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Reviews of That Sugar Film: link dump

By no means whatsoever could this be considered
"too much sugar". Don't let silly people spoil your enjoyment
of nutritious & delicious foods.
What we know about sugar is that you really don't want to have too much of it terribly often.

What does "too much" mean, though? Well, according the World Health Organisation we should limit to no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar on a daily basis. Key word here is "added", as the naturally occurring sugars within nutritious foods are absolutely fine within the context of a balanced diet of appropriate total energy provision.

Another word for those naturally occurring sugars is "intrinsic". We're talking about the fructose in fruits and vegetables, the lactose in dairy products, and so on. Various unsavory characters out there are making a lot of money via fear mongering over carbs in general, sugars in particular, and in some cases fructose specifically. Rarely are they actually people with a medical or dietetic background. More often they are simply marketers (at best) or outright charlatans and con men (and women).

Again, to reiterate: intrinsic sugars within an appropriate total intake are of no concern whatsoever. Added sugars in less nutritious & more indulgent choices should be limited. No country as best I am aware has healthy eating guidelines to the contrary, all recommend that added sugars be limited. The suggestion you'll often read from Low Carb High Fat trolls enthusiasts that the official guidelines support massive consumption of sugars is ridiculous and disingenuous. In other words they are lying through their teeth.

However it is possible that people might be unaware of the amount of sugar in some choices of foods and condiments that wouldn't seem obvious. This may be a valid concern which That Sugar Film addresses, however, none of the other claims it makes about sugar should be seen as even vaguely accurate.

A few quick side notes:
  1. It seems apparent that anti-sugar quackitivists also similarly fear monger over artificial sweeteners and in some cases other plant based sweeteners such as stevia. There is ample and on going research to support the safety of non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame. 
  2. Sugar is not addictive "like drugs are addictive".
  3. Be aware of how much "still sugar, but not regular cane sugar" is often in expensive "sugar free" products. In some cases more so than in the conventional brands they would claim to be "healthier" than.

Reviews of That Sugar Film:

Do Not Believe The Shoddy Science in That Stupid Sugar Film.

This one might be my favourite.
Gameau’s panel of experts includes a supergroup of charlatans and cranks, [such as] the floppy-haired nutrition guru David Wolfe. A self-described “Health, Eco, Nutrition and Natural Beauty Expert” and “one of the world’s top authorities” on “chocolate and organic superfoods,” Wolfe spends his days touting the spiritual and health benefits of such things as deer antler spray (a “levitational,” “androgenic force”), baby-reflexology, and “earthing” (in which people plug themselves into the ground wire of an electrical outlet so as to “naturally discharge electrical stress from our bodies”).
Seen outside the context of That Sugar Film, the man appears to be a lunatic.

Sugar, sugar everywhere, but not a grain to be seen.

Thanks to Prof. Tim Crowe at Thinking Nutrition.
Damon claimed that his weight gain happened despite eating the same amount of food than before his high-sugar experiment. Yet only a very superficial attempt was made to estimate how much food was being eaten over the 60 days, making such a claim unreliable at best.
So, is there something insidious about sugar calories that can lead to greater weight gain? Not really. Sugar, including fructose, is not inherently fattening relative to other foods. Its effect on body weight is from the extra energy it adds to our diets, that’s all.

Those Sugar Films, How Do They Stack Up?

A great write up of this and a couple of other films about sugar, from The Nutrition Press.
Taking a closer look at the show’s talent, we find a lack of relevant expertise. The show’s chief sugar adviser, David Gillespe, is a former lawyer and founder of a software company. He has no scientific or nutrition qualifications and his book Sweet Poison, which supposedly reveals the true health effects of dietary fructose, has no scientific basis. It is certainly true that Australians are consuming too much sugar but Gillespe’s claim of 40 teaspoons as the average Australian’s daily sugar intake is an over-estimate by about 10 teaspoons. He also says that the average family of four consumes the equivalent of 6 x 1kg bags of sugar each week. Doing the math, based on his own figure of 40 teaspoons, a family of four would consume 4.48kg. Based on 30 teaspoons, this figure is 3.36kg.

D-discussion on ‘That Sugar Film’: Diabetes Counseling Online.

Some of these processed foods that are referred to in the film are baked beans, containing the equiv of 1 tsp of sugar per serve. Using baked beans as an example, the beans themselves are highly nutritious and 1 tsp sugar is in the sauce, which also contains nutrients such as lycopene that we need to obtain from cooked tomatoes.  That 1 teaspoon of sugar is not enough to spike your BGLs and baked beans do have a low glycemic index, so they’re a good option for us when we need a meal in a hurry.
There are also other processed foods such as tinned and frozen vegetables, some breakfast cereals, some grainy breads and dairy products that as a dietitian I regularly encourage people to use.  If these products weren’t being recommended, then chances are that people might inadvertently choose something less nutritious in an effort to have a little less sugar. Learning to label read is so important here. Some of the healthier, lower GI breakfast cereals are really convenient options in our busy lives, as well as containing important nutrients that we need for wellbeing, despite containing some added sugars.

Food Watch Reviews That Sugar Film.

