May 23, 2011

Movie Monday: Fat Head

I admit, I was not one of the people who drooled all over "Super Size Me" when it came out. I never even saw it. The premise struck me as stupid. A guy pigs out on fast food for a month and has adverse effects on his health? Stop the presses!

Fat Head is a response piece to Super Size Me. Rather than defending going whole-hog on junk food, Fat Head looks at some of the claims of Super Size Me and dissects the claims objectively.

One of my favorite aspects was the discussion about government control versus personal responsibility. The Super Size Me/Michelle Obama approach of regulating food choices versus letting anyone willing open any kind of restaurant or food service organization they want, and allowing people to make their own decisions. It also shows the history of how the government arrived at its current dietary recommendations - which surprised but didn't shock me.

Now, unlike some of the doctors he interviews, I don't think there's some major conspiracy between the agricultural community and the federal government. Farmers are trying to make a living like anyone else. However, like most government evils, some well-intentioned but misguided legislation has had 40 years to take its toll on the American food industry, and Fat Head shows how this has more to do with the current state of American health than Ronald McDonald.

I also don't think the "War on Obesity" (which is a term I abhor) is racially motivated, and I don't think he really does either. But it was an odd connection to make. (That is, he says that since there are more "minorities" in the US than there used to be, and non-Anglo body types are genetically predisposed to be more full, that the current standards like the BMI index are inherently slanted against non-Anglos. Interesting idea, but I don't really buy into it.)

Fat Head was informative, humorous, and not crude, which I appreciated. It gave me a lot to think about, both for my personal lifestyle as well as public policy.

Did you watch this week's documentary? What did you think?

Honorable Mention: Eyes of the Mothman. If you saw the movie "The Mothman Prophecies" or like Unsolved Mysteries, you'll enjoy this slightly creepy documentary about an otherworldly creature that has been terrorizing a small West Virginia community for 50 years.

Next Week: The Pixar Story


  1. I didn't watch the movie but it sounds interesting! I can't believe you mentioned the Mothman...I randomly thought about it yesterday and this morning watched an episode of Paranormal State where they were hunting it, and now you mention it in your blog?!! Should I be freaked out!?

    P.S. I love McDonalds.

  2. Interesting...I might have to check this out. I'm always up for a hard look at social policy, especially if it involves food. I like food. :)

  3. Interesting! I don't even think I've heard of this documentary but I feel the same way as you about Super Size Me. No matter what someone was eating (even if it was whole grains, fruits, and veggies) if they purposefully didn't exercise at all and purposefully tripled their calorie intake, they would gain weight. But I guess that doesn't make as good of a story as blaming McDonald's ; )

  4. I watched Fat Head about a month ago. It was really interesting. I think some of the doctors he interviewed were a little on the extreme side, but it did make me think about the amount of carbs and sugar I'm eating. I wish he would've made it more clear that he upped his exercise from walking a few days a week to walking 5-6 days a week when he started his "fast food diet." Increasing your exercise can make a difference regardless of your diet. Overall I liked it though, it was thought provoking.

  5. I didn't watch Super Size Me either. I haven't seen this one yet but it looks interesting.

  6. This sounds interesting. I had to watch Super Size Me in my nutrition class, I'm curious how this one compares.

  7. I haven't seen either one! Admittedly I didn't even know this one existed. I wonder if they have them at the library on post...

  8. I watched it! And blogged about it, with a link back to your blog.


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