That Sugar Film is positioned as a one man journey to explore our obsession with sugar and sweetness. Damon Gameau took us on a Morgan Spurlock-esque exposé into how his health was affected when he ditched his healthier habit of avocado, nut and salad diet – into following the recommended intake of 40 teaspoons of sugar per day by eating “healthy” food. So, that means that he didn’t eat lollies, chocolate or cookies, but sticking with things like fruit juice, muesli bars, fruit yoghurt and breakfast cereal – for sixty days.
Along the way, he tries to convince us that the bad culprit of the obesity pandemic is not calories and fat, but more about our obsession with eating ‘sweet’ food and sugar – and that not all calories are created equal. The movie starts off well with Damon sharing his life story about his partner’s pregnancy and him wanting to test the alternative sugar-filled diet, while maintaining his exercise regime – under the supervision and monitoring of a team of doctor, nutritionist and health scientist. He stays true to Oscar Wilde’s mantra that “If you want to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh or they’ll kill you.” – sometimes naturally and earnestly, and sometimes in quite a contrived manner (like the unnecessary video clip at the end – did somebody from the production team come up with an idea to create a clip that would go viral or something?). Along the way, he chronicles how he feels and how his new diet affects his body. To emphasise his points, he also takes a journey to the US – the epicentre of the sugar kingdom – to show some obligatory viewing of a 17-year-old guy with rotten teeth due to his excessive consumption of Mountain Dew and how the industry supposedly combats those attempting to cast a negative light on sugar.
The movie is entertaining and informative – especially as it also shows the impact of sugar diet on the indigenous communities in Australia. In parts, Damon’s Australian humour lightens the mood when the movie gets quite information heavy, but the movie seems to be a bit loose towards the end. Especially when he pushes his claim further that our sugar obsession also fuels materialism. Other may argue that the other side of the coin (i.e. the scientists who are still ambivalent about the role of sugar in our diet) is not given the same air time in the movie. Maybe because Damon wants to highlight the issue, and that this is not meant to be a dry, unbiased, documentary.
All in all, a worthwhile movie to see – especially if you have a family member who is quite attached to sugar or everything sweet! It’s time that I try to wean myself off sugar even more!