Behind the healthy lifestyle movement


In the past years the world has noticed an immense healthy lifestyle movement. Prior to that people didn’t have knowledge of which products consisted in a healthy diet. Furthermore others didn’t find it necessary to exercise either.

Furthermore with the rise of the health movement it is extremely important to acknowledge where it came from. Media plays a vital role in society; we transmit messages through radio, TV and social networks. One manner in which people have gained an insight of this movement is through film and documentaries.

There are certain documentaries that created a greater impact than others. Fed up and Food Inc. are two examples of film that show the inside of our world.

Fed up analyses the products we consume and how each of them causes obesity. The documentary creates a tension and effect on the viewer because the interviewees are mostly children that are struggling with obesity. Fed up not only looks at the daily dose of sugar a human being should intake but also it takes a further glance into the real cause of obesity.

‘The film has received mostly positive reviews and has been called the Inconvenient Truth of the health movement,’ Harriet Hall states for Science Based Medicine. Fed Up was written and directed by Stephanie Soechtig. Her previous work was based on the GMO foods and the water industry. ‘The film shows families struggling with childhood obesity and experts expressing their opinion, however the selection of experts is heavy on politicians and journalists and light on nutrition scientists,’ Harriet Hall adds.

Fed up shows new and old footage. Stephanie Soechtig uses a lot of animation in order to make the audience understand how the process of sugar intake is absorbed into fat in the body. Fed Up also concentrates on the fact that the calorie doesn’t exist. In one of their animations they prove their theory by showing how 160 calories worth of almonds are absorbed compared to 160 calories of sugar.

One important tool that the director used in order to create impact is by using mostly children as interviewees. Children create a greater remorse, sensitivity and worry. ‘Food has become a real threat. The nation has created a huge conflict of interest. Our food epidemic has become an entertainment for our society with reality TV shows such as ‘The Biggest Loser,” the narrator of Fed Up states.

Fed Up Images 1
Image taken from Eater.com

Fed Up brings key themes in order to analyze the food crisis. It blames the food industry to be the heart of the problem and also to be lying to the audience. The world realized that the obesity rates are climbing each year and the food industry instead of helping they simply lie by producing food that is low fat. However even though the food is low fat, in order to make the products taste good they now put even more sugar. Fed up states that 80% of products in all supermarkets have sugar. All the sugar instead of making you feel full simply give you an insulin rush and leaves you to be even hungrier.

In order to give great awareness of the sugar crisis Fed Up shows footage of 43 cocaine addicted rats that were given a choice of either drinking sugar water or cocaine water. Astonishingly 40 of the rats chose the sugar water. Through the footage and imagery, the documentary clearly realized that the problem of obesity lies within sugar.

Fed Up Images 2
Brain scans  Image taken from CBS news

Food Inc. on the other hand explored the topic in a different manner and directly attacks the industries responsible for obesity, diabetes and many other sicknesses caused by food. The documentary surveys the industrial production of meat, grains and vegetables. The film leaves the viewer with the impressions that the entirety of our food industry is inhumane. Not only that but also economically and environmentally unsustainable.

Catherine Shoard couldn’t express herself more correctly about the plot of the documentary as she wrote for the guardian, ‘yucky clips of conveyor belts full of offal, and sheds of chickens wheezing their last as their internal organs are defeated by their weight gain are intercepted with case studies, waggishly narrated tours round the supermarket, and a mawkishly handled story about the avoidable death of a little boy how ate an E coli-tainted burger.’

Despite the plot of the documentaries they were designed in order to create an impact. Food Inc created that impact through its ‘yuck’ imagery and disturbing pictures of how food is produced in such great quantities. ‘Imagery all depends on the vision of the story and what the directors wants to make the audience see’ Val Mazarella a film director states. Food Inc. concentrated on the tools of impactful imagery and they were successfully transmitted.

Food Inc 1
Scene taken from Food Inc.

So how was this unhealthy lifestyle introduced? Where did it all begin? McDonalds. What the McDonalds brothers did is that they simplified food and created it in bulk. It was a new era where it was all about producing more inexpensive food in a faster time and a smaller amount of space.

food inc imae 2
Food Inc.  Image taken from Blu-ray

Food Inc. concentrated on the mogul business because it is shocking how you can buy a McDonalds cheeseburger for 99 cents however you cannot even buy a head of broccoli with that money. The industry is responsible for obesity rates because they lead people to eat junk food, simply because they couldn’t afford anything else.

Food Inc. blamed all the companies for the health misfortunes. Robert Kenner the director focused on spreading the word that only a couple of companies own everything. The industrial system is always looking for greater efficiency; their approaches are never to fix the issue.

How did people start becoming aware that the food we are consuming as a nation worldwide is bad? Initially people didn’t think that food was bad for them. ‘We never thought of healthy living because we used to think that everything is healthy’ Maria Gonzales states in an interview for Food Inc. The moment people began to realize was when the news were covered of incidents with people dying from E-coli, salmonella and saw the food crisis. These sicknesses despite their negativity gave an insight to the world that what the food industries were doing is wrong.

People started being more aware and tried to reduce the junk food. With that there was increase of organic foods. Food Inc. stated that there is an annual 20% increase in organic foods. They portrayed that the only way to eat is organic however Robert Kenner the director took it a step further. We think we are eating organic food from small producers but we are not. We are eating it from Kellogg’s, Pepsi, Kraft and other huge industries.

However Kevin Geary the founder and writer for Rebooted Today believes that ‘the obesity epidemic is not a direct result of food manufacturers. It’s not a direct result of profit. It’s not a direct result of laziness or a lackadaisical nature of obese people.’ Sometimes the cause doesn’t matter but what matters is how to fix it.

The documentaries have been extremely successful and they have managed to give a greater awareness to the public. ‘In film, the role of the crew is very important. When you watch a movie you really enjoyed its because every departments worked well. It is like creating a painting,’ Val Mazzarella states.

The documentaries did create a painting, they worked well together and the conclusion to keep in mind is that despite all the issues only the consumer is the one able to fix things.

How can we help this health movement? ‘It is us,’ as the narrator of Food Inc. states, ‘the customers and consumers hold the power. Whatever we choose to purchase from the supermarket, every item that gets scanned is what changes the food future. If people start making healthier choices, the industries will have no choice but to adapt.’

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