Last week, RM and I went to see Fed Up, which is a movie/documentary that was created to show America how big of an issue obesity is and why “diet and exercise” are not going to cure it.
Have you ever noticed how everything has a “low fat” version? Have you ever looked at the ingredients in those products or thought about why they could still taste good even though they are low fat? Added sugar. That’s how they do it. I mean, it makes sense, right? How else would you make something taste good if you take out all the fat?
The thing is, the high amounts of unnecessary sugar added to these foods is the culprit behind America’s overwhelming weight gain over the past 20-30 years. Our bodies don’t know how to handle it and have no where to store it and because of this, that sugar is stored as fat. Here are some disturbing facts from the movie site:
A 20-ounce bottle of soda contains the equivalent of approximately 17 teaspoons of sugar.
In the United States, it is estimated that 93 Million Americans are affected by obesity.
One soda a day increases a child’s chance of obesity by 60%.
Individuals who drink one to two sugar-sweetened beverages per day have a 26 percent higher risk for developing type II diabetes.
Kids watch an average of 4000 food-related ads every year (10/day).
98% of food related ads that children view (3920/year) are for products high in fat, sugar, sodium.
There is overwhelming evidence of the link between obesity and the consumption of sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks.
More than 9 Million adolescents (children and teens 6-19 years old) are considered overweight.
It will take a 110-pound child 75 minutes of bike riding to burn off the calories in one 20-ounce bottle of soda.
Almost 45 percent of overweight or obese children ages 10 to 17 are poor.
Crazy statistics, right?! The thing that killed me in the movie was how much the kids wanted to change and didn’t want to be “fat” anymore. But, when they showed what they were eating, it’s no wonder why they are struggling even though they are exercising: Reduced Fat Cheese-It’s/Chips/Cookies, Special K Crisps, sugar-laden cereals (One mom said she is having her daughter replace meals with cereal since it’s low in calories- so much wrong with that statement!), frozen food meals, etc. . And, it’s not just what they are eating at home- the lunch options in school cafeteria’s was appalling! Pizza Hut? Taco Bell? McDonalds? What the heck are those fast food options doing in school lunches?!
It’s hard to blame the average family, though, because how do they know eating something that’s “low fat” is going to hurt them in the end? Media has been teaching us that those are the better options for 20-30 years, so unless you take an interest in health and nutrition and learn things about the “right” way to eat on your own, it’s hard to know how bad some of the stuff that we are putting into our bodies is.
So, you may be wondering what to do to make things better. Something I’ve been trying to do more of lately (thanks to all the healthy living blogs that I follow!) is eat REAL FOOD and eliminate eating stuff because it’s only 100 calories or because it’s already packaged for me. This is still a work in progress for me, but I am trying. The movie said that not all calories are the same. For instance, a handful of almonds and a medium soda have about the same calorie count, however, the body knows how to process the almonds and doesn’t know how to process all of the extra sugar in the soda, which means it gets stored as fat.
Here are some REAL foods that I’m loving right now:
- Kale– Warm kale salads, kale in meals, kale as a side dish, kale “chips”.. I just love it!
- Spinach– I’ve replaced regular ol’ lettuce with spinach as it’s much more nutritious.
- Salads with “stuff” in them– think: quinoa, goat cheese, avocado, baked veggies, etc. Basically, anything that makes a salad less “boring”.
- Baked Veggies– I love baking up a big batch of veggies on Sunday night to eat with my meals and on my salads. I put them in a bowl and add in EVOO and bunch of herbs and seasonings and toss them in a 350* oven for about 40 minutes. Amazing!
- Avocados– Such a yummy, healthy fat that tastes delicious in salads, in wraps, with eggs or on a sandwich.
- Fruit– Bananas, apples, pears, berries- these are all naturally sweet and the body knows how to process those sugars.
- Protein- Chicken is my go-to (sautéed, baked, shredded, etc.), but I’ve also been eating more lean red meat and eggs. Hard boiled eggs are an easy “grab and go” food options.
- Nut butters– I’m loving almond butter right now, but peanut butter will always have a soft spot in my heart. Next time you buy either, check the ingredients label- I realized that so many brands have random added ingredients (including sugar) that are not necessary.
- Smoothies– frozen berries, bananas, spinach, almond butter, protein powder… lots of super foods that keep me full for a while.
- Seltzer water– I drink so much water, but I love spicing things up with seltzer water, too!
The great thing about a lot of these things is that you can “meal prep” on Sunday and have them handy throughout the week. Eating healthy may take a little more time, but if you prep ahead of time, it won’t take you long to make healthy choices during the week. I try to make one meal on Sunday nights that includes a lot of the foods I listed above so that I can have it handy to reheat throughout the week.
In conclusion, I think what I took away from the movie is to avoid “low fat” food options, read ingredient labels and limit unnecessary sugar intake found in processed foods. A lot of what I learned makes sense- what is this made from? Is there an option that is less processed? Does my body know how to process these ingredients? While I still think I have a lot to learn and a lot of changes to make to my diet, I think the movie opened my eyes up a lot. I don’t think I’ll ever give up sugar entirely, but my goal is to significantly cut back now that I know the true effects of it. I’m all about “everything in moderation”, so I won’t turn down a slice of birthday cake or an ice cream cone on a hot summer day, but knowing how my body processes those things is really interesting!
Questions for you: Have you heard of Fed Up? Do you have a sugar addiction? What’s a healthy thing you love to eat right now? Do you meal prep?