Key Takeaways from the Fed Up Documentary
Emily Cooper, RDN of sinfulnutrition.com
In true Netflix & chill dietitian style, I spent my weekend binge watching food documentaries…big surprise! One of the many was Fed Up, a 2014 documentary by Stephanie Soechtig about how excess sugar consumption is one of the causes for obesity and sickness in the USA. The movie focuses on the impact of sugar on kids, and how their sugar-laden diets are paving the way to a lifetime of obesity, diabetes, and sugar addiction. Here are the key takeaways and conclusions from it, and what we can do to make life a little sweeter sans the sugar crash.
Sugar, Sugar Everywhere
One thing Fed Up brings to attention is the fact that sugar is EVERYWHERE. Sure, we know ice cream, soda, and candy are chockfull of the sweet stuff, but did you know it can be lurking in foods like bread, pasta sauces, and salad dressings? In fact, about 80% of the more than 600,000 packaged food products out there contain added sugars. Even without eating the big sugar hitters like desserts and sweets, it’s easy to rack up the added sugars in your diet while being remaining blissfully unaware of your sugar high.
80% of these items contain added sugar
Adult Onset No More
Once a disease found only in adults, cases of type II diabetes, formerly known as adult onset diabetes has skyrocketed amongst children in the past few decades. In 1980, only a few cases of type II diabetes in children were reported, but as of 2010, the number of cases has grown to a staggering 57,000+. Something has clearly changed in our diets to create such an exponential problem in the health of our youth, which poor diet quality certain plays a part in.
The percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s.
You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet
Interestingly enough, the big exercise boom in the 1980s also came with a staggering increase in obesity throughout the country. While it is certainly not the case that exercise causes obesity, it does show that diet plays a much bigger role in the fate of our waistlines. No matter how many hours you log at the gym, Fed Up shows that eating a poor quality diet can still hinder your fitness aspirations. Now that you know the dangers of excess sugar, here’s some simple tips that Fed Up highlights that we all can do regardless of age to improve our overall health, and reduce our sugar intake.
You can't outrun a bad diet.
Read Your Labels.
It’s always important to check the ingredient list and nutrition facts before you buy. Relying only on the health claims made by a company on the front of their packaging can be a really dangerous game to play, as they don’t always tell the complete truth. For example, sugar can come in many different forms such as sucrose, honey, molasses, corn syrup, and many, many more. Moreover, as we point out in our blog post on added sugar, “sweetener free” health claims don’t always mean sugar free in the given product!
Checking the amount of sugar on the nutrition facts panel can help you determine how much sugar is actually in a food if you can’t decipher it in the ingredients. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That equates to about 24 grams, 90 calories, or about one can of soda!
Add More Fruits & Vegetables
Besides always being told what not to eat, it can be easier to think about what to add more of in the diet. Regardless of what you eat now, adding more vegetables and fruits to your diet every day is a giant step in the right direction. According to the CDC, 9 out of 10 Americans do not consume enough veggies on a daily basis. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber which are all key players when it comes to good health. Check out our blog post on the power of the veggies & fruits in SaladPower for more info!
More fruits and veggies is a good thing!
Replace Sugary Snacks with Water and Vegetable Juice
Replacing just one soda, or sugary drink with water or a SaladPower can do wonders. Not only are you cutting back on added sugars, but easily cutting out empty calories which offer no nutrition to your body. Add water AND fruits and vegetables to your diet? Now you deserve a gold star.
Cook More at Home.
Switching to cooking more foods at home from real ingredients instead of packaged foods is another big way to change your health for the better. Knowing exactly what is going into your meals, and being in control of how much sugar is going into them puts you in control of your health too.
The bottom line is that one of the healthiest things you can do is to inform yourself about nutrition. Always try to understand what different foods have to offer from a nutritional standpoint and make a good habit of reading the ingredient list and nutrition label. Also, interacting with communities like ours helps motivate you to keep these good habits going! Let us know what you think below about Fed Up along with any other ways to avoid excess sugar below!
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