*This review was first posted in February during coverage of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
has been said about America's obesity epidemic: from the rising rates
of obesity and diabetes among children to the growing health-care costs
related to our swelling waistlines. Even First Lady Michelle Obama, with
her Let's Move campaign that encourages children to stay active, has
contributed to a national conversation on the need for diet, exercise
and the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which had the
audacity to try to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables during school
lunch (the horror!).
But the argument that 'Fed Up'
makes is that our national focus on fitness and calorie balance fails
to address the elephant in the room; namely, the food industry that
increasingly pitches high-sugar processed foods and a national diet that
sets individuals up for failure.
Produced and narrated by Katie
Couric, Fed Up makes a number of well-articulated and at times alarming
points. It describes the biological science, the historical events and
the private industry motivations that have combined into a sinister
cocktail. It lambasts the "diet food" market, which shaves off marginal
amounts of calories while maintaining the same – if not higher – sugar
levels of their traditional counterparts. And it points a big,
accusatory finger at soft drinks, labeling them as the cigarettes of the
21st century and suggesting that a warning label from the surgeon
general on a bottle of Coke may be a necessary first step in demonizing
the junk food industry.
Informative and empowering, Fed Up is the
kind of documentary that sends you home considering what you've seen and
checking the nutritional labels on your groceries.