That Sugar Film

In ‘That Sugar Film’ Damon Gameau undertakes a ‘SuperSize Me’ type experiment in this film that opens May 7, except his diet is all stuff that’s deemed ‘healthy’ or rather ‘normal’ – Just Right with low-fat yoghurt and apple juice for breakfast, that sort of thing.  He consumes 40 teaspoons of sugar a day (the average Western diet), all in ‘normal’ food – no lollies, chocolate or ‘junk food’ for 2 months.

Go and see it if you didn’t catch it at the Film Festival, it may get you thinking differently about the food that’s around us.


There’s so much information out there about what is ‘healthy’ – should we be gluten-free, paleo, vegan? We’ve all grown up knowing that low-fat is good but now depending on who you talk to low-fat is not so good anymore and we should be wary of carbohydrates.  They also used to tell us to limit egg intake if you’ve got cholesterol problems but that’s not the case so much now.

Everyone has their own take on what’s healthy and why and exploring all this stuff can be pretty confusing.  The marketing around food products can also easily skew our thoughts about what’s ‘healthy’.  I can see that if food isn’t something you spend much time thinking about, living on a diet of Up and Go, low fat yoghurt and fruit juice might not seem like such a big deal, but the reality is you’re consuming quite large amounts of sugar and not much else.  I’m sure that you all would think twice about this, being dedicated to health and all but for the ordinary consumer I imagine it can come as quite a shock.

What was interesting was to note in the film was his mood as he progressed in his experiment.  We know that your gut contains 80% of your serotonin – the hormone responsible for your moods – feed yourself crap and it will be reflected in your mood.  Given that your food is also what you nourish your cells with, and what builds you into what you are, you’ll also see it in your skin, hair and nails.

The main point I took from this film was to stick to as natural and unprocessed as you can – if it’s in a packet it’s likely to be highly processed and full of sugar, fat and salt – and that’s something we might have forgotten.

Having said that, I don’t for a minute want you to think that it’s imperative to give up all sugar forever – let’s face it, sometimes you just wanna have some chocolate or ice cream or cake.  I think that’s perfectly fine – eat it, enjoy it and move on.  Yes, it’s got sugar and maybe some other unmentionables like dairy or flour, but please don’t feel guilty or like a failure for enjoying it – after all it’s just a part of enjoying life and celebrating food.  If you’re enjoying your chocolate, ice cream or cake everyday, that would be another matter…

What is comes down to is educated choices, awareness and balancing that drive to be the healthiest you can be with the ability to have freedom with your choices and knowing it’s not the end of the world if you decide every now and then to enjoy that salted caramel ice cream.

No matter what stance you take, we can probably all agree that sugar in the diet is best minimised and options labelled ‘low-fat’ or ‘high fibre’ may not always be the best ones.