Movie Review: “Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying To Eat”


Review by James McDonald

This film explores the exploding diabetes epidemic and the misconception that diabetes is either hereditary and it’s not your fault, or you eat junk food like it’s going out of style and you end up diabetic.

Not too long ago, I reviewed a documentary that Katie Couric produced called “Fed Up”, a film about childhood obesity. “Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat” takes it one step further and investigates why children are succumbing to and being diagnosed with adult onset diabetes as young as eight years old. For the longest time, diabetes was a disease that was thought to be either hereditary or was contracted by eating an overabundance of junk food. This film explores exactly how and why more and more people are acquiring this deadly condition and in many cases, through no fault of their own.

Research shows that by the year 2050, one in three people will be diabetic while every one in two people will be obese, not overweight, obese. Naturally, the obesity epidemic we are currently experiencing is fueling the number of people diagnosed with diabetes which, in turn, can then lead to other ailments such as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, foot amputations and premature deaths, to name but a few. Many people associate diabetes with obesity but that is not always the case. A lot of people, especially those who eat healthy and exercise regularly, are being diagnosed with diabetes so what can we, as a nation, do to combat this disease?

One of the many simple solutions is also one of the most difficult for many people: portion sizes. Today, we seem to be eating more food than ever before, especially when we eat out at restaurants. Years ago, you could order a burger, fries and a drink but today, while you can still place that same order, you now have the option of different portion sizes; small, medium, large and extra large and when given this seemingly simple choice, the majority of people go for the large. We see commercials on TV where plate portions of burgers and chicken and pasta are huge but to us, they are normal because we have been eating this way for so long.

If you were to go back at least twenty years, you would see a big difference in the food servings of then and today and on top of that, scientists have proven that when a woman eats junk food while pregnant, her baby can literally acquire a taste for that same food so in essence, we are one generation away from children who will have an appetite for junk food before they are even born. Apparently, there seems to be no one simple answer to combat diabetes although exercising and healthier eating is a good way to start. Some people have it and some will inherit it, either through an unhealthy lifestyle or genetically but once it’s there, a person can concentrate on managing their blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible, without causing hypoglycemia.

“Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat” is highly recommended and required viewing but it also comes on the heels of the aforementioned Katie Couric-produced “Fed Up”, another documentary which chronicled childhood obesity and diabetes and I feel, sadly, because that film had some big names and funding attached to it, that this film will live in its shadow and not be able to break away which is a pity because it is just as, if not more informative and more in-depth, than that show. I hope I am wrong. Definitely worth a look.

In select theaters September 27th

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James McDonald
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