Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Hungry for Change film review

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After my not so glowing review of the documentary film Food Matters I thought it would only be fair to give their latest effort Hungry for Change a chance. I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Although it may have been largely due to my low expectations. I thought that Hungry for Change was the film that Food Matters should have been. As I did with the previous film I’ll break it down into the good and the bad…

What was bad about this film?

  • As with the last film there were a number of dubiously credentialed so-called experts. For example, a “Traditional and Wild Foods Expert” and a “Cleansing and Detoxification Expert”. Maybe it’s just me but I’m pretty sure anyone could claim to be such “experts”. Also, there were a whole lot of authors. Sorry people but just because you wrote a book doesn’t mean you are a credible source.
  • This one, I’m not 100% sure about but the film claims that to study obesity in mice researchers inject them with MSG. To me, MSG might make sense to promote weight gain when added to food as it’s a flavour enhancer, but as an injection I’m not sure. As I don’t do obesity research in mice myself it’s hard for me to flat-out reject this claim. However, a scan of journal articles appears to show that a high-fat diet is the most popular approach to inducing obesity in mice.
  • Another bizarre claim they make is that dietary aspartame and caffeine kill brain cells. Really? Can someone share the research to back this up because I am hugely skeptical and can find nothing to support this myself.
  • One of the “experts” Dr. Northrup states that it’s “Not fat that’s making us fat. It’s sugar” and then goes on to suggest that sugar is an addictive drug, comparing sugar in kids cereal to injecting them with heroin. Yes, we consume far too much sugar but vilifying any one nutrient is foolish and placing sugar on-par with heroin is ludicrous.
  • At one point the film shows a promo for itself. Who does that?? Obviously the viewer is already watching the film, you don’t need to advertise it. That’s just lame (and boring).
  • Oh detoxification. These holistic nutritionists just love their detoxification diets. Listen up: DETOXIFICATION IS BULL****! Sorry, had to get that one out. And stop pushing the juicing on us already.
  • The main actress in the film is waging a constant battle with her weight. Yet, to me, she appears to be at a healthy weight. I don’t think it’s promoting the right message to show an attractive healthy woman trying to lose weight.

Hmm… Now that I’ve written all that I’m wondering if I should have been so quick to say that this film was an improvement on Food Matters.

There were some good points to this film:

  • Not once did they try to push supplements!
  • The overarching messages about eating a healthy balanced diet and learning to love yourself were good.
  • They basically state that pop is evil. I’m okay with that assertion.
  • It’s pointed out that North America decided that fat was the enemy and started loading food with sugar to replace the fat. They state that low-fat diets are bad as we need good fats (e.g. avocados, nuts, seeds, and salmon).
  • The dieting paradigm is flawed because diets are only temporary.
  • The best “diet” strategy is to add-in the “good” stuff (e.g. veg) and you’ll come to want the “bad” stuff less. Diets shouldn’t be about deprivation.
  • Stress hormones can contribute to weight gain. The best ways to reduce stress hormones are through sleep, exercise, and laughter.
  • “Obesity is not the problem. It’s the solution to a problem.” I thought this was a great way to make the point that obesity is often a manifestation of psychological issues.
  • I’m going to repeat this one: LOVE YOURSELF. No matter what your size, you deserve love and the most important person to get it from is yourself. Cheesy maybe but true.

While this film didn’t contain any new revelations, the overall message was good and the misinformation was relatively benign.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

14 thoughts on “Hungry for Change film review

  1. I absolutely love this write-up! You covered the pros and cons extremely well! It’s a very rational, healthfully skeptical analysis. Also, I love the fact that you’re a Dietitian writing about nutrition. Makes more sense than some guy who extrapolates a whole diet plan out of a couple pieces of anecdotal evidence, no?

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  2. Hi Diana. Great blog! I am an Australian Dietitian (APD) and very intersted to know what the RDs feel about artificially sweetened drinks (especially for diabetics and weight loss clients). This is hungry for change’s latest release: http://www.hungryforchange.tv/are-diet-sodas-making-us-fat

    Would love to hear a rant about it. Also, please feel free to check out my blog. :) x

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  3. Pingback: Hungry For Change « Magia e Pasta

  4. I just watched this on a whim I completely agree with your review! The overall message was positive as I like that it encouraged clean eating.Although, comparing white sugar to heroin was a bit much. Nobody likes to think of children and heroin junkies as even vaguely being in the same context…
    Excellent break down of the movie!

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    • I am 59 yrs old, haven’t touched sugar, gluten, soy, corn and dairy in about a year, never felt better in my life. Since Ive been a smoker, gambler and cokehead in my younger days I do compare sugar to those vices they were a cakewalk to quit as opposed to sugar, quit every vice cold turkey, and yes when I take sugar away from my grandkids I see a addicted kid.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this review. I was thrown off by some of the dubious claims they had, the ones you mentioned as well as the statement “Tim Hortons Coffee contaisn MSG”. Thanks again. :)

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  6. Enjoyed reading this. Thanks for taking the time to write this. As I’m watching it now, I’m starting to pick up on their questionable scientific logic.

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  7. MSG is used in labs to fatten both rats and mice, this coming from someone who works at a University where this is practiced. There are plenty of articles on PUBMED about its use.

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  8. Can you explain why you don’t support detoxification and/or juicing? I’m eager to learn, but when opinions are not supported by facts, I’m reluctant to embrace. BTW, I found studies to support the claim that aspartame and caffeine have a negative impact on the brain, so perhaps not worth refuting until we know more? As always, we only know what we know until we know better.

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    • I don’t support juicing or “detoxification” because at best, they are a waste of money and at worst, they are dangerous. Feel free to search the terms on my blog for more detail as I’ve blogged about the subjects in the past.

      Were the studies that you found high quality? You can find studies to support or refute nearly any position. The important thing is to look at the full body of research and take into consideration any biases and limitations.

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