‘Fed Up’ exposes the food industry

Laurie David at the Kimmel Center Credit: Susan Beard Design
Laurie David discusses “Fed Up.”

Credit: Susan Beard Design

If someone said “everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong,” and had facts to prove it, you’d pay attention. That’s the premise of “Fed Up,” a radical new documentary from producers Katie Couric and Laurie David with director Stephanie Soechtig that might change the way you see food — especially sugar and processed foods — and the government’s role in its labeling.

“I’ve always been hyper-aware of food values and what I’ve fed my family, but going through the process of discovery that was “Fed Up” was an eye opener,” said Laurie David during a pre-opening screening at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “No matter what you think you know, there’s always more to be learned.”

David has been down the documentary road before. She won an Academy Award as producer of the global warming warning “An Inconvenient Truth.” She also co-authored culinary tomes including the newly published “The Family Cooks: 100+ Recipes to Get Your Family Craving Food That’s Simple, Tasty, and Incredibly Good for You,” with Couric penning its forward.

It was Couric’s ongoing coverage of the childhood obesity epidemic during her 35 years in TV news that sparked the idea for “Fed Up.” From there, Couric convinced filmmaker Soechtig to jump behind the camera, and asked David to co-produce. “I immediately said “yes,” exclaims David. “You couldn’t help but want to take action.”

With “Fed Up” unfurling like a cross between the cigarette industry riposte “The Insider” and documentarian Michael Moore’s incendiary “Roger & Me,” it’s impossible to disagree with David, especially when Couric reports “In 1980, zero kids had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. By 2010 it was close to 57,000.”

The dramatic information in “Fed Up” is revealed by nutrition experts and politicians like Michael Pollan and Bill Clinton, who have long fought against sugar and food additives. We learn heartbreaking stories of overweight kids — including a 12-year-old girl weighing 212 pounds – warring to lose weight with traditional diet and exercise. It’s an uphill battle, goes teh message in the film, considering sugar is as addictive as cocaine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture shills for the food industry rather than advocate for the health of this country’s youth.

“We’re looking to edit ‘Fed Up’ into a shorter version and make it available to schools,” says David. “Telling parents and kids about the dangers of sugar is as important as warning people about cigarettes.”

“Fed Up” opens nationally May 9.


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