That Sugar Film Review

So what happens when a perfectly fit young man subjects himself to 60 days consuming the average daily consumption of sugar each day? Here’s my That Sugar Film  Review

Eve and William with the star Damon

Eve and William with the star Damon

On a balmy Wednesday night our family (minus the youngest) took the 50 minute trip to Geelong to watch one of the Q and A sessions of That Sugar Film in the beautiful old (now Village) picture theater.

Parking was hard to come by which suggested a large crowd would be in attendance as there was, probably 500 plus.

The opening was full of colour as scenes of coloured confectionery filled the screen and then we were introduced to Damon Gameau, the guinea pig, who outlined his project.

We then met his team of including his doctor, nutritionist, blood guy and subject expert (David Gillespie) who would be in charge of monitoring his results, all of whom were not expecting a great outcome – but even they would be surprised by the impact on Damon’s health

Now his project was to eat the equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar each day for 60 days, but not from chocolate or soft drink, but instead from everyday foods, many supposedly healthy, but all with hidden sugar. Why? because he had a new baby on the way and wanted to really understand for himself how bad sugar really was for the future education of his child. Well he was about to find out!

Day 1 breakfast consisting of cereal, low fat yoghurt and juice had used more than half his quota much to his surprise.

What followed was a downward spiral into weight gain, fatty liver disease, fogginess in the head, manic episodes, lethargy and acne just to name a few.

Damon had no shortage of support from experts including Gary Taubes (author of Why We Get Fat) and celebrities including appearances from Hugh Jackman and Stephen Fry. Along the way we get plenty of insights into the science, the history, the food industry and what sugar can do to our health.

Felt like I was on the Red Carpet! Actually think it was red!

Felt like I was on the Red Carpet! Actually think it was red!

His journey took us to the home of sugary junk, the good ol’ US of A where we were introduced to Larry, a 17 year old boy who had been raised on Mountain Dew since a child and had very little of his teeth not rotted as a result. The scene with Larry at the dentist completely out does the dentist scene in Marathon Man for sheer squirm factor.

Damon struggled to find any good food as he travelled the States, where his biggest problem when buying food and drink was keeping under his 40 teaspoon limit (one smoothie at the airport nearly used his whole quota).

Damon was both good humoured and informative as he presented the horror story of what sugar could be doing to many in the community and especially among Australia’s own aboriginal population who have had funding for healthy eating programs stripped by the Government. Do we just learn to cope with the highs and lows that sugar creates in us and live with a constant fog that only lifts when we get our next sugar hit?

The film was fun and enlightening and had me wincing each time I saw him with yet another sugary juice in his hand, and when he had a day of actually adding 40 teaspoons of sugar to his food. I felt just as uncomfortable as he interviewed the doctor paid by coke to research the effects of sugar.

The film was clearly made to appeal to younger audiences , as well as adults, and kept our 8 year old boy engaged for most of it. It would be a great school  fundraiser and hopefully will get plenty of screenings in schools and just as hopefully can make a difference to educating our children and creating change.

Thoroughly recommended 4 stars.