That Sugar Film (2015) [Review]


Australian debut documentarian Damon Gameau decides to do his own version of Super-Size Me, but with Sugar. One of the latest in a long chain of food based documentaries, intended to educate the uneducated, and inform the misinformed, he opens the lid on refined sugars and where they are hidden in your food.

The national average in Australia with regards to sugar consumption is 40 teaspoons a day, and it is his task to eat the national average for a solid two months. This would be easy if he just sat and ate tubs of ice-cream, but to emphasise even further just how hidden these sugars are, he can only eat foods that are perceived to be or marketed as “Healthy”. Having given up refined sugar 3 years prior to the film, in a bid to get himself healthy but also convince the girl of his dreams that he wasn’t a junk food eating slob, this documentary will be an even bigger shock to his system as we later find out.

It is a smart documentary, with some clever visuals but it appears more as one you would show at school than one you would try to learn from as an adult. That being said, it’s all relative to how much you already know. Perhaps this was designed with schools in mind, to educate kids on the food they are putting into their system – but there is something to take from this irrespective of visuals.

By the end of the documentary Damon is in a world of hurt; physically, emotionally and psychologically. With documentaries like these you have to take in account the context, that he was aiming to eat that much sugar each day, but surely the fact that he only opted for what was perceived to be a healthy diet, and still hit that threshold very easily has to be a cause for alarm? Backed further by the declining of interviews by the sugar culprits, it only goes to strengthen his case that the sugar is being hidden.

It is not slanderous or defamatory, it’s not filled with emotional pleas or jaded, bitter views of the world we live in. It’s just facts. It’s a fact that the body isn’t designed to digest just the juice of 8 apples rather than just eat 1, and it’s a fact that the food you are eating contains that much sugar – perfectly illustrated when he substitutes healthy breakfast cereals, biscuits meals, for plainer versions but with the sugar included instead (e.g. Bran Flakes with 10 teaspoons of sugar in it, or plain chicken breast with 5 teaspoons of sugar on it).

If you’re looking for a reason to change your diet, this is a perfect accompaniment to Fed Up. 3 hours of your time (across both docs) could change your life.

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