Mug Hannah Ball, Staff Reporter

Tri-County Times | Hannah Ball

 All calories are not created equal. In 1980, cases of type 2 diabetes in children, previously known as “adult onset diabetes,” were practically unheard of. From 2001 to 2009, type 2 diabetes rose 30 percent in children ages 10 to 19.

 Health insurance companies invest billions in fast food stocks. Thin people can be fat on the inside.

 These are only a couple of the shocking facts I learned while watching “Fed Up,” a documentary on Netflix about nutrition and the childhood obesity crisis the U.S. is facing. If you choose to watch anything this weekend, it should be “Fed Up.” Here’s why.

 Health insurance companies invest billions in fast food companies. In 2010, companies that provided health and life insurance owned $1.9 billion worth of stocks in the fast food industry, according to ABC.com. These health insurance companies make money off of people being unhealthy and needing medical care. “Fed Up” also compares food industries to how the tobacco companies acted decades ago, when they misled the public about the effects of smoking.

 The movie follows a few families with obese children as they struggle trying to lose weight.

 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, yet it’s generally remained flat in the past decade.

 Many try to eat what they think are healthy foods and exercise more, but the documentary explains how processed foods, especially ones with a lot of sugar, can be huge culprits.

 The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that a normal weight adult should eat about 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is about 5 percent of their daily calories. If you look on the nutrition label on granola bars, a normal Nature Valley bar contains about 7 grams of sugar. One yogurt cup of strawberry Chobani yogurt contains 15 grams of sugar.

 That’s 23 grams of sugar, almost all of the recommended daily amount, with only two snacks.

 The documentary points the finger at increased sugar consumption for obesity, yet experts warn that correlation is not causation. Harriet Hall, M.D., explains in sciencebasedmedicine.org that it hasn’t been definitely proven that an increase in sugar intake causes obesity.

 The movie shows this with one young boy who complains that his brother eats the same as him, but stays skinny. This explains how people can be thin on the outside but fat on the inside, often called TOFI.

 This is because some people store their fat around their internal organs, which can be very dangerous because that’s the fat that leads to insulin resistance, diabetes and heart conditions, according to theguardian.com. “Fed Up” states that TOFIs still need to eat healthy and exercise as well.

 Many people think that by limiting their calorie intake, they’ll lose weight. The documentary and many scientists have shown this isn’t necessarily true. Calories from carbohydrates like white bread, cookies, crackers, and breakfast cereals raises your bloods level of insulin, telling the body to store more fat, according to Time magazine. Foods like nuts, avocadoes, and fish are often healthier even though they may contain more calories.

 The documentary also highlights the ignorance of many Americans when it comes to food and what’s considered healthy. One mother talked about switching from normal Hot Pockets to lean Hot Pockets and thinking that could make a difference in her son’s weight. Another young boy thought he was preparing a healthy lunch for school by making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which contains white bread and a lot of sugar.

 Don’t immediately believe every fact you hear from the documentary. A Google search reveals opposing opinions and studies about certain numbers, but most of the critics I’ve read agree that the consumption of processed foods is a problem in America and the movie does good by raising awareness.

 You can watch “Fed Up” on Netflix or buy it online.

(1) comment

NoniB17

Hannah, I have viewed that very enlightening presentation and agree that anyone who has not really should, especially if they are the one who prepares meals for children. This is a subject that I have personally done a huge amount of research on over the past twelve years and it's my strong belief that we, the ordinary, everyday folks who live in this country and are now quite effectively programmed to want to eat the SAD (standard American diet) thanks to the hand-in-glove food and advertising/marketing industries, are getting less healthy with each passing month. It happened gradually, shortly after WWII, and has escalated dramatically. We're now looking at a generation of children riddled with 'adult' illnesses, certainly in part due to diet choices. The solution is fairly simple once folks get educated on the realities and "Fed Up" is a good starting point.

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