The documentary “Fed Up” seems to be just one piece of the metaphorical giant pie in documentaries addressing obesity and the food industry. Previously, Morgan Spurlock had this docu genre locked down and subsequently made huge ripples in how people view fast food. And other producers have had reasonable success in addressing obesity, including “The Weight of the Nation” for cable. With constant changes in information, though, it’s made some film projects about obesity and the food industry a bit outdated in staying relevant. It’s perhaps why social documentaries may start moving from the movie theater (where many get scant distribution) over to places like Netflix.
That’s hasn’t stopped the documentary “Fed Up” from hitting theaters and managing a more successful viral campaign. Everywhere you look on places like Twitter, you see notable people promoting “Fed Up” and saying they’re going to see it in a theater. With Katie Couric as narrator and as a co-producer with Stephanie Soechtig, it’s helped bring the film a higher profile than it perhaps ordinarily would have.
Will the film give a new shot in the arm to social documentaries in a movie theater? All the more, we have to wonder if it’s going to make any difference when it seems to paint eating in America into a corner.
“Fed Up” basically says that the food industry is corrupt and that eating much of the food you buy in the grocery store is probably going to make you sick eventually. Most of us already know that eating too much sugar and foods with heavy amounts of sodium are going to harm our health if we eat too much of it. For many, though, buying food in the grocery store means just about everything on the shelf having high amounts of sodium and sugar. Only going to specialty stores where you can buy lower sodium or sugar-free products seems the lone solution. Yet, many of those stores price their items higher, hence most struggling families stay away.
It seems to be true that when you go to brand or discount grocery stores, you’re not going to find the foods that are as healthy as you would in more expensive specialty stores. Even organic items are still way overpriced, with occasional price reductions in organic fruit at stores such as Trader Joe’s.
With “Fed Up” making it clear we need to change our eating habits, are people really going to when it seems such a burden in driving extra miles or spending extra money?
The Brick Wall of Our Mortality Rate
I did a piece on obesity several years ago that pondered whether our next generation of kids may end up having a higher mortality rate than at any time in earth’s history other than during the worst plagues. We still don’t know for certain whether that’s going to happen, though statistics are still bad on obesity outside small glimmers of hope. With First Lady Michelle Obama sometimes getting backlash for promoting healthier lifestyles, you can see an apathetic philosophy developing on a larger scale.
When it comes to grocery shopping, there’s already stress in rising foods prices. Those who even shop at discount stores are struggling to keep up with trying to eat reasonably well let alone buying cheap items that contain the worst possible ingredients. Yes, it seems the ingredients on cheaper food items are almost always going to have higher sugar and sodium content based on the cheaper production costs. Families that can’t afford to eat anything else are seemingly stuck in a trap of being forced to eat food that really isn’t good for them.
“Fed Up” doesn’t really provide any immediate answers on how to solve it. One way is to just will one’s self into a moderated diet where you eat smaller portions so you can make sure the sugar and sodium content won’t make you terminally ill within a few years. If there’s any good news here it’s that those who eat moderately can pretty much eat anything without gaining weight. With weight being the central issue in raising cholesterol and sodium, it may be the only solution to those on limited grocery store budgets.
America’s goal has to focus on the FDA forcing food companies to produce cheap food that’s healthier. Some are working toward this while sometimes misleading the public for the sake of making the food taste good and staying addictive.
Beyond the food industry is making organic foods somehow more accessible so the pesticide risk issue can also be eliminated. Green farming might be the answer to that, and it’s something more farmers are starting to look into based on ingenuous methods in keeping pesticides away.
The real legacy of “Fed Up” is getting public challenges out there to eat sugar free for up to certain amount of days. With nearly everything having at least some sugar content, it could mean more exhaustive grocery trips for those who just don’t have the time or, as a painful result, the energy.