“Fed Up”: A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Diabetes Go Down

Alternately depressing, infuriating, and terrifying, Fed Up tackles the issue of American obesity with clear-sighted reasoning that makes it the rare agitprop documentary to convince through activist outrage. Stephanie Soechtig's film (narrated by Katie Couric) addresses only one side of its subject, since its overwhelming and conclusive data and commonsense logic make the case that our domestic food environment has been taken over by innumerable processed foods that — whether they're labeled as regular or “fat free” — are dangerously saturated with sugar. To director Soechtig and her many talking-head experts and politicians (including Bill Clinton), that fact is the underlying reason for the country's escalating diabetes epidemic, and one compounded by food businesses' highly calculated marketing of unhealthy and addictive products to kids via advertising, and sale of them to adolescents via school lunch programs now dominated by fast food items. That most government attempts to combat this problem are stymied by industry lobbying — including Michelle Obama's “Let's Move” campaign, which is presented as an initiative diluted by corporate pressures — is merely further cause for alarm, according to the movie. Foreseeing a looming health care crisis, the film proves more heavily weighted toward censure than providing concrete solutions. Nonetheless, it remains an eye-opening exposé about the sugary foods that surround us at every turn, and a persuasive call to arms against a predatory industry whose sodas and candies should, it says, be demonized as harmful products at odds with the public health.

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