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Way Beyond Weight: Documentary on the world’s obesity problem

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about health lately (mine mostly ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and Fabulously Fru-Girl recently shared a Youtube Video called Sugar the Bitter Truth that draws a rather in-depth and scientific link that sugar is a poison for our bodies.

It’s rather long, I will freely admit that I skipped ahead in some sections where he went all technical because my eyes glazed over and I am no scientist.

It was still really interesting to see the links he drew between sugar and ethanol (poison), and what it does to our bodies.

Also, I’d be really interested in hearing what other scientists (budding or otherwise) in the comments think about what he said in the video because I don’t fully understand the scientific part of what he’s saying.


It was from that video on Youtube that I found this one called Way Beyond Weight, which is just as long, but far more engaging and interesting to watch.

The documentary is about children in Brazil who are obese, and all the health problems they suffer, along with the misinformation and lack of education about health in that country that is causing a lot of this.

It’s about an hour and a half, so you’ll want to watch it all at once on some free night you have (it’s hard to stop it midway).


In case you don’t have time to really watch it immediately, here are a few observations and tidbits I got from the video to give you an idea of the content.


The video opens with Jamie Oliver (love him!), a British chef who is really gung-ho about getting kids to eat better and stop all the processed junk.

He shows a very compelling slide in the beginning that indicates how obesity is the #1 killer in the world (a silent killer), whereas homicides which everyone is so very concerned about, is way at the bottom in comparison.

That slide alone, is worth watching the video for.

Oliver also says that these companies are not entering our homes with guns and rifles, they’re doing it with junk food and sugar.

One doctor mentioned seeing a test of a 9-year old girl, and likening it to being the same result as someone who was 60 years old.


Coca-Cola is a sign that you are rich. If you drink water instead of Coca-Cola, you’re poor.

Some of the obese children are told to bring fruits to school to eat instead of their processed snacks (chips, candy, cookies), but they’re so embarrassed by eating real food that they go to the bathroom to eat the fruit in secret.

Kids even lie to each other when they eat meat, rice and salad instead of processed or fast junk food, because it’s so shameful to eat “poor people’s food”.

It’s kind of ironic to think that we find fruits and vegetables (especially organic produce) so expensive here that it’s only meant for those who are rich, and junk food is associated with people who are poor, yet the opposite is true for those in Brazil.


Formula is just as bad as Coca-Cola if you consider the fat and sugar added (see the first video – Sugar: The Bitter Truth for the nutritional content), but in Brazil they put it in the bottles for their babies because they want their kids to grow up successful.


I was really shocked when I heard this. I had to pause the video to let it absorb in.

They grow up getting used to drinking Coca-Cola as their food, and it’s no wonder they can’t get rid of that habit as they get older and fatter.


In rural areas, the only products that make it there are from companies that have a lot of money and are able to buy a boat and create a ‘floating shop’ that is filled with products that the company sells — chocolate, formula, candy, etc.

No fresh fruits or vegetables.

Their local markets don’t even offer raw food, but Coca-Cola is always well-stocked in those areas. They have to travel a long distance to get any access to fresh food, which is heartbreaking.

I can’t imagine not being able to buy that food without traveling a long distance to get it (or walking that distance).


Hand them a bag of chips and they say:ย Batatas! (Potatoes)

But when you give them a REAL potato, they have no idea what it is, and end up guessing things likeย Avocado, orย Onion. They have no idea what any vegetable or fruit looks like.

Some even moan, cry, throw a fit and lose it if they don’t get chips to eat.

It’s a lack of good parenting in my opinion, but nonetheless, something that is very real for many parents around the world, not just in Brazil.


They keep mentioning in the video the link between watching TV and leading a sedentary lifestyle and obesity, and how many studies have tried hard to disprove this link, but can’t come to a different conclusion.

The more TV you watch, the more obese you are to get.

The problem is that while some mothers would like their kids to go out and play, it isn’t safe for them to wander around outside of their home, even to go to a local schoolyard to play soccer.

They have nothing to do but stay at home, and watch TV. Then their parents hand them a bag of chips, and it’s all over.


There’s this corn chip snack there that is fried corn meal, and one older man says: No trans fats in these chips! That means it’s good for you and does good things for your body.

Another mother says that she thought what she was buying was real juice (less than 10% actual juice in a sugary drink), so she thought what she was giving her kids was good for them.

Overall, it was an excellent documentary to watch, and highly recommended.

I am feeling a lot better about making the decision I did years ago to cut out refined white sugar from my daily habits (the occasional cake and box of macarons makes it in), and now I’m working on drinking tea with no honey at all (v. hard!).



  • Tania

    There are parts of the US too that fresh food is not readily available due to the lack of a proper grocery store in certain city neighborhoods (so they end up buying crap from convenience stores). There are quite a few not-for-profits focused on providing fresh fruits and vegetables to certain areas through community gardens, etc.

    I was once at a family party and a young girl gave her baby coke in the sippy cup the and older women were all over her. It’s shocking to hear this is a common practice elsewhere.

