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New Film Reveals Villain of American Diet: Sugar

A newly released film, “Fed Up,” identifies sugar as the main culprit for the majority of health problems in the United States. The film compares the food industry to the tobacco industry and Americans are encouraged to push for reforms.

Television journalist and talk show host Katie Couric, former FDA commissioner, Dr. David Kessler, and U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) have all spoken out against the powerful Big Food (Grocery Manufacturers Association) and its attempt to weaken healthy nutrition and weight-loss campaigns around the nation.

The film centers around several overweight teens who are trying to lose weight through diet and exercise. As their stories unfold, it becomes clear they’re up against a great many barriers out of their control.

The foods we eat are not always a personal choice, but rather a consequence of accessibility and affordability.

Some schools have fresh salad bars in their cafeterias, others still serve hamburgers and beef patties with a side of carrot sticks as a balanced meal.

Some neighborhoods have farmers’ markets that bring in fresh organic produce for purchase, while others, like East New York and West Harlem, have bodegas where consumers regularly purchase prepackaged, highly processed foods.

The food industry has taken the route of the tobacco industry and started a campaign in which they release their own facts, question the science behind obesity, and even blame consumers for making unhealthy choices as the cause of the skyrocketing obesity rate in America. But the industry has not addressed how sugar and sodium contribute to obesity and other health problems.

“We have obese 6-month-olds. Want to tell me they should diet and exercise?” University of California-San Francisco’s Dr. Robert Lustig said to HuffingtonPost.

According to Huffington Post,  journalist Michael Pollan explains how first lady Michelle Obama’s well-intentioned national campaign for healthier food had its legs knocked out from under it by the powerful food and drink industry, which pushed for focus on voluntary agreements and exercise. According to Pollan, the first lady was also drawn into a long, complicated discussion about making processed food healthier, but as he points out, “Junk is still junk, even if it’s less junky.”

There are currently no direct recommendations by the government to reduce sugar as a method of preventing obesity.

S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on Twitter @ReporterandGirl, and visit her website at

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