We recently had the pleasure of speaking with renowned documentary film maker Laurie David about her buzzworthy new documentary on children and sugar consumption. With the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth and two healthful cookbooks under her belt, we were eager to chat with Laurie all about her latest endeavor, Fed Up. This new must-see, emotionally charged documentary addresses the ever growing problem of obesity in the U.S and the rise in use of processed sugar. Focusing primarily on sugar’s impact on children, Fed Up puts the subject of childhood obesity in America front and center.

This generation of children is the first to grow up heavier than their moms and dads, and is the first generation predicted to live shorter lives than their parents. Laurie David is helping to lift the curtain on hidden food industry facts, untangling the web of food marketing strategies to reveal the truth about what is on our plates. With the help of friends Katie Couric, Michael Pollan, and director Stephanie Soechtig, Fed Up will change the way you eat forever. Let’s take a deeper look into the woman behind the film and how we can get involved to change the future of food…

The Chalkboard Mag: For those who’ve not yet seen Fed Up, talk to us a little about the film.  It hits on such a timely topic.

Laurie David: Fed Up is the movie the food industry doesn’t want you to see because it exposes the simple truth that processed foods are making us sick and fat. Our mission is not to scare you, but to make sure you have all of the information necessary to make the best decisions for you and your family’s health.

TCM: You must have been extremely well-versed on the topic of sugar and the food industry before filming Fed Up – was there anything that you learned that shocked you?

LD: Actually, we were all amazed by how much we learned while making this movie. I have been working on food issues since I began writing The Family Dinner in 2009. I thought I knew a lot, but I was as shocked as everyone who sees the film about how so much of what we know about food is wrong.

TCM: Sugar is hidden everywhere in our food. What are three places that we may not be looking?

LD: We all know desserts have sugar in them but did you know that yogurt does? Tomato sauce? Would you be surprised to learn that sugar is in bread?  Fruit juice? Take a look at the back of your granola package. Sugar is everywhere, which is why it’s so important to read the label and memorize this simple math equation: 4 grams = 1 teaspoon.

TCM: As a mother, how do you address sugar in your household? No birthday cake? No dessert?

LD: When I first learned the truth about sugar, I went through my cabinets and was surprised by how much added sugar was in products even I thought were healthy. One big change was rethinking breakfast. Goodbye cereal, hello avocado toast!  It is important to remember, however, that there is a safe threshold for sugar – for men it’s about nine teaspoons and for women it’s about six teaspoons.  And while we should save a sugary dessert for special occasions, we also don’t need to deprive ourselves – dessert can be delicious in-season fruit. The real problem is that we are eating sugar in all our processed products without even knowing it. Amazingly enough, the solution is something so simple, so joyous, and will not only make your families healthier, but also closer: cooking!

TCM: How can mothers and families learn more about changing the way they eat?

LD: The first step is to start cooking your meals at home. As Michael Pollan says in Fed Up, when you cook for yourself, you don’t need to worry about fats, sugar, or nutrients. When you cook for yourself you will automatically eat much better.  The food industry has a vested interest in making you think it’s too hard, but with just a few ingredients you can make delicious meals in less time than it takes to get delivery.  This is why Kirstin Uhrenholdt and I wrote The Family Cooks – a companion to The Family Dinner. The Family Cooks is for the novice cook in all of us. It has simple recipes that will help transform your family’s health while teaching you cooking fundamentals that will carry you and your children through life.

Watch for more from Laurie David later this summer. The Family Cooks is a must-read for families. Find it here, then go see this film!
To find a theater in your area that is screening Fed Up, visit the official Fed Up website here.

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