Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blu-ray and DVDebut: Stephanie Soechtig and Mark Monroe's doc on diet and obesity, FED UP

Among the facts, figures and statis-tics assembled for the documentary FED UP, written by Mark Monroe and Stephanie Soechtig (below) and directed by Ms Soechtig, is the fact that although the western world -- especially America -- is exercising more often and more faithfully than ever before, its rate of obesity keeps rising. As America is also "dieting" more heavily than ever, one might ask, as does this movie, What's going on here?

According to Katie Couric, who appears in the film and also co-executive produced it, the culprit is less our over-eating population than something quite else (Spoiler of sorts ahead, as the documentary doesn't reveal this information until around the halfway point): our food industry and its decision to add oodles of sugar (often in the guise of its many derivatives) into virtually all our processed foods.

Further, because of our very lax FDA and the powerful food industry lobby, Sugar and its Derivatives (let's call this SAID) are either not listed on the packaging of many foods, or the percentage of SAID that the package contains is not, either. That the obesity epidemic began just after the industry began overdosing us on its sweets is also germane to the discussion, as is the ability of the food industry and its most powerful corporations to package and sell "low-fat" products, the SAID percentage of which is often almost equivalent to that of the higher fat products. (Wait until you see the comparisons of Yogurt!)

In the course of Fed Up, we see and hear some of the usual talking heads who devote some of their time and energy to our current food crisis, and some of the more unusual variety, such as the overweight young lady shown below, who has been trying to shed those excess pounds for what seems like her entire life.

The facts and figures assembled here are impressive and fascinating. They are also quite maddening in the same manner as is the information we all have at our fingertips about how corporations are poisoning the environment. But it's all just business, right? And here in American that is what must come first -- ahead of health and humanity and anything else you might, for some odd reason, prize. And don't look to government to help, either, as our politicians are all "bought off" by food industry lobbyists.

Food, however, is something we can more easily control, right? We can buy what we wish and spend our money on other, healthier products. One would think. But it does not work this way due to the power of advertising and the lack of willpower among most of our populace.

My spouse felt that the documentary shortchanged its audience by not placing more responsibility on the very people who were becoming obese. Yes, blame the victim again: good corporate strategy. There is something to be said for this. But not much. Not while government agencies continue to favor business over health and corporations over people.

So we have yet another anger-making documentary that lays out before us how we are being cheated at every turn. There are things that we can do, and the doc piles this on at its conclusion, as well. Fed Up is definitely worth seeing and arguing about. Maybe someday we will even see some change occur -- in the right direction, I mean.

From Radius/TWC and running 92 minutes, the film hits the streets this Tuesday, September 9, on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment. (Yes, that's orange juice, above -- another culprit containing "added sugar." Eat an actual orange instead.)

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