Damon consumes lots of liquids which have been shown to be easier to over-consume than whole foods e.g. apples vs apple juice. I’m guessing his intake DID exceed what he was eating before and these sweetened liquids were responsible for the fat gain in the abdominal region as well as the decline in liver function.

Who ever said flavoured milk or iced tea drinks are ‘healthy’? They may be healthier choices than sweetened soft drinks but they are not on any 'Must Eat Lists' or Pyramids.


That Sugar Film review: Powerful propaganda proves little.

What limits the film is that its central method of argument is unscientific by definition, despite the facts and figures provided by a slew of presumed experts. Simply put, Gameau's one-man experiment is not rigorous enough to prove anything at all, however striking his results seem.


Let's all stop pretending that support for a sugar tax is motivated by anything other than fat shaming.

Things that aren't logical bother me.

Case in point: This sugar tax so many people seem to be clamouring for all of a sudden.

It would have virtually no impact on me as I don't use a lot of sugar or foods with a lot of added sugar in them as far as I'm aware, but on purely logical grounds, the idea doesn't cut it.

Public health policy needs to be based on facts, not assumptions. The statistics say that while cases of obesity are on an upward trajectory, sugar usage is already on a downward trajectory and has been for some time.

I feel like the support for the idea has a lot less to do with being concerned about people's health or the economic ramifications of a population more susceptible to lifestyle preventable conditions such as type2 diabetes for example, and a lot more to do with generic, run of the mill fat shaming.

To use the "carrot and the stick" analogy, this is all stick. We're going to hit people in the hip pocket where they'll feel it the most, until they learn not to / can't afford to be fat people sitting around loading up on sugar all day. Newsflash jerks: the stats say that's not happening anyway. Even if it was happening, it's still a jerk-like approach based on the biased assumption that quote unquote "fat people" are all a bunch of lazy good for nothings.

I don't believe that's the case. Lazy good for nothings come in all variety of shapes and sizes. By no means does that exclude any of the larger variety, but personally I've known some quite skinny ones who wouldn't work in an iron lung either. You wouldn't have 'em around just to swear at once in a while because they'd some how mess that up even.

Now, here's how this actually works.

People will gain weight because their energy intake exceeds their energy requirement. That excessive energy intake (we know this is a fact) is from "a little too much of everything across the board", and not "because supermarkets have an aisle devoted to soft drink" or because "sugar is hidden in foods you've been lead to believe are healthy" or whatever other nonsense you might have read, usually from someone with no relevant qualifications who's appointed themselves an expert all the same. It's a little or perhaps more than a little too much across the board, not any single thing in particular.

However, it might not actually be that people are consuming more than what should be a normal amount of food. This is a two part equation, and the other part which is also quite likely to be a significant factor is a lack of energy expended via strenuous activity.

This doesn't mean people are lazy. It just means they are not suitably motivated to train.

If you have up to an hour of travel to get to work, 8 to 12 hours there trying to get stuff done, probably being frustrated by incompetent management, under staffing, outdated IT systems, whatever else... up to an hour to get home again, battling traffic or wedged in like sardines on a train or tram... it's not fkn LAZINESS if you don't then jump and hit the gym.

Don't get me wrong though, I have done it myself. Straight to the gym after a 12 hour shift and an hour drive to and from home again. But the difference is that I would have been looking forward to the gym all day. That was the easy part for me. The good part after 12 hours of extreme mental effort and emotional restraint required not to lose my shit with anyone during the day.

My point is that hitting the gym after a hard day at work requires a certain level of motivation and the absence of that motivation should not be interpreted as laziness, especially if a lighter person would escape your criticism.

Reasons people aren't motivated are various but I'd suggest it's something to the tune of "I don't enjoy it, I'm not good at it, and even when I've forced myself it didn't get me anywhere anyway" and ditto for why people can't just "eat healthy" according to someone else's rigid and narrow interpretation of the concept for that matter too.

More Carrot, Less Stick.

Limiting consumption of added sugars in nutritionally sparse snack choices is an excellent idea, and is recommended the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and in official guidelines around the world. Being enthusiastic about fitness, exercise, training and being active is something that should add quality and enjoyment to your life while also being beneficial to health and wellbeing.

You can't "enforce" this stuff via negative reinforcements, shaming and financial penalties though. People need to be encouraged and empowered to find the balance to include physical activity in their daily routine while also meeting their other obligations. They need to be empowered to find the balance of healthy & more indulgent foods within eating habits that are appropriate over all.

All of this needs to be something that we feel good about and are enthusiastic to participate in. Not something we're obliged to do to deflect the criticisms of others. While the various branches of the "wellness" related industries use shame based tactics to promote overly restrictive diets and approaches to exercise that are more punishing than productive, we're not addressing the problem. We're adding to it.

Science and sense based recommended reading this week.

I haven't kept up with my "week in review" posts for some reason but here's a bunch of great and informative stuff you might enjoy &/or be enlightened by.

  • Imogen died wanting to be thin.
    After years of suffering and starvation, Imogen Brennan realised anorexia would claim her life if she didn't get help. Here, she shares her story in the hope of changing misconceptions about eating disorders.

Finally here's a nice video on The Science Of Persuasion.

As they said on the I Fucking Hate Pseudoscience page, "It's interesting how closely the minds of marketers and con artists align".


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