My thoughts on seeing “Fed Up,” the documentary about the causes of the American (and now increasingly global) obesity epidemic are not complex. It’s all pretty mortifying, if completely unsurprising.

Sugar is bad for you if you eat too much of it. So is lettuce. The problem is, sugar is turning out to be the most dangerous nontoxic compounds you can eat, and it’s in 80% of the 600,000 items stocking our grocery stores. Whereas it would be really hard to eat too much lettuce. And there isn’t much difference between eating a bowl of sugar and eating a bowl of cereal. Most people in America are unable to eat anything other than products with added sugar. And the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, and other Big Sugar factions are doing all they can to increase profits from these products, and they are probably more powerful than the tobacco lobbies.

What I found appalling: the power of big business and big money to sicken our children with their products for their profit; worse still, our government subsidizes this atrocity.

One thing I didn’t know: why on the ingredients list everything has the recommended daily percentage—except for sugar. The percentage is blank.

One thing that was incredibly sad: to see Michelle Obama totally and completely steamrolled by big business.

One thing to think about: one of the numerous and credible talking heads, Dr. Harvey Karp, notes that if a foreign government were trying to sicken our children, to make them unhealthy and unhappy, some to the point of death, we’d probably fight back. But it seems to be perfectly fine if American private interests get paid to do it instead.

Watch the trailer, and get the significant facts. Or go watch the movie—it’s well worth your time and money—and then take a glance at the snacks counter as you leave the theater.

Want to learn why all calories aren’t the same, read this NYTimes Op-Ed: eating processed food both makes us fatter and hungrier which makes us fatter, and then hungrier, and so on. And on.

Want to know more? Well, you can go to and take their quiz (just remember, the site was quickly put up by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the lobby “representing the makers of the world’s favorite food, beverage, and consumer products”).

Not my favorites.

I’ll refine my and so many others’ message: TEACH YOUR CHILDREN to cook whole foods and to share that food with the people they care about.

For a longer review, more critical of the movie for not making the movie about the lobbyists and our government’s role in the sickening of our children, see Joshua David Stein in Eater.


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© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.