    I’ve started to drink herbal at night before I go to sleep and also after lunch. I have GERD and no longer take medication due to the side effects. The tea makes a huge difference (along with a very light dinner, usually a salad) and I don’t experience any reflux when I remember to do it. The hot water actually helps you digest food quicker (I believe this why hot tea is served with meals in Japan). I’ve never really added anything to my tea before except for the milk tea mixes from Japan that already have a little sugar/cream in the mix. If you need a little something, I do add a little lemon basil to mine sometimes.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Oh that’s interesting that hot water makes you digest food easily. I’ll have to keep that in mind when I eat. I usually like cold things, but this makes sense.

      It is my habit to load my tea with lots of sugar and milk, so getting down to the point where I am at 1/4 tsp of honey with some milk is an achievement for me.

      Thanks for sharing!

  • maria@moneyprinciple

    The answer to your question is: ‘yes, regularly’. And I can probably write a book on exercise (in fact I almost finished one with my trainer) but developed interest in nutrition recently. Yes, sugar (and all that processes as sugar) is poison; very addictive poison at that.

    At the moment I am following a programme (ultra-marathon training) knows as ‘slow burn’ – in a nut shell the trick is to cut out sugar and slow down. Oh, and eat a bit more of the good fats.

  • Michelle

    I am very focused on health and wellness. I also am concerned about food “deserts” in America. Basically, areas where there is no access to grocery stores or fresh fruit and vegetables. I can only speak about the U.S. but, children (and adults) are moving further away from real food. We are so focused on convenience foods, using microwaves, and fast food to feed ourselves that we have begun to lose our relationship with “real” food. It doesn’t surprise me that we are obese and suffering from high rates of diabetes and heart disease. I’m looking forward to watching the videos.

  • Michelle

    This is a good refresher for me (especially the biochem part) because it’s been a few years since I finished studying nutrition. I just loooove anything that has to do with nutrition, so this post made me happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Since I already know this information, I apply it to my life and people that I care about. You know what happens when I say “this isn’t good for you” and start explaining why it’s bad? They continue to eat. They just don’t care, which is frustrating for me. A lot of people don’t care what they eat as long as it taste good. I wish I could make people care about nutrition and their health, but it’s so hard.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I try not to preach to anyone who doesn’t care. To be honest, I could go off for hours.. and hours… but most people don’t want to hear it.

      It’s only if they’re truly interested, that I’ll make an effort to tell them what I’ve found out so far. Otherwise, I’d rather not shove it down their throats… (as is my philosophy with money management).

  • anna

    Coca-Cola is a sign you’re rich – wow, marketing at its finest! I’ll have to watch “Way Beyond Weight,” obesity as a global, and not just national, epidemic is really intriguing. Though, looking back, I do agree that I was raised that processed foods equaled success, as well. I remember my grandparents would have a stockpile of mac and cheese, Spam, and pork and beans, and thinking that all the canned/boxed stuff was the “American dream.” Kinda crazy knowing what we know now!

  • Cassie

    I’m really looking forward to watching these documentaries when I have the time to sit and watch them both. One of my favourite videos on the subject so far has been Jamie Oliver’s TED talk on sugar in schools (I’d wager a guess that’s where the obesity vs. murders chart you talk about came from, because it shows up in that video too). I’ve made a (small) effort to reduce my added sugar intake, but I haven’t done anything about the natural sugars found in fruit and whatnot. I grew up drinking my black tea with milk and sugar, so that’s a hard habit to break. Green tea I take straight. Videos like the second one, showing kids who don’t know what vegetables look like are heart breaking, and remind me that I was fortunate to have grown up on a farm. Meat, fish, eggs, dairy, fruit, veggies, grains, honey and nuts don’t weird me out. When I sit down and think about it, the things that weird me out are the ones that I can’t picture going from field to table. Milk doesn’t weird me out because I’ve had it directly from the cow. Sunny Delight? Even as a kid I couldn’t really wrap my head around it.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Jamie Oliver is just.. FANTASTIC.

      I don’t think his 15-minute meals are realistic, but he sure makes a good point. I think a lot of the screen grabs from his TED talk must be in that video. I’ll have to watch his TED talk.

      I grew up drinking black tea with 3 huge spoonfuls of condensed milk. THAT is a hard habit to break. I had to wean myself down to just sugar and milk, then to just milk and honey, and then cutting back on the honey. 5 years in the changing.

      You grew up luckier than most having lived on a farm. I have never done anything farm-like, which is why it’s all so new to me, but I am well aware that a piece of meat comes from a cow. When people say: I can’t imagine killing a cow!! *nom nom steak steak steak*… I say: You do know where meat comes from right?

      My philosophy is if you can’t comprehend that animals get butchered for meat, then you shouldn’t be eating meat. I used to have whole fish, head and all, so I knew exactly what I was eating.

  • PK

    I could bore you for 90 minutes talking about diet as well, but let me leave you with an executive summary:

    More people die from eating too much (heart disease, diabetes) nowadays than eating too little (nutritional deficiencies, starvation).

    Think just a generation back – did you think that would be the case?

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      My great-grandparents and grandparents had literally nothing to eat. They starved pretty much their entire lives, but they lived until 98.

