One of the movies I saw a few years ago that got my attention about food matters was the popular Supersize Me, in which movie maker Morgan Spurlock challenges himself to eat only McDonald’s food for one month. And, to make matters more interesting, he makes it a rule to always say “yes” when they offer to supersize the meal.
If you haven’t yet seen it, give it a watch. It’s available on Netflix. Yes, he gains a lot of weight and his health takes a nosedive. But I won’t spoil all the details of the fun. I will just say that you can guess a lot of what happened and what sorts of conclusions he draws from this exercise.
Last night we watched Fat Head, which was made a few years later and, to my surprise, was a full frontal assault on Supersize Me. You might even consider it a reaction to Supersize Me.
Computer programmer Tom Naughton, who made this self-financed film, not only tears apart several of the core ideas in Supersize Me, he shows you how to go on a fast food diet and actually lose weight (and get healthier). You probably won’t be surprised to learn that a core tenant of this diet is carbohydrate restriction (100 grams or less per day).
But beyond making fun of Supersize Me and showing how some common sense can make you thinner without even considering the quality of the food involved, Tom does a lot more than that in this enlightening and entertaining film. He covers a lot of the history of how modern dietary recommendations and policy came to be, the story of the lipid hypothesis, what cholesterol is and what it actually does in your body (and some of the myths surrounding it), and how low-fat high-carb diets often lead to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and eventually diabetes.
Impressively, he interviews some of the foremost writers and doctors who are working to educate people about the connection between diet and health and reverse the damage done by the low-fat dogma that brought us wonderful man-made “food” product like margarine and trans-fats. Included in the film are notables like Protein Power authors Mary Eades and Michael Eades, Sally Fallon, Mary Enig, and others. It was good to see some of the same authors I’ve read in the last few years appearing to summarize a lot of what’s wrong with so much of what we’ve traditionally been told.
The Fat Head blog is good reading too.
This is definitely a good movie to show to people who may be looking at your low-carb diet and finding it hard to believe you’re doing something healthy. It never gets too far into the science or medicine and there’s enough humor and entertainment throughout that it’s not nearly as “preachy” as a movie like this could be.
I like this guy.