Fed Up? Or Overfed? Trailer & Discussion

One of my good friends posted this link for the trailer of Fed Up – is “the documentary the food industry doesn’t want you to see”, brought to you by Katie Couric & Laurie David.  (I highly suggest watching the trailer before reading this).

All I plan to do with this post is create a dialogue, and get people thinking.  A lot of times when documentaries like this come out, they are EXTREMELY one-sided *cough* Michael Moore *cough* however that doesn’t mean that there is no truth to what is being reported.

So the premise of this documentary is that everything we thought we knew about our diets, and exercise up to this point is WRONG.


Well shit.  Did I or didn’t I pick the right career path?!

After a dramatic start the documentary leads with what is supposed to be (and is) a shocking statistic – that there are 600,000 food items in the United States and 85% of those items have added sugar (as in sugar was not naturally a part of that product or food to begin with — like fruit or milk).

So that means that approximately 510,000 food items contain added sugar, that also means we still have about 90,0000 food items to play around with.  Please do not get my simple math reporting confused with me siding with the food companies.

The trailer counters with another shocking statistic that 95% of Americans will be overweight or obese in two decades, and that we are blaming peoples will-power, and that is “not right”.  And as Americans “we’re toast”.  And 1 out of every 3 Americans will have diabetes (I guess I did pick the right career path) by 2050.

The sugar industry is driving obesity, bad health, and chronic disease.

There are a fair amount of what I consider to be “radical”, and “one-sided” statements in this trailer – hey I get it – you’re trying to peak interest, but remember the general population can be pretty easily swayed by strong and leading language.  Statements like: “if a foreign country were doing this to our children – we would defend our families”  or “kids are being told the biggest lie they will ever hear in their life”.


So if what this trailer is saying is true, that a majority of our food supply is “tainted” by added sugar?  What do we do about it?!

And to that end I also ask you – where do we draw the line in the sand between consumers being accountable for their food choices and exercise habits & the manufacturers?  When are we held accountable for a our poor decisions?!

fed up 2

A huge part of it is lack of education, on the part of the consumers.  Which is part of the reason why I got into the field I did.  With that being said – have we really evolved that far past the realm of common sense?!?  MEANING – did you ever really think chips and sugary cereals were better options than oatmeal, and roasted potatoes?!?

I believe (meaning this is MY opinion, so do with it what you will) – there needs to be a level of accountability on both sides of the fence here.  The food manufacturers need to stop dicking around with our food so much – but since that doesn’t look like that will stop anytime soon – those new food labels are designed to help consumers differentiate between added and natural sugars in a product.

BUT as consumers, as a country, as individuals – we need to be accountable for our choices!!!

(still my personal opinion) – We now live in a culture where instead of being accountable, and admitting you don’t know something, or seeking out further education – the status quo is to place blame on an exterior entity.

I am going to make a few statements, and while some may interpret them as opinion, I think there is enough evidence available from either side of “this fence” that what I am saying is true:

1) Food manufacturers, like to make profit they are in the business to make money, they will advertise to targeted audiences to do so, even if some people feel it is pushing the limits of propriety.  It is also clear that a lot of crap is being added to our foods.

Is that fair?  Ok how about this?

2) So when was the last time you heard of Kellogg’s or Nestle, or Con Agra file for bankruptcy?  Oh that’s right – you haven’t, because they ARE SELLING THEIR PRODUCTS – to consumers – who are making A CHOICE to purchase said product

3) Consumers need to take part of the blame, we make bad decisions – we eat the wrong foods, sometimes people think they are making better decisions but many times they are not (class example I see in practice: “I stopped drinking Coke, now I drink Vitamin Water, it’s better because it’s better because it’s water” ).  We opt to stay on the couch and drink wine instead of go to the gym.  We get busy and buy convenience dinners/foods for our families and do not move enough.


Am I being unfair or one-sided?

