That Sugar Film, film review: Exposing the link between sugar and chronic diseases

(12A) Damon Gameau, 100 mins
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The Independent Culture

Sugar makes you fat. That, predictably, is what the young Australian film-maker Damon Gameau discovers for himself from his own expanding midriff in this engaging, Super Size Me-style doc. He is about to become a father and wants to explore the effect fructose and sugar has on human health. He therefore makes himself the subject of his experiment, which is to eat the equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar every day for 60 days.

There is no ice cream, fizzy drinks or chocolate in his diet. The sugar comes from supposedly healthy foods and drinks such as baked beans, yoghurts, granola bars and fruit juices. Inevitably, his weight soars, his health declines and he becomes increasingly dependent on his sugar rush.

Gameau gradually expands the discussion, looking at the effect processed sugar is having on Aboriginal communities in Australia and, finally, visiting the US. There, rotting teeth, heart disease, obesity and diabetes are all on the increase. The big food manufacturers are ingenious and ruthless in the way they protect their market share. He portrays them as the equivalent of the big tobacco companies. With the global sugar business worth billions, it is little surprise that the industry goes to such extreme lengths to conceal the link between sugar and chronic diseases.