      Maybe it’s longevity in our genes, but on the other side of my family, they died at around 76, obese, with heart and stomach problems, colon cancer from eating crap and my one grandfather died of diabetes (too much sugar killed him).

      I read about a study once that said it is perhaps that we eat too often and too much that our body gets taxed from processing food all the time, and that causes some of the diseases that we have — e.g. drinking 8 glasses of water a day, going to the bathroom all the time puts a lot of pressure on your bladder to constantly clean out, and like a machine, our organs can only last for so long before giving out from overuse.

      I don’t believe in this 8 glasses of water a day crap – I drink when I’m thirsty and eat fruits and veggies which already have water in them.

      It’s an interesting theory.

      • Michelle

        Orignally, the 8 glasses of water a day is actually 8 cups of water from foods that you eat, not additional 8 cups of water. Someone misread it and spread it to be 8 cups of water. There’s a paper on it, but I’m too lazy to find it. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Helen

    I wonder about my health and Boyfriend’s health all the time. It’s why I made the decision to spend a bit more on groceries to cook meals at home.

    I can bake, so I tend to bake cakes for friends’ birthdays instead of buying them. American-style, frosting-heavy cakes from the supermarket are too sweet anyway. For the odd time where the occasion merits a showy cake, I’ll buy it from an independent European or Japanese pastry shop.

    Given all the literature I’ve read about sugar and obesity, I cut pop out a long time ago, and I don’t miss it. If I feel like something fizzy, I’ll add a splash of lemon juice to carbonated water. I made elderberry syrup and keep it in the fridge, so I’ll add that if I want a hint of sweetness.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I really hate frosting-heavy cakes. When I was a kid, I actually wiped off all the frosting and just ate the cake.

      I also really hate no-bake cheesecakes with Philly cream cheese. Someone made that once with a pre-made pie crust and canned sugary sweet cherries, and I was just so grossed out by everything put together…

      Mmmm.. Japanese pastries. Their cheesecakes are heavenly.

      I’d agree to doing the same thing — adding fruit juice to carbonated water to make my own “drink”. I don’t really like pop that much to begin with, because the fizz hurts my mouth, but it’s refreshing sometimes.

  • Emily @ evolvingPF

    I am very interested in this subject. I watched Sugar: The Bitter Truth quite a while ago so I don’t remember all the details, but I have expended some effort to understand the biochemistry of food (I am getting my PhD in bioengineering). The hormonal theory of weight control definitely makes more sense to me than the caloric theory at this point. I am very concerned about moderating insulin levels. Two years ago I cut my sugar intake to under 15 g/day (the average American eats 180 g/day) (that’s not added sugar, that’s total sugar, and I don’t use alternative sweeteners, either) and I lost 40 lbs and improved my cholesterol. So I can personally attest that this stuff is true!

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      What’s the hormonal theory of weight? Is it based on what he said, as in the excessive sugar levels screw around with your body?

      Caloric theory just means that we take in too many calories (as he pointed out in the video that does jack squat because we can’t burn off all that sugar anyway).

      Wow, 15 grams a day. I don’t count how many grams but that’s about 3.5 teaspoons of white sugar right?

      I put a 1/4 teaspoon of honey in my teas in the morning, and then I eat fruit which can be sugary sometimes (mangoes for instance).

      Sometimes I’ll have cake, macarons or sugary stuff, but it’s not a regular thing with me. I have a history of diabetes so I’m really careful with my sugar intake. I don’t want to lose my legs or my life.

      • Emily @ evolvingPF

        Basically, in terms of weight (read: fat) loss or gain or control in general (a bit different from general health issues but related for many people), it’s not useful to try to control calorie intake and expenditure, mostly because it’s impossible to game your body through that method. If you eat less, you body will simply slow down its basal metabolic rate (which makes calorie expenditure through exercise look insignificant). Your hormones (insulin, chiefly) are what actually control fat storage rates as well as signals for satiety and a whooole bunch of other stuff related to what compels you to eat, stop eating, and your metabolism. So essentially instead of being overly concerned with calories for weight control you should focus on the types of foods that you are eating. There’s lots of different factors to consider but #1 is glucose and insulin. Keeping insulin levels low and not-spiked means eating less carbohydrate and pairing carbohydrate, when you do eat it, with fiber, water, and protein so that you minimize glucose spikes. Sugar is a particularly insidious food component, but overall carbohydrate is also relevant.

        For a person with a family history of diabetes it is imperative to keep insulin levels low and stable by only eating very high quality carbohydrate that provides a lot of nutrition (low-sugar vegetables and fruits, nuts, maaaaaaaaybe very high-fiber grains). I am also concerned about developing diabetes.

        Recommended reading:
        Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
        The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor

        • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

          Thank you so much! I’ll put those books on my list.

          What you’re saying makes sense to me. It sounds more rational than just cutting back on calories, particularly since I’ve clued in that not all calories are the same. A sugar calorie is not a fiber calorie.

          Anyway I don’t really have a problem with weight (super fast metabolism), but I want to be conscious of what I’m eating for my future health. I don’t want to be sick in the last 10 years of my life just from bad decisions I’m making today.

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