That Sugar Film

By Carolyn Enting

That Sugar Film
Stephen Fry and Hugh Jackman help Damon Gameau tell the story of sugar in That Sugar Film.

You know it’s a good film when 1. It sticks with you for days, weeks afterwards. 2. You tell everyone about it and that they should see it. 3. It has an impact on your life and way of thinking.

That Sugar Film ticks those boxes and if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you do. Gosh, there I go again.

Yes, sugar has been getting a bad rap lately. There have been numerous documentaries about it as well as articles and books written about it. Yet That Sugar Film offers something a bit different. For starters it’s highly entertaining. It also breaks down the facts about sugar (visually and orally thanks to cameos from Stephen Fry and Hugh Jackman) in a way that just makes sense.

The film follows the personal journey of Australian actor Damon Gameau (who also wrote and directed the film) who swaps his healthy balanced diet of whole foods for a diet of commonly perceived “healthy foods” for 60 days. We’re talking about items in the supermarket that often come with healthy labels or claims that misled you into thinking that you are doing your body a favour if you consume them. But yes, you guessed it, laden with hidden sugars.

Gameau sets his dietary daily limit to an equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day. Day one begins with museli and yoghurt for breakfast washed down with a glass of apple juice. When he works out the sugar content of his first meal, he gets a huge shock, and so does the audience – 20 teaspoons of sugar! Keeping under 40 teaspoons of sugar a day is going to be a challenge.

And here’s the catch. Gameau does not drink soft drinks or eat takeaways, chocolate, ice cream or confectionery during his 60-day experiment. He also exercises. As he eats (and lists) the “healthy foods” cries of horror echo around the cinema as people recognise foods they have in the pantry, me included.

During the experiment Gameau gains almost 9kgs around his stomach, and a fatty liver. What is heartening is that when he returns to a diet of whole foods after the experiment he loses the weight and his liver returns to normal. But it’s shocking for him, and us (the viewers) that the calorie intake was the same, but with such different results in terms of how the body processes the food.

What is great about this film is that it investigates how sugar has infiltrated our diet and culture, what it is doing to our health and how we can develop an arm’s length relationship with it. In sweeping away the illusions and clarifying the facts about sugar, the film aims to educate and create long lasting dietary change both in Australia and internationally.

It’s already having the desired affect in our household!

In cinemas now.


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