Acclaimed Documentary Explores Global Health Consequences Of Eating Too Much Sugar

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Acclaimed Documentary Explores Global Health Consequences Of Eating Too Much Sugar
image 1 © robynmac – image 2 © Lauri Andler(Phantom) – Wikipedia – lic. under CC BY-SA 3.0

More than 50 years ago, our “war on tobacco” began, but it was only in the 1990’s when the number of people smoking started to decline. This is mainly due to the tobacco industry’s continued portrayal of smoking as a safe and healthy habit. Add to that a slew of clever advertising campaigns and we now have a recipe for a successful foothold in the market despite the strong scientific evidence mounting against smoking. [1]

Skip forward to present time: We are now facing a new health problem – brought about this time by the food industry. We are now facing a battle with the excess sugar in our diet.

Similarly to what happened to tobacco; this was also attributed to clever marketing from the industry. The impact of the food industry’s marketing on how it influences the consumption of sugar cannot be denied. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that food advertising strongly influences consumer behavior and has been shown to increase the occurrence of weight gain in children exposed to the ads. [2] The effect is so strong that even the American Psychological Association has listed TV ad exposure as one of the risk factors for childhood obesity. [3]

Historically, sugar use was limited to cakes, candies, fruit preserves, tea, and coffee. Now sugar is found everywhere, from salad dressings, sauces, fruit juices, and much more. This made it harder for consumers to avoid sugar in their diet and caused the daily intake of consumers to skyrocketed. The current amount of daily intake is so high, the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated that on average, an American consumes about 94 grams of sugar daily, exceeding the government recommended limit of 50 grams per day. [4]

Our bodies were never meant to handle this large amount of sugar! Over time this amount is very strongly linked to diabetes, an increased risk of developing cancer, obesity and a host of other diseases. [5]

With the mounting concern over the effects of added sugar in the diet, there is now a growing opposition to its use in food. Spearheading the fight against excess sugar is a remarkable documentary by director Damon Gameau titled “That Sugar Film”. In the film, he experiments on changing his normal diet to a low-fat, high sugar one, consuming the amount of forty teaspoons of sugar per day from seemingly healthy foods that have hidden sugars in them. This includes everyday “supposedly healthy” foods like low-fat yogurt, juices, and cereals. As a result, he developed fatty liver disease, gained 7 pounds within 12 days, experienced a decrease in his overall physical health and even jeopardized his mental wellbeing. [6]

Given the horrific effects of sugar to the director’s health in such a short period, it is easy to judge sugar as something evil. However, not all sugars are created equal. Gameau explicitly states “We are not focusing on the wonderful natural sugars found in whole fruits and vegetables. Our goal is to help people reduce the amount of added sugars they are consuming.” In the film, they emphasized that the food industry is overusing fructose as added sugar. Fructose is normally found in nature in a lesser extent compared to the other types of sugar like sucrose and galactose. Using processed fructose has a deleterious effect on health since it is used up by the body in a manner similar to alcohol. When fructose is consumed, the body tends to rapidly convert this type of sugar into fat. This stored fat, in turn, contributes to the risk of developing fatty liver disease, weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders.

This inherent tendency of fructose to promote fat formation and storage makes it difficult for the body to burn off excess weight. According to the film, the reason why fructose hampers fat metabolism is that it activates an enzyme called fructokinase. Fructokinase triggers the cascade of fat accumulation, making it harder for the body to lose weight despite exercising.

The solution to this serious health threat is to consume sugar in strict moderation and to avoid foods that have hidden sugar added into them. To avoid added sugar, it would be best to limit your intake of processed foods and stick to “one ingredient foods”. According to, as much as 74 percent of packaged food products available in the market contain added sugar “hiding in plain sight”. [7] You are definitely better off eating natural and organic food products if you want to lower your intake added sugar. Another helpful tip is to read the labels carefully. Often times, manufacturers hide added sugar in the labeling by declaring it as sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, maltose, rice syrup, and dextrose. Recognizing these words will give you a better idea on which food to choose and which one to skip.

Ok, here’s the video:

Further Reading:

5 Important Facts About High Blood Sugar And The Best Foods To Eat To Prevent It

Sugar Is KILLING You – The Most Important Nutrition Video You Will Ever See

5 Things That Happen When You Quit Eating Sugar


[1] Your Doctor Wants You to Smoke.,29307,1848212_1777633,00.html

[2] Advertising as a cue to consume: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of acute exposure to unhealthy food and nonalcoholic beverage advertising on intake in children and adults (2016).

[3] The impact of food advertising on childhood obesity.

[4] Just how much sugar do Americans consume? It’s complicated.

[5] A Sucrose-Enriched Diet Promotes Tumorigenesis in Mammary Gland in Part through the 12-Lipoxygenase Pathway (2016).

[6] That Sugar Film.

[7] Hidden in Plain Sight.

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