“Seeing is believing” is an ancient idiom. Film maker Damon Gameau obviously believes in this idiom because, in his 2015, 102 minute movie, he keeps his calories constant, but includes 40 teaspoons of sugar in his diet each day for 60 days. He does not ingest pure sugar directly, but he ingests the equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar by eating foods laced with fructose sugar. During this time period, he is medically and cinematically monitored to document the effects of that sugar.
The effects of his high fructose sugar diet were dramatic. In spite of the fact that he kept his daily calories constant and kept up his exercise routines, this movie documents how this healthy, strapping, 30 something man’s health deteriorated. After only two weeks on this high sugar diet, among the effects of the fructose sugar were an enlarged stomach, a fatty liver, and insulin resistance. After 60 days, he was 20 pounds heavier and his blood tests continued to indicate problems, especially with his liver. He had gone from the best 10% of liver function among men to the worst 10%. Longer term diets high in sugar lead to even more metabolic disorders. Gameau also experienced negative mental effects such as mood swings and reduced mental clarity.
Although Gameau returned to a healthy diet, he had withdrawal symptoms for a month. Examples of his withdrawal symptoms were headaches and insomnia. He said that giving up excessive sugar was similar to the time, earlier in his life, when he gave up cigarettes. His health condition, however, returned to the healthy state that he enjoyed before his experiment.
This movie also points out that high fructose sugar diets affect so many people that these high fructose sugar diets are a national problem in first world countries. The problem is so widespread, according to the movie, because of the addictive nature of sugar and because these sugars are hidden in as many as 80% of packaged, processed, and prepared foods that are not necessarily junk foods. According to this movie, laboratory rats will work harder for sugar rewards than for cocaine rewards.
Because of their sugar addictions, many children never learn to like the more subtle taste of vegetables. Some babies are even given soda instead of milk in their bottles. Although Gameau kept his calories constant, long term sugar addicts consume more and more calories. This causes obesity in childhood and then in adulthood.
According to the movie, unless shoppers make special efforts, the amount of sugar in the food products they buy will be hidden from them. Most people would be amazed to discover the amount of sugar that they consume.
This movie also alleges that the dangers of these sugars are not well known to the public because of a collusion between government and sugar industry lobbyists. Also, many of the studies on the effect of sugar have been funded by the sugar industry.
Fructose sugar once was rare, but now the food industry uses it to sweeten its foods to make them sell better. Up to a maximum point, the more sugar added, the better the food tastes. Thus, food companies put the maximum amount of sugar into their food products in an effort to outsell other food companies.
One criticism of this Australian movie would be its failure to convert metric measurements to English measurements for the American viewers. The filmmaker, Damon Gameau, did, however, make part of this film in the U.S.
Just as the movie, “Supersize Me,” documented the toxic effects of a diet high in fat, this movie documents the toxic effects of a diet high in sugar. Preppers would do well to watch this movie with their children. It has animation and good graphics that should keep the attention of children.