“Fed Up” was a hot topic during the Sundance Film Festival this year. The movie exposes how the food industry replaced the fat content in “light” and “low fat” food items with sugar. Medical experts and powerful newsmakers also expose the relationship between the food industry and the US government.
One of the facts that caught my attention is the time frame during which the shift from fat to sugar began: in the late 70’s. In the early 80’s the benefits of water fluoridation reached a plateau. Dentists assumed at the time that the plateau indicated the limitations of water fluoridation. But knowing that the frequency of carbohydrates consumption leads to an increase in numbers of acidogenic bacteria, I am now thinking that the fluoride added to community water supplies was no longer able to cope with the new challenge. Today, while many parents consider cereals a healthy way to start the day, most breakfast cereals contain so much sugar, they should be labelled as dessert.
Another fact that shocked me was that the World Health Organization’s recommendation from 2002, that sugars should make up less than 10% of total energy intake per day was not only silenced by the food industry, but increased to 25%.
The film follows the lives of a group of obese children over the course of two years as they diet and exercise in an effort to become healthier. Some scenes are heart breaking. Interestingly though, there is not a single mention of the caries or early childhood caries epidemic. Nothing new here. Oral health is seldom included in total health. But what if dentists could reverse this state of things? Are dentists Fed Up enough of being left out of the health equation to do something about it? Are we ready to take a stand against sugar to finally connect the mouth to the rest of the body?
Fed Up opens in theatres across United States on May the 9th. An eye opener on what is making America so sick, caries not included. Dentists, see the movie, support the WHO’s recommendations regarding maximum daily sugar intake and embrace the FDI’s vision of oral health as the foundation to overall health.