You don’t blame “healthy” snacks like protein bars and low-fat yogurt for the global obesity epidemic, do you? Maybe you should start. To make up for lost taste, food makers tend to pour other ingredients—especially sugar, flour, thickeners, and salt—into low-fat products.

Australian actor and director Damon Garneau is out to set the sugar record straight in his new movie That Sugar Film. Garneau documents what happens to his body when he begins eating low-fat snacks and other “healthy food.” What many consumers don’t know is that more often than not, these foods are packed with added high-fructose corn syrup and other refined sugars.

Just take CLIF Bars, which have as much sugar as Reese’s Pieces.


In the film, Garneau avoids typical high-sugar snacks like soda, ice cream, and candy; instead, he chooses to consume foods commonly thought to be healthy. His diet changed from whole foods like fish, vegetables, and avocado, to a diet consisting of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day (the average consumed by Australians). Garneau mostly ate fruit juices, low-fat yogurt, health bars, and cereal during the 60-day experiment.

Garneau tells The New York Times that the movie was inspired by the conflicting ideas about sugar in the media. He says,

“It came about because I was noticing how much conflicting press there was about sugar. I’d read one article one day saying it’s toxic and poisonous. Then, the next day, I’d see an article saying it’s fine and we need it for energy. I thought the only way to find out the truth was to do an experiment and assemble a team of doctors and scientists. Despite some of the doctors telling me I was crazy, I thought consuming a lot of foods like low-fat yogurt and orange juice would be just fine.

Throughout the movie, shocking symptoms surface just a few weeks after Garneau embarks on his journey. After 18 days, he begins to show signs of a fatty liver. When asked why he decided to consume “healthy” processed foods instead of a diet consisting of soda and doughnuts, he replied,

“If I had been eating chocolate doughnuts and soft drinks, we know what would have happened to me. But the fact that this happened when I was following the low-fat diet that we’ve all been prescribed for 35 years—that was surprising.”

When it comes to snacks marketed to us as healthy, we all need to #staywoke.

[via New York Times]