This Film Exposes the Bitter Truth About Sugar and America's Obesity Problem

Katie Couric's new doc takes on the junk food-industrial complex.
Apr 15, 2014·
Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.

In Super Size Me, Americans learned about the health risks of McDonald’s. In Food, Inc., we saw the nutritional and environmental devastation brought on by industrial agriculture. Now, a new documentary promises to lay bare what Dr. David Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, calls “one of the greatest public health epidemics of our time”: junk food and the obesity crisis.

Produced and narrated by none other than Katie Couric, one of the most mainstream voices in American media, Fed Up, which opens on May 9, appears to be a broadside against the sugar industry. In the new trailer, even First Lady Michelle Obama’s exercise-first approach to childhood weight issues is subtly mocked. Commenters ranging from Bill Clinton and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman help build the argument that the obesity crisis was brought on by greedy junk food companies, permissive federal legislation and subsidies, and a government that tells us that systemic weight gain is all our fault.

“The government is subsidizing the obesity epidemic,” Pollan says in the trailer.

“Junk food companies are acting very much like tobacco companies did 30 years ago,” Bittman says in the trailer.

We can only hope that with this new film, the ideas that have become familiar to those who read the opinion pages of The New York Times regularly can reach a broader audience—and change the conversation.