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Fed Up with the Food Industry

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5 BIG Food Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

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by Wendy Goldman in Healthy Eating, Weight Loss

Are you fed up?

The other night I watched a documentary called Fed Up. After watching it, I’m even more fed up with the food industry than I was before. And I’ve been pretty fed up with them for a long time. The film is from 2014, but I just saw it, and I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

It was made by Katie Couric, and is really well done. It looks at what really caused the obesity epidemic (and is still causing it). She follows a few obese teenagers and looks at their struggles to lose weight by following the conventional weight loss advice – to eat less and exercise more. And, big surprise, it doesn’t work. You probably already know that. And you’ve probably heard me talk about it. The film shows exactly why it doesn’t work, and what happens with the kids who are trying to follow that advice.

Here are the main takeaways:

1. The real cause of obesity and its associated health problems is sugar. Not fat, not calories, not lack of exercise. Although those are important factors, the real culprit is sugar. And it’s not only where you think it is, in cookies and candy bars. It’s in virtually all processed foods.

When the government pronounced fat as bad, food companies reduced the fat, but as one of the doctors interviewed in the film says, when you take out the fat, the food tastes like cardboard, so they added a bunch of sugar instead. Why? Because who would buy it if it tastes bad?

2. It’s all about the money. Food companies are in business to make money. Period. They don’t care about your health. Your health doesn’t increase their profits or their stock price. You eating healthy is actually bad for business for them, because then you’ll stop buying their crappy sugar-laden fake food​.

3. They shift the blame. ​They blame everything but sugar. When the food companies reduced the fat, they actually saved money, so they had more to spend on advertising. They spend billions of dollars on advertising telling us how bad fat is and to exercise more. All while trying to convince us that their low-fat products loaded with sugar are the answer, and are “healthy”.  This is like a magic trick where you’re focused on one hand, but the other hand is actually hiding the card up its sleeve. Total lies.

4. Sugar is highly addictive. They talked to doctors about research showing that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Most people know that cocaine is highly addictive. Sugar is worse. They gave cocaine-addicted rats a choice between water with cocaine in it and sugar water. The rats picked the sugar water over the cocaine. Every time, and they were already addicted to cocaine. I find that very scary.

5. Get ’em hooked young. The younger kids get addicted, the longer you can keep them addicted and make more money off them. At the time the film was made, 80% of schools had exclusive contracts with either Coke or Pepsi. 50% of schools had contracts with fast food companies to provide school lunches.

As school funding has been repeatedly cut over the years, schools had to cut costs. It was cheaper to bring in frozen food and fast food than to cook lunches. Schools don’t have enough money, and if soda and fast food companies offer them cheaper food to cut costs, plus money to carry only their products, a lot of schools cave in to the financial pressure and figure the parents will sort it out. Really!?! Come on, people. If you send your kid to school with a healthy lunch, but they can get pizza and fries at school, what are they gonna pick?

6. Get ’em hooked even younger. Question: what does pretty much every single commercial show to kids watching cartoons and/ or kids programs? Yup. Junk food, fast food and processed foods. All of which are loaded with sugar. Which is highly addictive. More addictive than cocaine.

Research shows two interesting things: a) very young kids can recognize brand packaging and they’ll choose it, and even more scary, b) when kids see pictures of food in commercials, it triggers their brain to make them eat more, even if they’re not hungry.

7. The government will not help. Every time Congress has tried to limit advertising to young kids, the food industry freaks out and spends even more money lobbying to stop it.

A few years ago, the government tried to get healthier lunches in schools with more fruits and vegetables and less carbs. The food industry successfully convinced them that ketchup and tomato sauce on pizza is a vegetable!! Despite the government’s good intentions on this one, they caved to the food industry pressure and dollars. They whine that healthier regulations will hurt profits and the economy. Unfortunately, the food industry has a lot of money to spend, and they’ve been successful stopping legislation that could hurt their profits, every single time. At the cost of our health, and our kids’ health. Every single time. Are you fed up yet? I sure am! Our health is NOT for sale!

So what can you do? 

1. Reduce how much sugar you eat. You already know this. Reduce or eliminate processed and packaged foods. A lot of sugar is lurking there.

2. Sugar is highly addictive, so I don’t recommend “going cold turkey”. (Where did that saying “going cold turkey” come from? What does that have to do with quitting an addiction? Just my mind wondering. If you know, please share with me. Anyway, back on topic…)

Wean off sugar and replace with healthier options.

3. Teach your kids about healthy food. There’s really not much you can do if they’re at school and choose junk food. But if you serve them healthy, real food at home, they’ll feel better when they eat it and worse when they eat junk food. That’s a good way for them to learn. And feed them real fruits and veggies at home so they learn to like them and look for them.

4. If you have kids in school, demand that the school get rid of sodas, fast food and junk food, and offer healthy food. Join the PTA and let other parents know about this. If you work together as a group, you’re more likely to make progress.

5. Try to keep kids from watching commercials. I know this can be a tough one. Commercials are designed to catch their attention. Teach them to change the channel, turn down the sound, etc. Or, even better, use DVDs, watch PBS or streaming services without commercials.

6. Buy real food. Vote with your dollars. Food companies are motivated by profits. If their profits go down because people stop buying their unhealthy crap, they will change. But really, you don’t need them. You need fresh, real, whole food. They do their best to brainwash people that their garbage is healthy and cheaper that real food. It might be cheaper. But at what cost? Diabetes? Heart attack? Stroke? Our health is NOT for sale.

These are the big takeaways from the film. Again, it’s called Fed Up. ​​It’s streaming on Amazon Prime Video. It may be available elsewhere, but that’s where I watched it. If you can, watch the film. As much as I think I write well, it’s way more powerful to actually watch the film, because it makes a bigger impact on your motivation. There are more films coming out like this as the truth comes out and more people realize what’s going on. It’s the exact same thing the tobacco industry did years ago. Advertise to kids and get them addicted young. Our health is NOT for sale!!!

Are you fed up enough to make a change? How many adults and kids will suffer from obesity, related diseases and early death? Sound familiar? Just like cigarettes. We’re gonna have to do this ourselves. There’s too much money and power involved for the government to help us right now.

If you’re with me on this, share this with people you care about. Post it on social media to let more people know. And stop buying those sugar-laden processed foods that are as bad for you as cigarettes.


FREE Food Mistakes Guide

5 BIG Food Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Get It Now!