Before I get into the review… those of you that are following me on Instagram may have seen my first motivational quote there (and if you’re into motivational quotes or would like help in the form of some pretty words now and then, follow my
“Start before you’re ready”Stephen Pressfield
This particular quote hit pretty close to home. As you may have guessed after reading my introductory post, I’m a planner. I research something into the ground, procrastinate a bunch, and then I start in on it.
In some situations, looking before you leap is probably a good idea. But not when it comes to weight loss.
I’m not ready to start. I’m not. I just started my research into
I’ll just eat how I think I should eat, based on what I know so far. Which, most overweight guys or gals will tell you, is actually a lot. It’s the doing that we’re bad at.
Then as I learn, I’ll keep modifying my plan as I go. So, ready (nope!)… set (eek!)… GO! The “diet” starts now.
Okay. Back to my review. That Sugar Film was a documentary, and it was pretty great. But it also really pissed me off.
Not in a “this film is bad” kind of way, mind you. In a “I’m now more informed about this topic, and this new information you’ve given me makes me want to choke someone” kind of way. I’ll explain.
Most people have at least heard of “Super Size Me,” the documentary where the guy eats only McDonald’s food for an entire month. This is along those same lines. The director and star, Damon Gameau, usually eats a no sugar diet. But during the course of this experiment/film, he eats 40 teaspoons (200 grams) of sugar every day for 60 days. And he does it by only eating the hidden sugars that can be found in supposed “healthy” foods. Things like juices, power bars, cereals, energy drinks, and all kinds of stuff with “all-natural” and “organic” on the label.
That’s one of the things that makes this film so powerful. He’s not stuffing himself with candy or eating teaspoons of sugar (although he does that at one point to make a point). He’s eating stuff that most people think is good for us.
He gains weight, of course. But he also has radical mood swings and feels lethargic most of the time and develops fatty liver disease. In 2 months, he started killing off his liver cells. But that’s abstract and harder to grasp. The mood swings and tiredness should hit right at home, though, for most of us.
We’ve heard that sugar is addictive. It releases dopamine, opioids, and beta-endorphins into the bloodstream. It lights up the same reward centers in the brain as nicotine, drugs, and sex.
But this isn’t where the relationship between sugar and drugs ends. A French scientist named Dr. Serge Ahmed determined that rats will actually work harder for sugar than they will for cocaine. Serge and his research team discovered that intense sweetness “is much more rewarding and probably more addictive than intravenous cocaine.”
What made me feel like choking somebody was learning precisely the amount of research and effort that gets put into making sure we stay addicted to the sugars that are put into food. Which is like 80% of the foods in the supermarket, by the way.
“When it comes to obesity and illness, the food industry have always argued that people need to take personal responsibility for their food choices.”Damon Gameau, That Sugar Film
Makes sense, right? I mean, that’s what we’ve all had hammered into our heads for most of our lives. Eat right and exercise.
But then the big companies that make our food specifically work towards creating food that hits a “bliss point,” which makes it the perfect sweetness and incredibly addicting. Even worse, it teaches our children (and ourselves) that everything should taste sweet. Heck, Pepsi even has a robot that’s been outfitted with human taste buds to help find the perfect amount of sweetness in artificial sweeteners. They try feeding it things like bee larvae or beetles. Yum.
This kind of manipulation of the public should seem pretty familiar. It’s the big tobacco companies all over again.
“For more than 50 years, the food industry had insisted that obesity is caused by too many calories and not enough exercise, which implies that anyone overweight is simply lazy or greedy.”Damon Gameau, That Sugar Film
But here’s the thing. Damon was eating the same number of calories in his high sugar diet that he’d been eating before. But when he switched to eating all the sugar, he was gaining weight and it was slowly killing him.
“It’s not the calories, it’s the source of the calories.”Dr. Debbie Herbst, That Sugar Film
So not all calories are the same. Calories in, calories out? Nope. Not true.
And your addiction to food may not be your fault any more than getting addicted to alcohol is the fault of the alcoholic. Addiction is addiction, right?
On top of all this, when you try to “quit sugar,” your body revolts. Damon had incredible mood swings, messed up sleep patterns, and headaches when he finally quit the sugar. It took him 1 to 2 months before he felt back to his usual self.
The good news? His body healed. He was back feeling decent again two months after quitting the sugar. His cravings went away.
So all we have to do is lock ourselves in a room for two months with no TV or news of any kind, so that we’re not exposed to all the stuff the food companies are putting out there, then — PRESTO-CHANGO! We’ll be better.
All kidding aside, I think it took him less time than it will take some of the rest of us to break his sugar habit. Some of us grew up on soft drinks (me) and processed and fast foods.
“As we’re driving through rural America now, in North Carolina, it’s so hard to get any kind of decent food. There are signs that say ‘food exit,’ but that food is either McDonald’s or Taco Bell or KFC. It’s impossible. And if you grow up as a kid and this is your only experience of food and what food is, it’s little wonder that there’s a massive problem in this country.”Damon Gameau, That Sugar Film
On top of all the chemical addictions that sugar creates, there are lifetime habits that we need to break. It’s hard.
This kind of film reinforced for me exactly why I’m doing this research, though. My daughter. I don’t want her to grow up making the same food choices that I have. So she doesn’t have to break these addictions and habits later.
For me, it’s going to be harder. But I can do it. I went vegan for about four months once, and I still remember exactly how it opened up my palette to the various tastes that are out there. Not everything was sweet, and not everything needed to be sweet for me to like it.
Damon did make mention of different types of sugar and how they effect the body differently – fructose VS glucose. But there wasn’t enough meat to this information for me to feel comfortable sharing it yet. I’ll be doing more research on it and I’ll share that in a separate post once I do.
I have no doubt that there will be many more posts from me about sugar. Watching this film has really made me want to learn more about sugar and exactly how I’m being manipulated by the food industry. I recommend it if you’re at all interested. It’s free to watch on Amazon Prime right now!
In the meantime, try to be easy on yourself when it comes to sugar. If you happen to relapse in your attempts to quit or cut back, forgive yourself for your mistake and move on. Breaking addiction is hard!