Fed Up with Being Told You're Fed Up?
I recently watched the 2014 movie on food and nutrition “Fed Up” with Katie Couric as its executive producer and narrator and so I decided to share with you some of my thoughts on it.
First, I would really like to recommend this movie to anyone who may wonder just how deeply big food industry has infiltrated our everyday life. Then, I would also recommend this movie to those who rely on low fat and low sugar products as a means of weight control.
Now, let’s get to the real stuff. Overall the documentary was well polished in terms of presentation. It was also very convincing. Big food industry was exposed and perhaps even demonized as the source of all of our nutrition related medical woes. I wonder, though, that if big industry had been given the same platform to present their own arguments they may also have been just as convincing in terms of what they contribute in terms of national programs and international initiatives …
This was one dimension of the film that I personally, as a dietitian and also as a consumer, did not overly appreciate.
After watching this film my preference was to be taken out of the argument altogether. I don’t particularly want my health in the hands of big food industry and nor do I want my decision making processes to be overly influenced by commercial journalism …
There are specific steps one can take to walk this very delicate middle ground, and here are some suggestions to start with:
- Go back to basics
Instead of trying to figure out how much sugar you get in juice vs. soda and the health detriments of drinking diet soda, drink tea, water or make your own iced tea or lemonade. Yes, you have sugar added but you know how much and can control your own intake by adding less to your homemade recipe rather than relying on what commercial products contain or claim to contain.
- If you are going for convenient type foods, go for items that you can easily separate out and identify:
- a) Chicken brochette, rice and salad instead of a fast food trio.
- b) Sushi (hold the tempura) instead of a regular pizza stop.
- c) Shrimp, vegetable and chicken Dim Sum is a delicious way to replace those greasy finger food options.
- It may be hard to organize meals but bringing snacks with you will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep the cravings at bay:
- a) Keep tiny snack bags with you with easy-to-store-and-eat items, e.g. some dried fruit and nuts.
- b) Fruit that comes in its own case J, banana, orange, grapefruit, etc.
- c) Some dried cookies.
These things are great to have on hand so that when the muffins, popcorn, French fries, chips, and chocolate bars come calling, you will be better able to resist them. And if not resist 100%, at least have a lesser amount.
- Understand specific marketing techniques that encourage spontaneous buying habits:
- a) Sweets available at the cash register.
- b) More processed and specific brands at eye level in the isles of the supermarket.
- c) The sale or two-for-one items that may have more sugar and fat and you end up bringing home a larger size or double portion (the same applies for fast food and the idea behind supersizing).
- d) The “special offer” or “sale price” found “inside the box” are all techniques to make you purchase but are these items really in line with your overall health objectives?
- Get advice from a dietitian or certified nutritionist about how to avoid pitfalls in the grocery store or at least get an analysis of a three-day food journal to help get you on the right track.
Have a great day and happy eating to all,
Janice Cohen, R.D. and team