Australian director Damon Gameua was a fit man before he took on a task many probably thought would have increased his health and wellbeing.
Instead, he received an unsettling warning from his GP, experienced dire mood swings and weight gain after taking on the low-fat, high-sugar health food diet for 60 days.
“I had no soft drink, chocolate, ice cream or confectionery,” Gameau told Yahoo of his project That Sugar Film – a sort of reverse documentary version of Morgan Spurlock’s famed Super Size Me, in which he eats nothing but MacDonald’s.
“All the sugars that I was eating were found in perceived healthy foods, so low-fat yogurts, and muesli bars, and cereals, and fruit juices, sports drinks... These kind of things that often parents would give their kids thinking they’re doing the right thing.”
Except within just three weeks, Gameau’s doctor told him he had already begun to develop fatty liver disease – the most severe of outcomes of which is liver failure. The physician also branded his level of mental functioning “unstable”.
According to News.com.au, Gameau consumed 40 teaspoons of sugar a day on average – slightly more of that of the average teenager worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that a healthy adult should aim to include no more than 25grams of sugar a day, or six teaspoons.
Far from the giant Big Mac burger of Spurlock’s final meal, Gameau’s last dish of the project was more akin to that of a child’s school lunchbox – a jam sandwich, fruit juice, a biscuit bar and a handful of snacks.
“They are making an effort yet are horribly let down by the lack of integrity in marketing and packaging strategies.”
However, he went on to explain that findings of his experiment didn’t suggest we needed to cut sugar completely from our diets, but rather be more aware of where it has been added.
“Sugar’s now in 80 per cent of the processed food we’re eating,” he said. “If we can remove that, that’s the first step towards making a change.”
As well as the immediate health effects of consuming excess sugar, links between sugar and a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease – one of the leading causes of death in the UK – and type 2 diabetes also exist.
That Sugar Film, which also features appearances from Stephen Fry and model Isabel Lucas, will be released in Australia in February 2015.
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