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Movie: Supersize Me

The other night Suz and I watched Supersize Me. It was more interesting than I expected. If you haven't seen it, basically the movie tracks a healthy young man (Morgan Spurlock) who decides to experiment on himself by eating only McDonald's food for an entire month. His girlfriend is a vegan chef, so he normally eats mainly vegetables. But it becomes apparent that part of his motivation is a certain relish for big greasy burgers.

He has several doctors and a nutritionist tracking his "progress". During the month he gains 27 pounds (or something like that), his triglycerides and cholesterol leap upward, his liver enzymes show progression toward NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), and he starts having chest pain and some compromise to his sex life. All from one month of eating a high fat, high corn syrup diet. Each of his doctors advises him midway to cease from the experiment, because it is doing him more harm than they anticipated, but he completes it.

It takes him 5 months to regain his former weight. I wonder if he will be able to reverse the damages to his arteries--the deposition of fatty streaks and placques that occur during hyperlipidemic periods do not simply go away when you change your diet. He may have done himself permanent harm.

Another interesting item from Supersize Me was a conversation comparing cigarette smoking to overeating. The point was made that it is socially OK for people to harangue a smoker about the habit. Friends will bug friends about it, calling cigarettes "cancer sticks" or "coffin nails" and being explicit about how it will kill you. The smokers will mostly admit that they know how bad it is, and talk about their various efforts to quit.

Such caring confrontations are not permitted with obese people. You may sit at a table with an obese person and observe them eating four times the necessary calories, or a preponderance of the worst kinds of fats and sugars, but you are not permitted to say anything about their dietary choices being disastrously dangerous. It's taboo. If you do speak up, they will be offended. The fact that they are committing slow motion hari kari before your eyes is supposed to be politely ignored, like the alcoholic's drink in a paper cup... Like the legendary livingroom-filling pink elephant in any family system based on denial.

How long will it be before this conversation is permitted? How long will so many obese people hide behind supposed medical issues when the real issue is a compulsive imbalance between intake and output? I don't know. I guess I will be one of those offensive people who talks about it while it is still taboo. It was nice to see a movie in which others voice the taboo truth.

There are lots of other interesting points in the movie. One that was particularly striking to me is the marketing strategy of creating good experiences for children (playgrounds, toys, special "meals") in order to build an unconscious brand-loyalty in those individuals later. All in all this movie is well worth seeing. I give it a 5/5.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
1bigguy
Mar. 30th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
I absolutely agree with your rating of this movie! I was stunned when I watched it at how quickly his body deteriorated.

Should be mandatory viewing.
neptunia67
Mar. 30th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
I watched this a few years ago. I was already on the no-processed-foods bandwagon but the movie was an eye opener as to just HOW dangerous that highly processed food is.

My sister and her family just watched it last week and they talked about it a lot this weekend. It was a real eye opener for them and I hope it helps them change some habits.
liveonearth
Mar. 30th, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
That's awesome that they watched it. I think movies like this are an excellent way to stimulate thought and discussion in people who were previously unwilling to face the questions.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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