Sugar Coated

How the food industry sugar-coated science, sweetened the food supply, and seduced a planet, one spoonful at a time.

From Emmy-nominated and Gemini Award-winning filmmaker Michèle Hozer (Shake Hands with The Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire), Sugar Coated is an eye-opening feature documentary that examines the various tactics that has many health experts calling sugar the new tobacco.

The filmmakers peel back the story of how sugar escaped scrutiny as a leading cause of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The film introduces a cast of individuals who collectively try to reverse this trend that not only threatens the health of the nation, but potentially the economy too. This includes Dr. Robert Lustig, the film’s charismatic and controversial central character, and Dr. Cristin Kearns, a young dentist who discovers 1500 pages of secret documents from a defunct sugar factory in Denver. These documents reveal an industry playbook, reminiscent of the secret tobacco documents that ultimately led to a shift in how the cigarette industry is viewed. Dr. Kearns’ careful analysis uncovers the sugar industry’s public relations campaign during the 1960s and 70s designed to reverse growing public concern about the health effects of sugar and to successfully keep sugar on the FDA GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list.

“When our team uncovered two vintage documentaries I had a personal epiphany: We’ve been through this all before,” says Director and Editor Michèle Hozer. “Scientists knew that sugar contributed to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, over 40 years ago. There was even a proposal to place tobacco-style warning labels on sugary foods. Then, the debate disappeared. So what happened?”

Sugar Coated features rare archival footage, confidential documents and interviews with obesity experts.


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