It’s no secret that obesity is at epidemic proportions in North America. And you’ve probably been told that if you’re overweight, it’s your own fault. You eat too much and exercise too little.

While that may be the case for some folks, it’s not the case for the vast numbers of American who eat a “normal, healthy” diet with appropriate meal portions.

Why so fat?

According to Damon Gameau, a young, healthy Australian, the problem isn’t fat in our diets; it’s sugar. The creator and main character in the documentary, That Sugar Film, Damon embarks on an experiment to study the effects of sugar on his own body.

Average diet

Coming from a diet of no added sugar, Damon adopts the diet of the average American, which includes eating roughly 40 grams of sugar a day, or 8 teaspoons. Now, none of us is likely to sit down and shovel 8 teaspoons of of the white stuff into our mouths every day. But it turns out, we don’t have to. The prepared food industry has seen to it that you can easily get that much—and more—from our normal, everyday diets.

If you were to start reading labels and actually do the simple math around how much sugar is in products like fruit juice, soft drinks, granola bars, and soup, you’ll probably be astonished at how much it all adds up to.

(I’m sure there is an app for calculating that.) For example, I have nut filled granola bars in my cupboard. Nuts are healthy, right? Each bar contains 1.6 teaspoons of the stuff!

A big impact on health

The sugar producers’ lobby go out of their way to obfuscate findings pertaining to sugar and health. They don’t want you to know that it’s killing you, so they’re vague about sugar’s benefits vs. harms.

Medical science on the other hand, now knows what happens when there is too much sugar in your diet.

Damon Gameau discovers these effects first hand when sugar hits his system. These include weight gain, particularly fat around the middle, elevated triglycerides, foggy thinking, fatigue, hunger, and sugar cravings. The sugar highs and crashes come multiple times a day. Plus, he works with various medical professionals to track his health.

How to fix it

The solution is simple, but it’s not easy. Stop eating sugar. Once Damon ends his sugar binge (a.k.a. normal diet) and goes back to eating how he normally would, he experiences intense sugar withdrawal.

Once that’s over, his weight returns to his previous normal, and his vitality returns.

I give That Sugar Film five stars because this is information that we need to have in order to outsmart the sugar barons and live long, healthy lives. And no, I won’t be buying those granola bars again.

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