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Fed Up Review: It’s Certainly Effective at Making Processed Foods Look Gross

Fed Up


In all honestly, this writer is likely to be as amenable to the message in Fed Up as 911 Truthers were to Farenheit 911 and Birthers were to 2016: Obama’s America. There are plenty of good arguments made in the film, although this writer naturally wanted to question a few of the claims, while agreeing with the overall argument of the film (that something needs to be done about the food industry getting people, especially children hooked on unhealthy products in the name of the free market). One statistic the film cites is that as gym memberships have increased since the early 1980s, so has obesity. They do not actually address whether there an overlap in people actively using their gym memberships and people who are obese (there probably isn’t). One lesson that can be taken away from the film is that people should be mentally active as well as physically active. It simply takes more effort to eat healthy because the processed food industry has the resources to make their food more easily accessible to people than organic farmers. They also have the resources and “muscle” to drown out the people who talk about how sugars and even lower calorie sugar alternatives can poison people’s bodies because they cannot process it as effectively as protein.
The film talks about the same issues that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have used in their comedy for years. When people try to create initiatives to improve diets in this country, the process food industry uses pundits, lobbyists and politicians to create a narrative of “Big Government” infringing on the free market. (It’s interesting that some of the same politicians fear the impact on impressionable children of seeing a same sex couple walking down the street holding hands the 2011 Muppets movie supposedly demonizing success by making the oil baron into the villain; but aren’t concerned with impressionable children seeing a continual barrage of junk food commercials). The film argues that quality of calories is more important that quantity, while the processed food industry simply argues that people need to burn more calories than they take in. The filmmakers juxtapose processed food ads with old cigarette ads and old footage of cigarette company executives denying that cigarettes cause cancer in front of congress with process food executives making similar claims; effectively comparing the actions of the processed food industries with the cigarette industries.

There is a section in Fed Up about First Lady Michelle Obama's efforts to fight the obesity epidemic and the processed food industry's tricks to stifle the message that their products are unhealthy and even dangerous. It features a clip of Michelle Obama at the beginning of the “Let’s Move” campaign passionately and candidly talking about fighting the Obesity epidemic by improving the diet and exercise of Americans (this writer recalls the First Lady’s efforts to teach children to start their own gardens). Then the film mentions the processed food industry offering their help and cuts to Mrs. Obama reading a prepared statement about getting children to be more active, but no mention of the dangers of processed foods…
This movie features four different children who struggle with obesity. Two of the children are shown to be reasonable active. None of them have decent access to non-processed food, but plenty of access to processed foods. It is a frustrating and difficult battle for the children and their families. The film talks about President Regan cutting the school lunch budgets causing schools to trade in their cooking equipment for the cheaper alternatives of pre-packaged foods and fast foods. It goes on to discuss the processed food industry lobbyists getting French fries and tomato paste counted as vegetables (something Stewart and Colbert both skewered not too long ago.)
This is a good film to see for people wanting live a healthier life style as the cross cutting between various processed foods and the negative health consequences of eating too many of them makes those foods look considerable less appetizing (it's unlikely this film will be shown at mainstream theaters as it recommends avoiding every single type of food served at the concession stands). People with the desire to live healthier life styles need to train their brains as much as their bodies in order to resist the craving for unhealthy things. The film makes effect use of humor, heartbreak, urgency and statistics to get its message across. This writer will recommend it to friends and family, as well as schools teaching health as well as statistical analysis classes.