I saw Super Size Me about five or six years ago. It got a lot of press back in 2004 when it was released. I think it is a great documentary that explores the effects of the fast food industry on the American diet and its corporate influence. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
For purposes of the documentary, the film maker Morgan Spurlock, went on a strict fast food diet for 30 days. He ate three meals a day at McDonlad’s and tried every item on their menu at least once. If he was offered the “super-size” option for his meal he was required to take it. At the beginning of the experiment he was checked out by physicians and was told he was in good physical shape. No red flags or health concerns at all.
During the course of the 30 days, you as the viewer see the deterioration of Morgan’s physical and mental well being. It was almost painful to watch the healthy guy from the beginning of the movie go through the process as you could see how it was negatively affecting him. The doctors who were monitoring him as well as his vegan girlfriend (go figure) all urged him to stop the experiment. He did stop at the end of the month. At that point he had gained almost 25 pounds, had an unhealthy rise in his cholesterol and experienced psychological and sexual side effects. In the end it took him 14 months to loose the weight that he gained in those 30 days.
I found the film to be insightful and quite eye opening. I cannot say I was ever a great fan of fast food, but after watching this movie anyone would think twice about going through that drive through again.
Food is my passion. In addition to loving to cook, I also love to learn all about food. I am interested in where it comes from, its nutritional value, the best foods to eat, the worst foods to eat, how food is processed in your body, etc. I read books about food (not just cookbooks) and I watch movies about food. I have seen a few documentaries about food related topics and they have been very informative and interesting. Food Inc. is probably the most powerful movie about food that I have ever seen.
I must give a disclaimer – this movie is not for the faint of heart. You do see animals being slaughtered as a food source. It is very graphic. If you think this may be an issue for you please do not watch this movie.
That being said, if you can get through those scenes this movie provides an eye opening look at America’s food industry. It highlights the corporate controlled food chain that is blessed by the USDA and FDA, the very entities that are supposed to police our food supply. There are some great interviews with food experts and refreshing interviews with some forward thinking people of the industry. In addition to the interviews, you go behind the scenes of the American chicken, beef and pork industry. This is where things get ugly (literally). I admit to having a hard time eating meat after watching this movie. I have a friend who stopped eating meat all together after watching it.
Not only does the movie highlight the meat industry it also takes a look at the agriculture produced in the U.S of A and the lengths food producers go to in order to lengthen the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Harmful E.coli and listeria bacterias are on the rise with tens of thousands of people getting sick or dying from these strains every year. There is also our environment to think about and the sustainability of our food sources. This movie draws attention to all of these topics in a very insightful manner.
I am by no means advocating becoming a vegetarian or buying only organic products. However, I do believe that it is important to know where your food comes from so that you can make informed decisions on the products you buy, such as buying select organic ingredients or free-range grass fed meats. This is the food we feed ourselves and give to our children. Knowledge is power and having the public further scrutinize our food industry cannot be a bad thing.