That Sugar Film is a provocative documentary by Underbelly actor and former Tropfest winner, Damon Gameau. It nods at Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me (by turning one healthy man’s body into a vessel for an experiment) and shares the entertaining, stunt documentary style that Michael Moore favours.
Gameau begins as the pillar of health and has been sugar-free for some time. With his girlfriend Zoe Tuckwell-Smith expecting their first child, Gameau is prompted to think about the effects of sugar, assembling a team of experts including a doctor and nutritionist.
The goal is to measure and track Gameau as he consumes 40 teaspoons of sugar a day. This is 31 teaspoons more than the recommended intake for men in America and the average amount that teenagers consume. Gameau restricts his diet to so-called ‘healthy’ foods like cereal, juices and low-fat yoghurts. The results are shocking, as the extreme diet takes a toll on Gameau’s health and mental state.
Along the way, the origins of sugar are explained, as is the point when doctors first suspected the links between sugar and various ailments. Gameau also visits a remote Aboriginal community with high incidences of Type 2 diabetes and obesity, as well as an American town where children occasionally have mouths full of rotten teeth from drinking too much Mountain Dew.
The story is told in a convincing and entertaining manner. Talking head interviews are edited so that the experts appear superimposed on food packaging. It’s a visually appealing touch, though it does dilute the message somewhat, as it is difficult to see the individuals’ credentials.
That Sugar Film features cameos from Stephen Fry and Isabel Lucas (Hugh Jackman also appears but is uncredited). Ultimately, it’s an informative and challenging documentary that offers lots of food for thought in a colourful package. The finale is rather silly and unnecessary, but for the most part this film will force people to rethink some of their choices.
Originally published on 16 February 2015 at the following website: http://thebrag.com/arts/sugar-film
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