Fed Up Documentary’s Strong Claims Create Backlash
There’s no doubt that “Fed Up” is a jarring documentary that will make you re-evaluate your eating choices. “Fed Up,” produced by Katie Couric and Laurie David, takes a look at the alarmingly-high obesity rate in America, and points fingers at the food industry to take the brunt of the blame. But even though the documentary has stirred up a lot media attention (and guilt for our potato chip purchases), the film doesn’t lack for critics, many of whom claim that the facts presented in the movie are fabricated or poorly-researched.
There’s an even an entire website, run by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, called “Fed Up Facts,” which disputes many of the claims in the movie, stating that according to the Center for Disease Control, the obesity rate has actually gone down in recent years. A non-profit organization, (unrelated to GMA), called the International Food Information Council, also released a fact check of the movie, refuting some of the film’s basic information like, “this year, for the first time, more people will die from obesity than starvation.” The International Food Information Council has claimed that through numbers from the World Health Organization, 2.8 million people die every year from obesity-related illnesses, while more than 10 million die every year from starvation.
“There are a few central claims in the film that we dispute, the notions that sugar uniquely contributes to obesity, that energy balance is nonsense, and that people with an overall balanced diet containing limited amounts of sugar, along with appropriate levels of physical activity, are still essentially powerless against obesity,” Matt Raymond, a representative from the International Food Information Council, told The Daily Meal.“’Fed Up’ never, to my knowledge, has cited or linked to a single source for any of their claims.”
Both the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the International Food Information Council are supported and funded by the very companies that “Fed Up” is attacking, including Coca-Cola, Kraft, Kellogg, General Mills, Nestle and McDonald’s, so their perspective may be colored.
In response to these critiques, especially those released by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists has written a blog post picking apart these attacks on the film’s validity. General Mills (a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association), has even claimed that “sugar intake has not been shown to be directly associated with obesity.”
To see both sides of the story, check out the International Food Information Council’s critiques, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists’ responses to the “Fed Up” backlash here.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi