is not an option when yu get home t 6:30 and the kids need to be in bed at 8:00
        Yay for root veggies. And all sorts of cabbages

        • May 29, 2014 at 10:39 am —

          What makes slow cooking with the crock pot so wonderful is that you put your food in and turn it on when you leave in the morning, and it’s ready to eat when you get home in the evening. There are hundreds of recipes for simple, healthy crock pot meals available from the google machine. Being the lazy person that I am, I make judicious use of the crock pot during the week.

          • May 29, 2014 at 11:25 am

            Yup, exactly. Chili, soups, stews, beans, tomato sauce for pastas…

          • May 30, 2014 at 4:31 pm

            I will NEVER EVER leave the house and leave the oven on. There’s too many things that can go wrong. I don’t want to become a mass-murderer in a house with 78 units because something went wrong with my dinner.
            And you still need to peel and slice and cut veggies.

  2. May 30, 2014 at 6:59 pm —

    http://www.crock-pot.com American (?) slow-cookers are a separate device that you can leave on all day on a super low heat. You do need to chop up a bunch of stuff though for the more healthful slow cooker recipes.

    • June 1, 2014 at 5:04 pm —

      No, that’s not what we have over here.
      I would have to put things on the oven and I won’t do that. Not sure if I would dare to leave a slow cooker on. Call me over-cautious but I’ve heard too many stories of some near misses with cooking devices.

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