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Katie Couric makes more than a film, but a call to action with 'Fed Up'

'Fed Up' producer Laurie David, director Stephanie Soecthig and Katie Couric at the film's New York premiere.
'Fed Up' producer Laurie David, director Stephanie Soecthig and Katie Couric at the film's New York premiere.
Photo by Rommel Demano/Getty Images

"FED UP is the film the food industry doesn't want you to see." That is the tag line for the new documentary film FED UP from Peobody award-winning broadcast journalist Katie Couric and Oscar-winning producer Laurie David and that describes how they feel about the government's part in the spread of the global epidemic of childhood obesity! And for good reason! FED UP presents an eye-opening look on the connection between the rise of kids being diagnosed with diabetes and the dangerous increase of sugar and sweeteners being added to ingredients in processed foods.

Katie Couric had been covering this issue for 30 years and she could figure out why we weren't coming up with any answers and why everybody was getting sicker and fatter,” said David, who added she was surprised to discover some of the things she did while making the film. “Both Katie and I thought we knew a lot about food when we started this movie, there is so much in this movie that I had no idea about. One of the really powerful things is that thirty years ago the government knew we were eating too much sugar. The U.S. government knew it thirty years ago! That was before the snack food industry, that was before all these beverages; they knew thirty years ago we were eating too much sugar. I just find that completely stunning. I urge everybody before they take another bite and before they take another sip to go see FED UP.”

And people are definitely coming to see FED UP! The documentary's Los Angeles premiere Thursday was a star-studded event attended by Rita Wilson, Julia-Louis Dreyfes, Martin Short, Larry David, Jane Seymour, Moby, Michael Richards, Thora Birch, Kuno Becker and more.

“If you care about your health I think it's a very important movie,” said actress Rita Wilson at the premiere held at the Pacific Design Center. “I think a lot of the country just isn't aware of what goes on and what is necessary to live a healthy life. I have a lot of respect and understanding for people who don't have time to cook a healthy meal; it's easy to reach for fast food and it's easy to just put something in a microwave and heat it up. But I think that any kind of change starts with some sort of awareness. I grew up with a mom who cooked every day and went to the market everyday; all the ingredients were fresh. That's not entirely realistic today, but there's gotta be a balanced meal of sensibility and how to make sure that you're eating healthy for your life and for your future,” said Wilson, who added that husband Tom Hanks’s diabetes diagnosis was a health wake-up call for her entire family.

“We know calories are important and eating healthy is important; my husband was just diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes - that's a very serious problem. We are very conscious of what we're putting in our mouths now just for our health. It used to be that you wanted to count calories to look good, but now you're trying to do it because you want to live. You're just more conscious and more aware of something that is going into your mouth when you have a diagnosis like that in your family.”

Narrated by Couric, FED UP will definitely make you more concious and aware of what you eat with its staggering stastics and doctor testimonals. Perhaps one of the most astounding facts revealed in the film is that 80% of the 600,000 food products sold in the US have added sugar.

“There are 56 names for it that are listed in grams so you won't know how much is in there,” said David.

Actor Kuno Becker said that while he was doing the Spanish narration for FED UP he was surprised to learn just how much sugar was hidden in soft drinks and food. “What was shocking to me was the labeling and how it's actually not shown the percentage of sugar all these drinks have. It's very dangerous,” said the “Dallas” star, who was also shocked to discover just how toxic sugar can be after seeing the experiement done with mice in the film showing them to become more addicted to sugar than cocaine. “I didn't know the level of addiction that sugar has in our bodies. I knew it was kind of addictive, but I never in a million years thought it was as addictive as or more than cocaine.”

FED UP presents the powerful and emotional stories of obese children of various ethnicities and their struggles with weight. Becker said he hopes the film will be an awakening for how his Hispanic culture reguarly views foods in high sugar and fat.

“It's important because the Hispanic community is actually very effected by this problem, and culturally within these foods as something that is just good for you, and it's tasty, and it's okay- and culturally we have this perspective of sugar as fun; just the wrong perspective on what this poison really is. We have to just change that and I think this movie is going to be the beginning of a process that hopefully changes a lot of things.”

Indeed it will. FED UP fiecely challenges the food industry and the government's role in its ability to help provide healthier school lunches for kids and put more regulations on processed food marketing.

After seeing the film, I too am fed up and I want to say thank you Katie Couric and Laurie David for this call to action on the country's obseity crisis and how we can change it!

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