Listen to Damon’s episode of ‘The Playlist’
(Apologies for the audio quality during the phone call)
The ‘Fat vs Sugar’ debate is decades old, but That Sugar Film was one of the first films to raise the alarm about the dangers of hidden sugars that are present within supposedly ‘healthy’ meal options.
It all started when actor Damon Gameau set out to test a theory that ‘low-fat’ foods were doing more harm than good, and were in fact contributing to a crisis in public health.
With the support and involvement of his pregnant wife, Zoe Tuckwell-Smith, Damon consulted a team of nutritionists, doctors, and therapists, and embarked upon a 60-day diet of ‘healthy’-branded, low-fat foods and drinks. Under the plan, his daily consumption of sugar would be the equivalent of an adolescent male’s intake of up to 40 teaspoons.
As we see for ourselves, it doesn’t go so well. A couple of weeks in, Damon’s not looking great, and a few weeks later still, the (usually) thin expectant dad observes that “my belly is chasing my lady’s”.
The dramatic changes in his body and his mood over the course of two months are shocking, considering he’s eating things like muesli bars, low fat milk and cereals. The experts express fears for his liver, and Damon travels to the US to show the extreme effects of sugar on the mouths of kids reared on soft drink.
A couple of years on from its successful cinema run, That Sugar Film has now come to SBS. It premiered on SBS at 8.30pm on Sunday April 2 and is now available at SBS On Demand (see link below).
Damon joined Nick Bhasin and Fiona Williams on The Playlist to talk about the experiment that has changed his life. He was in friendly company, given Nick is a no-sugar convert who has documented his own journey towards eliminating the sweet stuff from his diet. Bread lover Fiona is doing her best to cut back, too. She's avoided chocolate since January and is incorporating more zucchini into her diet than she’d thought possible. But even so, Fiona expressed alarm at spotting controversial figure, David “Avocado” Wolfe, popping up several times as one of Damon’s “experts”.
Wolfe is a nutritionist who found fame and fortune as an inventor of the Nutribullet blender, but he has subsequently become a prominent figure in the anti-vaccination movement, as well as being a controversial conspiracy theorist. Just last month a planned event during Wolfe's Australian tour was cancelled after community groups lobbied Marrickville Council.
In the episode, which you can hear in full below, Fiona asks Damon how he found and vetted his experts. In their exchange (at the 15:11 minute mark), it’s clear how disappointed Damon is about discovering that his own film about hidden dangers ended up having its own, in one of his experts. He assures Fiona that Wolfe’s provocative views only came to light long after the film was completed.
Damon: “I terms of finding the experts, there’s one in particular. In hindsight, things changed changed over the last five years since we first had him in the film...”
Fiona: “..I think i know who you’re talking about…”
Damon: “...It’s really disappointing. Oh, it’s just so frustrating, you know? Often, I get someone asking, Oh why is so and so in the film? And I go, ‘It wasn’t like that five years ago!”
In a clear-cut case of ‘If I’d known then what I know now..”, Damon goes on to say he’d recut the film to eliminate Wolfe if he had the chance, but that he absolutely stands by the film as a whole. The experiment has been life-changing for him, and he has put acting on the backburner as the film continues to rollout around the world (French and Russian audiences will see the film soon), and he embarks on a new film about efforts being undertaken today to make the world a better place in 2040.
Watch 'That Sugar Film' at SBS On Demand
SBS Australia, Sunday 18 March, 8.30pm
SBS On Demand after broadcast
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