We all know what you're supposed to do if you want to lose weight and live healthy: Eat less and exercise. Calorie in, calorie out. It's that simple. Except -- it's not that simple, or we wouldn't be floundering in a tidal wave of type-2 diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases. Two generations ago losing weight was all about saturated fat and will power
Now there's a new culprit on the menu. It could be responsible for the so-called obesity epidemic. And you may be powerless against it. Meet the most addictive drug on the market, the toxin you should be most worried about: Sugar. That's according to a new documentary out Friday, Fed Up.
The movie follows children who are facing dire health consequences related to their weight. And the tragic thing is, they're actually working with doctors to diet their way back to good health. One of them is physically active every single day, and to hear her weep over how hard it is to resist chocolate nearly made me weep. Meanwhile, the parents seem a little hapless. They know they should be making better choices for their kids. Why can't they?
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Maybe it's not a matter of willpower. The filmmakers make the case that sugar is an addictive substance. It literally operates on your system the same way cocaine does, building cravings and dependence. And since it's in most of our food, it's nearly unavoidable. Basically your best weapon is knowledge, which is why I think Fed Up is worth watching. Even if you don't believe or agree with everything, you'll learn a lot about what's in your food and how you can (hopefully) outsmart the American diet.
Can you win? Maybe. Here's a few things the film says we can do to fight back and reclaim our health.
- Try getting off sugar for 10 days.
- Avoid buying processed foods.
- Steer clear of ingredients you don't recognize.
- Beware of added sugar hiding in foods like juice, bread, cereal, granola bars, yogurt, ketchup, chips, salad dressing, and peanut butter.
- Avoid kids' menus.
- Tell your child's principal to put students' health ahead of soda companies' money -- and get rid of those vending machines.
- Pressure your government to stop enabling our dependence on sugar through subsidies.
I'm just grateful I have a sensitivity to sugar that keeps me from eating very much of it. And I live in a community that doesn't constantly bombard me with sugary temptation. And I actually enjoy cooking from scratch. Otherwise, I think I'd be struggling right along with everyone else.
Do you feel like you eat too much sugar? Are you worried about this at all?
Image via Fed Up