Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Fed Up with Big Food?

I just saw the movie "Fed Up" about the obesity epidemic and the roles of the food industry and the government in causing it. I came away horrified and very depressed since I don't think anything will change. What do you think?

Answer (Published 6/16/2014)

"Fed Up" is a hard-hitting new movie that takes an unsparing look at the obesity epidemic. Much of what you learn from the movie is shocking. For example, if nothing changes in two decades, 95 percent of all Americans will be overweight or obese; by 2050 one-third of all Americans will have type 2 diabetes; sugar is being added to 80 percent of the 600,000 food items on our supermarket shelves; and statistically, today's children are the first in two centuries expected to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. These are grim facts that should be a wake-up call to Americans who haven't been paying close attention to the obesity epidemic, its causes, and the urgent need to reverse it.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Healthy Eating - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Nutrition - Want to change your diet? The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide is your anti-inflammatory diet headquarters. Start your free trial and get access to an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, hundreds of recipes, eating guides, and more.

Many people may experience sugar shock as they watch the film, which comes down very hard on the sugar industry. For example:

  • In 2003, the Bush administration threatened to eliminate U.S. financial support of the World Health Organization if WHO published a report advocating that sugar should account for no more than 10 percent of daily calories - and WHO withheld the report.
  • On the question of why so much sugar is added to processed foods in the first place - it was a food industry strategy to replace flavor that was lost in low-fat products. Here, consumers who thought they were doing the right thing by steering clear of fat, unknowingly increased their intake of sugar, which disrupts insulin levels and metabolism.
  • We"ve doubled our sugar intake in this country since 1977
  • Sugar affects the brain much as cocaine does, creating cravings for more and more.

Narrated by Katie Couric, "Fed Up" can generate outrage at the food industry, as well as sadness as it follows four obese youngsters struggling to lose weight. The words "eat less and exercise more" are an incomplete answer to what these kids face, and the movie makes the point that it is callous to shrug off their problems with such a cliché.

I would like to think that this film would shake things up and generate consumer demands for our food supply to become healthier, and for the government to unequivocally take our side rather than remain in partnership with the food industry. For that to happen, millions of people are going to have to see it and be moved to act. I am reminded that this year is the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health. People are still smoking in this country, but not nearly as many as in 1963, and nobody today thinks that cigarettes are harmless. I hope it won't take 50 years to get a handle on the obesity epidemic, and the pivotal role that sugar plays in it. We can't afford to wait that long.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here