That Sugar Film (2014) directed by Damon Gameau

Movie info:

Three years ago a young Australian actor called Damon Gameau stopped eating refined

sugar. He didn’t complain.  Now he embarks on an experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on his healthy body. 60 days of eating your ordinary, supermarket food  won’t kill you, right? Or maybe you shouldn’t be so sure?

Damon is highly motivated – his wife/partner is pregnant and he wants  the child to follow the best dietary rules possible; it means he also wants to set proper standards as a dad. After all shops around the world are full of sweet kids’ snacks and goodies; one day his lovely little daughter might ask: ‘daddy, is sugar really as bad as you think’?

My impressions:

I wanted to watch this one because I’ve already dealt with the topic of sugar on my blog (Our sweet consolation or devil’s candy?).  Apart from that it rang a bell: the description reminded me another documentary, namely Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me”. I soon found out that Damon Gameau follows Mr. Spurlock’s playbook almost page for page. He decided to consume typical Australian’s 40 teaspoons of sugar every day while maintaining his exercise routine and the same calories intake. Like “Super Size Me,” he keeps a team of doctors and nutritionists handy and checks the health effects of high sugar diet every two weeks or so. What’s different? While Spurlock knew very well that McDonald’s food is unhealthy Gameau eats things that often enjoy a positive image of ‘healthy food’, like cereal, fruit smoothies, muesli bars and low-fat yoghurt; the kind of products that in tv ads are praised as tasty but definitely good for your health.

It soon becomes evident that his body is changing in an alarming way. Within three weeks, he starts to develop fatty liver disease, and by the end incurs early Type 2 diabetes and increased heart-disease risks. Isn’t it scary: two months of ‘sugar life’ gave him 10cm of visceral fat around his waist, some serious mood swings, short attention span, even cognition problems. He was constantly tired, with very short moments of quite manic activity (guess when).

Mind you the experiment was shot in a very light, amusing style, lathered with flashy, special-effects which might appeal to younger audience. Digitally animated segments see Gameau climb inside his own liver and brain (up a rope and into his own nostril, no less) to illustrate the effect sugar has on your body.  Footage of experts is playfully integrated with food packaging so a doctor seems to be speaking from inside a label on a yoghurt cup or a carton of milk.; still don’t get fooled by the antics of Mr. Gameau, added by cameo appearances of Stephen Fry and Hugh Jackman. The movie is a horror pure and simple even if it might be shot in the Willy Wonka Chocolate factory. It shows real tragedies like that of a teenage boy from Kentucky who, after years and years of drinking 6-7 cans of Mountain Dew every day, has to have 60% of his teeth extracted because they are rotten to the core. Or the tragedy of the whole Aboriginal community where people die before they reach 40 due to diabetes and other related illnesses because they are addicted to coca-cola.

Final verdict:

A very provocative document illustrating the evils of a diet with high intake of refined sugar. The information wasn’t exactly new to me but I admit it was presented in a very fresh, amusing form. And, more importantly, it touched a subject which should interest everybody who has ever gone shopping.

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9 Responses to That Sugar Film (2014) directed by Damon Gameau

  1. blodeuedd says:

    I need to cut down on sugar but I looooooooooooooooove it. It is basically heroine

  2. heidenkind says:

    I don’t remember if I mentioned it in your previous post on sugar, but my uncle quit eating sugar entirely and he quit getting headaches and backaches and his health really improved. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, but I think I need to watch this since I do love me some foodie documentaries!

    • I seriously limited my sugar consumption some time ago as well. I don’t sweeten either tea or coffee, I avoid soda pops, sweets (apart from chocs) and I don’t buy pre-processed food because I started to cook on my own. As a result I lost some weight without dieting, my epic headaches almost disappeared and my attention span got longer (among other things).

  3. Melfka says:

    I still eat some sugar. I like my jellies and chocolate. I add it to coffee too at times. I might drink soda once a week. I think the problem is that most of us don’t have enough discipline to “enjoy it in moderation”.
    But, I do eat less now, I resist to eat whenever I feel even a bit hungry, and I exercise. I’m supposedly slimming (weight is not really relevant since I aim to replace my fat with muscles at some point).

    • The biggest problem with sugar is that nowadays you can find it in unexpected places. It is added to preprocessed meat, ready meals, low-fat anything, sausages, dressings and many other products. As a result your daily sugar intake might be much higher than you think – unless you cook on your own – and it has nothing to do with any ‘moderation’ from your part.

      • Melfka says:

        I guess I expect it everywhere (well, ok, not in pasta xD ).
        We cook our meals, though we use some of ready-stuff too (sadly, it’s cheaper than fresh veg/meat).
        I did a quick calculation and my sugar intake is about 20g a day, so within the norm, I guess.

  4. Carole Rae says:

    I’m okay on the sugary stuff….I need to cut down on the carby stuff like bread and pasta. Nommmmmmm breaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.

    But IDK why that guy looks familiar…..I feel like I’ve seen him before

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