From sugar this to sugar that and with so many substitute sugars and sugar free alternatives around, it can get quite confusing.Then there is people like Sarah Wilson ‘I quit sugar’ and David Gillespie’s book called ‘Sweet Poison’ which I’m sure you have all heard of before. Now we have a film called ‘THAT SUGAR FILM’ by a man named Damon Gameau, from Melbourne, Australia, who plays the leading man/human guinea pig. Whom I give so much credit too, I would not have been able to do what he did to his body for this study.
Of all the books, blogs and sugar-related articles I’ve read, this film was definitely easiest to understand but also a fun and realistic way for people that have no nutritional knowledge to learn about the harmful effects sugar can have on the human body. The film encourages the audience to be more mindful in what they eat. I loved his refreshing and down to earth way of presenting the information. The films intention is to show us the large amounts of sugar that can be found in products that are deemed as “healthy” foods, that people would eat on a regular basis. He also explores the more serious links to heart disease, fatty liver and renal failure and things like moodiness, insomnia, lethargy & brain fog that come from consuming a terrible diet
Refined sugars can be found everywhere and in almost every single thing that lines our supermarket shelves, and for the most part of society this can be hard when you don’t have any education in nutrition, and you put trust in the big food giants or what the media has you to believe.
As a health and wellness coach I find it extremely frustrating and I’m often saddened by what I see on the rare occasions that I shop in the big supermarkets, (usually to grab toilet paper or the usual bits and bobs I cant get along side my fresh produce at the markets) People are just unaware of what they are doing, they think they are doing the right thing but those little hidden nasties are hiding everywhere! I will often go for a walk through the aisles to see what products line the shelves, some of which claim to be a ‘good source of fibre’ or ‘low fat’ ‘sugar free’, ‘healthy’ ‘natural’ some even have the glory of the red tick!- and when I turn to read the ingredients list, I’m absolutely astounded at what is actually in these packets.
It does seem scary and all too hard but take baby steps, the first thing to do as a consumer is learn how to read nutritional labels, and know that if you don’t understand something in the ingredient list then most of the time you shouldn’t be putting it in your body. These ingredients are there purely to enhance colour, flavour, extend their shelf life and make them extremely cheap to make, returning big profits for the companies that make them.
In the film they claim that 40 teaspoons is the average intake for an adult, I thought this seemed a little excessive to me, and would possibly be more of what a teenage kid would consume. So I did a little research on this, finding some studies showing that the average adult now consumes about 26 teaspoons of sugar with the highest group being young adult males from 19 to 30 years consume about 33 teaspoons.
So with the 40 in mind, Damon goes on a 60-day journey where he eats ‘supposedly healthy foods’ containing ‘hidden’ sugars. Damons diet is extremely processed and there is no real plan to what he is eating, its mostly continuous snacking throughout the days.
He enjoys foods that people deem as “healthy” – things like;
Up n Go liquid breakfast
Nutri-grain breakfast drink
Box of sultanas
White bread sandwich (filling not mentioned)
Fresh smoothies and juices
Bag of fruit salad bites
K-time twist bar
SPC fruit puree
Before the film Damon’s diet was mostly high fat, low carb, no grains, no dairy, and very little sugar e.g. ‘he hasn’t had any sugar for 3 years’. (50% fat, 25% protein and 24% carbs as fruit and vegetables)
PRE FILM DIET
Breakfast : 2 eggs, bacon, ½ avocado, baby spinach
Main meals : Fish or meat (with fat left on), green vegetables
Snacks : Raw nuts, Cheese
He divides sugar in grams by 4 to get the number of teaspoons sugar in each product. Some days he was consuming 50 teaspoons of sugar, can you imagine adding that to your food? Well you wouldn’t have to if you eat the way he does in the film as its already in there for you.
I also loved how the film not only showed us Damons health and how it rapidly changed over the 2 months but it shares the cultural, economical and social impacts of having too much sugar in other parts of the world. Damon’s trip to the Aboriginal community showed the damage that processed, sugary foods had, and how it has destroyed the traditional way of life. His trip to the addicted Mountain Dew town was a real eye opener too.
The film isn’t out to scare you or make you not want to not eat ever again; its there to educate you light heartedly on what sugar does in excess consumption. For me living a healthy life is more than just looking at sugars, it’s about food quality, cooking methods, relationships with food. But if you want to start eating healthier, looking into your overall sugar intake is a great place to begin.
As I often say we need to keep in mind that moderation is the key to life, yes sugar is definitely a big contributing factor in our health conditions, rising obesity, disease rates and there’s no doubt if you are continuously snacking on processed rubbish you are going to make yourself sick and fat. Keep your diet to mostly wholefoods, consuming lots of fresh produce and small amount of top quality meats with the occasional “healthy” treat and you will be on your way to a good healthy lifestyle.
Have you ever tried to quit sugar?? If so share with me below how you went?