I will also add that yes, consumers in general – lack basic education/understanding about good nutrition and food, I know this, because I see it every day .  And that is something will needs to change as well – but that is a conversation about healthcare, and access for another day and time!

So should you read this, and your heart and brain swell with a motivation to reduce your sugar and processed food intake, and exercise more here are few tips.

1) Start small, try going for a 10 minute walk after lunch or dinner, build up from there.

2) Get your family/friends/significant other/dog involved too.  Going for walk or a jog, or the gym can be more motivating when you know you need to meet someone there or knowing you will have someone to talk to.

3) Select more of these:

-Dairy: Reduced fat milk, unsweetened almond milk, yogurts with simple ingredients (hence why I’m a fan of Siggi’s I can pronounce everything on the ingredients list)

-Fruit- Fresh or frozen fruit

-Veggies – Fresh or frozen veggies

-Fats- Butter without added salt, oils that come from vegetables, seeds and nuts: olive oil, almond oil, walnut oil, unrefined sunflower oil etc

-Protein- Cage free/grass fed/wild caught varieties of protein – either fresh or frozen

-Grains – whole grains quinoa, brown rice, barley, etc – gluten free or not gluten free -that is your preference/need.

What do you think about this trailer?

Will you go and see the movie?

Do you think manufacturers and consumers share in the blame?  Why?  Why not?


  1. Much like an abstract to a published study is not always representative of the study itself, I can’t draw any conclusions about this film based on the trailer. Regardless, I think you are right, addressing the issue of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease cannot be productively discussed as a binary issue. Polarizing the “food industry” and “consumers” creates the illusion that these are the only parties contributing to the rise in these chronic diseases. I can understand that in this documentary format, it makes it easier for novices to grasp basic concepts being presented. Without seeing the film, I would hope they wouldn’t limit the issues to how the food industry tricks consumers into making poor choices. Nor do I think the issue can be understood any better by adding that consumers need to take responsibility for what they eat and everyone’s health would improve.

    Education is often touted as a sort of silver bullet to helping consumers make better food choices, but this would ignore everything else that goes into why people eat what they do. If education is all people need to be healthier, we wouldn’t have doctors who smoke, personal trainers who take performance-enhancing drugs, or pharmacists who are drug addicts. Even as a dietitian I’m sure we’ve both run into the patient who have the knowledge, but lack something else, such as money, living in a food desert, or the right motivation, etc. etc.

    While saying that both the food industry, and consumers are at fault for the rise in chronic diseases is true, it’s not the whole truth. To pit the two sides against each other will only end in a stalemate. If we want diabetes and heart disease rates to decrease, examining the root cause of all facets of what impedes consumers desire and ability to make better food choices will be necessary, and that might be difficult to address in one 90-minute documentary format.

    I’ve known about Michele Simon’s work for a long time, and as an attorney, she can get a bit hung up on the political sides. However, I think she does a good job at bringing the issues to light. Having previously read her book and blog tells a lot about what type of film to expect from her. While it can seem like because there are so many factors to consider when discussing heart disease and diabetes, that attention is being diverted away from personal responsibility, but I believe that it is usually deemphasized because society already pretty readily blames/credits individuals for whatever their disease state happens to be at that time. For example, if someone gets diabetes, or cancer, it must because something about their lifestyle is wrong, whereas if someone doesn’t get those things, they must have done something right. It seems like this film wants to show that there are other issues that factor into the rise in diabetes and heart disease besides personal responsibility, but if it doesn’t acknowledge it, it may give viewers the wrong impression.

    1. Sorry for the late response – thank you for your well thought comment. I agree with your point of not pitting the two sides of consumers vs the “industry” will only end in a stalemate. I do hope that this documentary will spark some realistic conversations on educating people on the “why” certain food choices are better than others, but a healthy lifestyle can still involve “treats”. Education does help – but for the same reason of “personal responsibility” – these issues are multi-faceted and require more than just “education” and “personal responsibility”. Thank you again for your comment

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