I got caught up watching this on HBO on demand the other morning when I was up really early and couldn't sleep.
I found it interesting despite it being mostly the same old same old kinda thing. I mean I guess at *least* they talked about getting away from the mass produced and processed foods that are shoved in our faces.
And I heard more than one person say something about our DNA hasn't changed in x number of years so it's obviously this horrible food we're eating (or something to that effect). But of course nobody said we shouldn't be eating grains and such. I heard someone say also (who was being interviewed) their doctor told them to "go brown" - meaning switch to brown rice, whole wheat pasta, wheat bread, etc. Instead of just cutting it out of your life.
I watched all 4 parts of Weight of the Nation over the weekend because they happened to be on some weird Blockbuster channel I get.
I found the documentaries interesting. To me, it felt like they kept circling around the idea that grains really aren't great for you and that it's the addition of all these processed foods into our diet that has caused the whole obesity epidemic, yet they wouldn't just come right out and say that grains are bad. I don't remember which part it was in, but in one of the segments they were talking about how grain subsidies are not good for our nation as far as obesity/health go because they basically cause the wrong foods to be cheap. They showed a group of independent farmers talking about how there are no subsidies or benefits at all to growing vegetables, yet they could guarantee a certain income if they were to grow grains instead because the government would subsidize them and also buy their crop insurance in case there is a bad year. To me, all of that points pretty clearly at grains being the biggest problem. Yet, several people in the documentary still spouted the whole "healthy whole grains" line that makes me cringe.
I liked the part where they were talking about the cost of food vs. the cost of health care. One expert said that he wishes food were more expensive, not because he wanted things to be harder for families, but because in the end, we pay anyway for eating a diet full of cheap processed crap. The only difference is do we pay more for our food now and eat healthy, unprocessed foods, or do we pay more later in the form of diabetes medication and other healthcare costs. If more people thought that way, they probably wouldn't consider the 4 boxes of cereal for $10 to be such a bargain.
Overall, I think that anything that gets more people to really think about their health and the consequences of the foods they're eating is a good thing. It is a shame there was so much CW nonsense in there. I got pretty annoyed at the doctor who said that statins are PROVEN to reduce incidence of heart disease. That's just untrue and it's sad that so many doctors believe that we should be using drugs like that and recommend that as a first course of action. I was also annoyed at the whole "a calorie is a calorie" part and at how they kept saying to avoid foods with saturated fat and cholesterol, regardless of the source.
Saw a few parts already. Not impressed at all, especially after going Primal.
Same old CW and a couple of red flags. Sponsored by the NIH and Kaiser Permanente was the first. The second was that "heart healthy" stalk of wheat as their symbol for the documentary. I saw one mom getting emotional and perplexed at the same time wondering why her daughter was obese at 14. Suddenly the camera pans over to their dinner table, teeming with "fishbowl" size plates of spaghetti, french bread and sodas. After this shot she's literally saying to the interviewer " I have no clue why this is happening to my girl?" Hmmm, interesting???
To me it just looked like a plug for medical technology, big pharma and famous doctors. They were the centerpiece or the portrait, if you will. Obesity and its victims were only the frame.
There were a few things that really caught my attention in the doco...
When the older couple with the gentleman with an amputated leg are interviewed in the second episode, the wife tells how she has now realised that they "...should not have been eating all that steak and roast, chicken and fish are just fine...", it brings home how totally confused people are about nutrition. Even if one did not eat primal, anybody who knows their nutrition will know that there is hardly enough macro-nutritional difference between steak and chicken to be the differentiating factor between being obese and not being obese.
I also noticed how the "non-expert" people interviewed regularly made references to making "bad choices" with food, or the necessity of making "better choices" with obviously meaning that they should choose according to the perceived conventional wisdom, without ever stopping to as much as think WHAT the CV is, and what is it that they really know.
Lastly, it really pisses me off that for everything nowadays one has to parade out expert after expert that testify that the problem and fault is really your genes... I choose to eat crap food in enormous quantities and get fat, but not to worry - it is not my fault... it's the genes, it's the government, it's the big pharma, it's SOMEBODY ELSE.... Can't be MY fault. There, got that off my chest.
I saw all four parts.
It was important to me that my parents (especially dad who is on the brink of being diabetic if he doesn't shape up). It sort of upset me to see how even though he appeared to agree with all the program said he still went out today and bought Pepsi, chocolate, and snacks and he continues to wolf down his meals, only eating deep-fried food, as if out of spite. This is the case when even armed with a ton of information, some people will not change until something inside them clicks and they want to change.
In 2007 I weighed 195. I was floored. I'd never weighed that much in my whole life (or at least not to my knowledge.) My body type has always been rather wide and thick since I was an elementary student (though as a younger child I was a nice build and wasn't overweight.) So I thought that this was how I was made. Nonetheless I was shocked into making better choices. I cut down on soda (and a few years later quit it completely) switched ice cream for yogurt and did a lot of the CW methods for weight loss. It worked. So I'm not going to condemn the documentary. It's a step in the right direction.
But I do see how it can still continue to carry a torch for unhealthy choices and habits. Yes, a lot of food has been engineered and created to make us hungry and addicted. And no, depending on your situation it's not an easy thing to avoid these bad foods. Still, when people do have choices and they don't decide to do something different and more beneficial it is on them. It was on me. I blindly ate sweets and drank soda more than once a day. And just by making changes I dropped the weight.
It'd be nice to eventually see a documentary on Primal/Paleo.