It feels a bit strange to review a film that I have not watched but I expect some readers might be able to get hold of a copy. “That Sugar Film” is a recently released documentary made by Australian Damon Gameau. Apart from receiving rave reviews, the film’s main claim to fame has been that The All Blacks Rugby team named it as one of the factors contributing to their winning the rugby world cup earlier this year.
As is obvious from the title, the film is about the health problems relating to over-consumption of sugar. Gameau documents his physical and emotional change during two months of conscientiously consuming 40 teaspoons of sugar a day – the amount eaten by the average Australian. Interestingly instead of consuming sweets and sodas, Gameau decides to consume only products which claim to be healthy, such as fruit drinks, yoghurts and cereals. He does this in order to highlight the hidden sugars in many so-called health products.
Prior to making the film Gameau had not eaten sugar for two years, which made the experiment a plausible way to measure the impacts of sugar on his body. During the two month period, the changes to his body were measured by a doctor and he also reports on the mental changes which he goes through.
Although not exactly scientifically sound, the results of the two month sugar binge are enough to make anyone want to cut down on sugar if not give it up all together. After two weeks, Gameau starts to develop fatty liver disease and by the end of the stint is showing signs of Type 2 diabetes. In addition he experiences alarming changes to his mental state. One of the most interesting things for me about the experiment is that although Gameau eats the same number of calories each day during his sugar experiment as he did before the film, he puts on 6.8kg mostly around his middle.
Film review website Rotten Tomatoes calls the documentary “slick and entertaining” and it is enhanced by visual gimmicks such as Gameau “shrinking “ to travel inside his body to take a look at what is going on in there. During the film Gameau also travels across the USA and Australia visiting places where sugar has had shocking impacts including a town where soda consumption has caused horrific tooth decay and an aboriginal community of 350 people which consumes 40,000 litres of soft drinks a year.
Currently the film is only available in Australia and New Zealand but if anyone has a way of getting a copy let us know!