The harmful affects of sugar are nothing new to health advocates, but a new documentary playing at the Empire Theatre this weekend drives the point home.
Fed Up is a documentary looking at the causes of obesity and claims that sugar added into processed foods is an ignored root of the problem. Fed Up will be playing at the Empire Theater from June 17th to 21st.
Fed Up places blame on the food industry for rising obesity and diabetic rates and aims to take it off those afflicted. It claims that sugar is addictive and the way it is added to all the food we eat makes it impossible to avoid.
Cory Mestre, the fitness and recreation coordinator at Loyalist College says he has been preaching this message for a while now.
“Its nice to say adults are to blame and that everyone is in control of their own lives” Mestre said. “But if you take a long look at it, I think you see the industry is to blame too.”
Mestre also buys into sugar being addictive “If you do research, there is a lot of studies in support of the idea that sugar has addictive tendencies. A good way to test it personally is to try to go without sugar for a period of weeks and see how it makes you feel. You will find a haze falls over people and some will have trouble functioning without sugar,” he said.
Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of paediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, told Fed Up in an interview that about 80 per cent of food available in grocery stores has added sugar. The film goes on to estimate that this will cause over 70 per cent of America to be overweight or obese within the next 20 years.
If you want to avoid becoming part of the statistic Mestre says staying on the perimeter of the grocery store is a good first because that’s where all the fresh produce that will spoil is placed.
“If your cupboards are full of foods that can go months without spoiling that means they are processed and its not good,” said Mestre.
Susan Kilbi Mullaly, a registered dietician at the Hasting Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, thinks a lot of progress towards healthy eating can be made by government policy.
“I think the municipal level is forgot about, but can play a big role,” she said. “With the upcoming municipal election it is a good opportunity for Belleville to improve access to healthy foods for its residents. Go ask the candidates what they intend to do to make healthy foods available in Belleville that’s how we can the discussion started.”
“I think community gardens would really go a long way,” Mullaly said.
In the meantime though Mestre says you can make a lot of changes by just cooking all your meals yourself. “It’s not really that hard (to change your diet). It’s just hard to create new habits,” he said.