Fed Up (film)

Fed Up is a 2014 American documentary film directed, written and produced by Stephanie Soechtig.[1] The film focuses on the causes of obesity in the US, presenting evidence showing that the large quantities of sugar in processed foods are an overlooked root of the problem, and points to the monied lobbying power of "Big Sugar" in blocking attempts to enact policies to address the issue.[2][3][4][5]

Fed Up
Fed Up poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byStephanie Soechtig
Produced byLaurie David
Katie Couric
Stephanie Soechtig
Sarah Olson
Eve Marson
Kristin Lazure
Sarah Gibson
Written byStephanie Soechtig
Mark Monroe
Narrated byKatie Couric
CinematographyScott Sinkler
Edited byBrian David Lazarte
Tina Nguyen
Dan Swietlik
Atlas Films
Distributed byRADiUS-TWC
Release date
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.5 million


Fed Up shows how the first dietary guidelines issued by the U.S. government 30 years ago overlooked the role of dietary sugar in increasing risks of obesity, diabetes, and associated ill-health outcomes, particularly in children. Since these guidelines effectively condoned the unlimited addition of sugar to foods consumed by children, sugar consumption has greatly increased, obesity has skyrocketed, and generations of children have grown up far fatter than their parents. These children face impaired health and shorter lifespans as a result.[6][7] As the relationship between the high-sugar diet and poor health has emerged, entrenched sugar industry interests with almost unlimited financial lobbying resources have nullified attempts by parents, schools, states, and in Congress to provide a healthier diet for children. The film concludes with a list of 20 companies, industry groups and politicians who refused to talk to the filmmakers.[8]

Production, premiere and releaseEdit

The director, Stephanie Soechtig, said that she followed some of the families struggling mightily with obesity, diabetes and other health issues for more than two years during the making of the film.[5] American journalist and TV personality Katie Couric co-produced the documentary and is its narrator.[9][10] The film premiered in competition category of U.S. Documentary Competition program at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014.[11][12]

After its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, RADiUS-TWC acquired distribution rights of the film.[13][14] The film was released on May 9, 2014 in the United States.[15][16]


Fed Up received a positive response from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 80% of 66 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7 out of 10.[17]

In her review for LA Weekly, Amy Nicholson praised the film by saying that "Fed Up is poised to be the Inconvenient Truth of the health movement. (Which makes sense - producer Laurie David worked on both.)"[18] Geoffrey Berkshire in his review for Variety said that "Stephanie Soechtig's documentary effectively gets the message out about America's addiction to unhealthy food."[19] Robert Cameron Fowler from Indiewire in his review said that "'Fed Up' is a glossy package that gets its warnings across loud and clear: we need to change what we eat."[20]

Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter praises the film as highly relevant, though overly-detailed—the "Highly relevant film diminishes its central message with distracting details."[21]

As Manohla Dargis succinctly summarizes in her New York Times review[2]

Recent research ... indicates that calories in fruit are not the same as those in soda, a conclusion that is part of the big picture in “Fed Up,” a very good advocacy documentary ... A whirlwind of talking heads, found footage, scary statistics and cartoonish graphics, the movie is a fast, coolly incensed investigation into why people are getting fatter. It also includes some touching video self-portraits by some young people who belong to the almost 17 percent of children and adolescents, 2 to 19, who are considered obese.


The documentary has been criticized by some doctors and scientists as occasionally misrepresentative of scientific evidence. The film makes the claim that drinking one soda a day will increase a child’s chance of becoming obese by 60%. The scientists who are the authors of the study that this statistic comes from state that they cannot prove this causality, as the film claims, only an association.[22] James O. Hill, a pediatrics and medicine professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver states that the film presents "a very myopic view of how obesity develops, and it offers no real solutions". He states that while the amount of sugar and quality of food in a diet is important, other factors such as exercise are not emphasized enough in the film.[5]

Harriet Hall of Science-Based Medicine reviewed the film in an article entitled "Does the Movie Fed Up Make Sense?" In the article she states that the film's selection of experts consists mainly of politicians and journalists with few relevant nutritional scientists or doctors. She also argues that the definitive pronouncements that the film makes about the role of sugar are premature as there are too many other possible confounders such as lifestyle, total calorie consumption and the type of foods being eaten.[23] Hall also goes on to provide a comprehensive list of statements that the film claimed were facts but were not based on scientific evidence.[23][24] She concludes by saying that "the film will undoubtedly do some good by helping raise public awareness of childhood obesity" but wishes "it could have done so without misrepresenting the facts".[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Is Sugar the New Cigarettes? Fed Up, a New Sundance Film, Thinks So". Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b Dargismay, Manohla (May 8, 2014). "Sugar, Come Out With Your Hands Up". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-06-01. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  3. ^ Bittman, Mark (May 13, 2014). "An Inconvenient Truth About Our Food". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-05-19. Retrieved Apr 13, 2014.
  4. ^ O’Sullivan, Michael (May 8, 2014). "'Fed Up' movie review: The sins of sugar". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2014-05-11. Retrieved Apr 13, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Macvean, Mary (May 9, 2014). "Fed Up' documentary lays blame for American obesity on food industry". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2014-05-30. Retrieved Apr 13, 2014.
  6. ^ "Katie Couric is 'Fed Up' with childhood obesity". Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Sundance Curiosities: Will 'Fed Up' Be the Last Straw for America's Food Industry?". Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  8. ^ Lowe, Peggy (May 19, 2014). "'Fed Up' Portrays Obese Kids as Victims in a Sugar-Coated World." Archived 2015-08-28 at the Wayback Machine NPR.org. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "This Documentary Is 'Fed Up' With the Food Industry and Its Fed Friends". Archived from the original on 2014-04-13. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Sundance: Katie Couric Dishes on Her New Documentary 'Fed Up' (VIDEO)". Archived from the original on 2014-01-23. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Sundance 2014: U.S. Documentary Competition". Archived from the original on 2014-03-29. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Sundance Poster For FED UP – Documentary w/Katie Couric". Archived from the original on 2014-01-30. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Sundance: RADIUS-TWC Buys Katie Couric-Narrated Docu 'Fed Up'". Archived from the original on 2014-05-31. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Sundance: Radius-TWC Picks Up Katie Couric-Produced Documentary 'Fed Up'". Archived from the original on 2014-04-05. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  15. ^ "WATCH: You May Never Eat Again After Seeing This Trailer for 'Fed Up'". Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  16. ^ "'Fed Up' Film Examines Food Industry". Archived from the original on 2014-04-10. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  17. ^ "Fed Up (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Archived from the original on May 15, 2014. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  18. ^ "Is Sugar the New Cigarettes? Sundance's Fed Up Thinks So". Archived from the original on 2014-04-19. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  19. ^ "Sundance Film Review: 'Fed Up'". Archived from the original on 2014-05-31. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  20. ^ "Sundance Review: Katie Couric-Produced Obesity Doc 'Fed Up' Hits the Mark". Archived from the original on 2014-04-13. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  21. ^ "Fed Up: Sundance Review". Archived from the original on 2014-01-22. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  22. ^ "29 common claims and bogus 'facts' about food that are false or very misleading". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 5 August 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  23. ^ a b c Hall, Harriet. "Does the Movie Fed Up Make Sense?". Science-Based Medicine. Archived from the original on 15 October 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  24. ^ Smith Edge, Marianne; Raymond, Matt. "Correcting the "Fed Up" Record". Food Insight. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.

External linksEdit