Monday, April 1, 2013

documentary review: hungry for change


i'll admit it: i'm a food documentary junkie. and ever since i saw "hungry for change" sitting in the checkout lanes of whole foods, i have been checking netflix obsessively hoping to find it available on instant stream. last week, there it was, sitting pretty in the queue and i didn't hesitant one second to click play!

like most documentaries, "hungry for change" starts out with some startling statements:

  • $60B is spent on diet/weigh loss products each year
  • "we're not eating food, we're eating food like products"

and then two things happen. you either watch the rest of the documentary fearing for your life or you start to become angry with the way the food industry works. in my case, i felt both of these emotions, which isn't a bad thing. i think that's a sign the documentary is doing just what it is intended to do.

the film does a good job on touching on many subjects that fall into the food/diet/healthy category:

  • dieting (why it doesn't work)
  • food addiction (why we're programmed to become addicted to food, specifically sugar)
  • evolution of food and humans (from cave men to city dwellers and how we've adapted or haven't)
  • food labels & deceptiveness
  • comfort foods and emotional eating
  • superficial motivators versus long term
  • detoxing

i watched the film mostly feeling like it was confirming many of the healthy changes i was trying to make. validation is great, and others who are on similar journeys may find many of the messages validating for them as well. i found myself many times throughout the film saying out loud "yes" and "that's totally me" and "that's so true" to many statements. 

while there were plenty of mind-blowing, startling facts throughout the film, there was one that made my heart stop and sink a little bit:

  • diet soda is evil (those are my words, not theirs). the aspartame and caffeine in diet sodas causes addiction. when you drink diet soda, it causes a "buzz" like feeling, but what's happening after that is the excitotoxins from the diet soda actually kill off your brain cells. seriously. i didn't believe this either, especially when they said most pilots are advised not to drink diet sodas because of how dangerous they are! (i googled it, it appears to be true). and - diet sodas can make you fat, even though they have no calories. how so? artificial sweeteners cause carb cravings. diet sodas are made with artificial sweeteners. therefore, when you have diet soda, you are more likely, if not always, going to have carb cravings. in studies, they've found that people who start drinking diet soda, in a couple years, will be fatter than before they started drinking it (similar study). 

i'm not the only one who has googled it!

i wouldn't joke about this diet soda stuff. i love my mcdonald's diet cokes. so this blew my mind, and i'm still not sure how i feel about it.

anyway, i liked this documentary overall. i think it had a lot of good messages and thoughts to ponder that would lead to really good self reflection for the viewers. i know i started reflecting on my habits, what i'm eating, how i think about what i eat, and it was a good gut check to see if i'm on the right path or if i need to readjust some of my behaviors. for that reason, i'd recommend everyone check it out and give it a chance. i think you'll learn a thing or two and will have some new thoughts about your healthy journey after watching!

have you seen "hungry for change"? what were your thoughts? what are your thoughts on food documentaries in general? full of fooey? full of fact?


  1. I'm intrigued about this movie...mostly because as of today, I am relatively certain that I am addicted to chocolate. My plan was to try to have chocolate only 2 days per week for the month of April. I did well at work today...but now I'm home eating Cadbury. I was proud of how well I had done at work, but I just...lost an addict.

  2. They talk about sugar addiction in the movie! You'd probably be interested in it then (sugar = cocaine, in those exact terms). I totally know what you mean by losing it when you get home... I do the same thing!


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