That Sugar Film Review

Damon Gameau ‘Sprulocks’ the effect of the hidden sugar many of us consume in his debut documentary That Sugar Film.

Gameau takes his healthy no sugar diet and flips it to starts to eat like an ‘average Australian’. He commits to consuming around 40 teaspoons of sugar a day. Most disturbingly he’s not eating junk food, but instead eats supposedly healthy food, snacks and drinks. He also must maintain the same level of exercise.

His journey takes him to the US where he quizzes various experts about the impacts of sugar. Many damning insights emerge, including the food industries and their ‘health food claims’. Most shocking, I found, was the 17 year old who was to lose nearly all his teeth due to an addiction to Mountain Dew. Then there’s an Aboriginal community suffering obesity and early mortality attributed to sugar drinks.

However, Gameau was not drinking soft drinks or scoffing chocolate, he was drinking smoothies and eating cereal and low fat yoghurt!

The results are worse than expected, in only two months Gameau gained 10cm of belly fat, and a risk of liver disease and coronary problems. All this from eating food promoted as ‘healthy’ on the supermarket shelves. Definite food for thought.

Despite some extra star power from cameos from Stephen Fry and Hugh Jackman, Gameau does not quite create a ‘Super Size Me’. Maybe it’s due to the format having been used a few times, or maybe there’s too many gimmicks used in the film, or maybe I just didn’t feel the emotion around his motivation to make this project?

There are some shocking and interesting insights in this film, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite hit the sweet spot.

 That Sugar Film is on at NZ International Film Festival Autumn Events 16 & 19 April.

Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar

3 stars