Editors Note: I’m trying to get this article out quickly because I just found out that Hungry For Change is going to be available for a free worldwide online screening March 21st – 31st.
With that said, I have no relationship with the film or anyone involved in it. This is a totally legit review. The only reason I’ve seen Hungry for Change is because it’s available on Netflix and I happened across it.
The Review Criteria
I plan on doing more documentary reviews for The Rebooted Body and will be scoring them based on five criteria:
Entertaining to Watch: How well does the documentary hold my attention? Is it slow or well timed? Does it present the information in a dull and dry manner or does it make the information fun and enjoyable? The higher the score, the more entertaining.
Control of Sensationalization: Documentaries, regardless of the topic, often have a bias toward sensationalizing their topic. I’ve found that the most important information doesn’t need to be sensationalized, therefore, self-control on the part of the filmmakers is important. The higher the score, the less sensationalization.
Makes Legitimate Arguments: Are the arguments presented in the documentary fair and appropriate or are we arguing against straw men or using other fallacies of logic? The higher the score, the more legitimate the arguments.
Doesn’t Overlook Important Points: Sometimes when I agree with the documentary I’m watching, I find myself frustrated because the filmmakers are neglecting to point out hard-hitting facts or examples. The higher the score, the more the film covers all the bases.
Would Recommend to Others: Would I recommend this film to friends, families, and clients? The higher the score, the more likely I’ll be to recommend the film.
The Hungry For Change Sell
From the creators of the groundbreaking documentary FOOD MATTERS comes another hard-hitting film certain to rock your world. HUNGRY FOR CHANGE exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industry don’t want you to know about.
It’s a rather vague description and doesn’t really tell us where it’s going to go: food ingredients, production quality, politics, or all of the above? I guess we have to watch to find out…
The opening 30 minutes of the documentary explores the general idea of why people are fat and sick from the standpoint of chemical food ingredients, additives, and so on. Notable enemies: High Fructose Corn Syrup, vegetable oils, propylene glycol, the low fat fad, MSG, and Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners.
The film does a great job of not just villainizing foods because they have unnatural or chemical ingredients, but explains why these chemicals are bad, how they lead to addiction, and how they interact negatively with our hormone function. I was happy to see them cover this in a way laymen can understand. And every ingredient they target is a legitimately bad ingredient. There’s no pseudoscience here.
They also touch on marketing and food labels and reading ingredients. This is important for shoppers who are used to just looking at macronutrient content (fat, carbs, and protein). Hungry For Change stresses reading ingredient labels and looking for the hidden evils of food manufacturing.
One important distinction most weight loss seekers fail to make is the refined carbohydrate-sugar connection. People think because they’re avoiding sugar itself that their diet is low in sugar. But they’re still eating a bunch of refined, high glycemic carbohydrates which turn to sugar almost immediately after consumption and wreak havoc on hormones, namely insulin.
Hungry For Change explains clearly why refined carbohydrates are driving obesity via sugar uptake and simultaneously why the low fat labels on these products are lying (as excess sugar is stored as fat).
If you’re looking to reduce sugar intake, your definition of “what is sugar” really needs to expand. It’s more than just the white powder.
It’s not fat that makes you fat, it’s sugar that makes you fat.
The film also does a great job of connecting the dots of food intake with how people feel and how important sugar is to chronic disease. Most important, though, is the film’s focus on sugar addiction.
In one segment, the experts break down how cocaine is a chemically processed component of a naturally occurring plant, given to people in highly concentrated doses. Just as Cocaine is not a natural byproduct of the Coca plant, table sugar is not the natural byproduct of sugarcane — it’s also a highly concentrated, chemically derived drug.
We’re becoming culturally more comfortable with recognizing white sugar as a drug. People are starting to understand how addictive a substance it is.
And then the home run:
If you walk the aisles in the average grocery store and you look at the amount of sugar in a child’s breakfast cereal, you might as well be rolling up the kid’s sleeve and putting in heroin, because it’s the same thing.
The fact is that we have a childhood obesity epidemic and a large part of that epidemic is caused by sugar and sugar addiction. And correcting that epidemic and saving children starts with telling the truth about what parents are feeding their kids.
Most documentaries don’t have the cojones to charge parents with child abuse. Hungry For Change does. Going back to the comparison to drugs, they note how it’s illegal to give kids cigarrettes, alcohol, and drugs but legal to give them refined sugar and food products. The end result:
Food kills more people than all drugs on Earth combined. And people know this, so why are these highly intelligent people not stopping? Because they don’t know the nature of the trap.
Why Diets Don’t Work
Sounds familiar right? I’ve talked at length about why diets don’t work and Hungry For Change does the same, though they mostly take the premise that you can’t force your body to lose weight through calorie manipulation and demonizing macronutrients.
I tend to agree, though I do believe it’s important to address carbohydrates during the preliminary phase of transformation because the fact is that addiction is driven by that macronutrient. Nobody is addicted to fat or protein, but they’re highly addicted to carbohydrates. That requires addressing in order to lead people to success. It’s not necessary long term, but it’s necessary during transition.
A paradigm shift.
Where Hungry For Change really hits the nail on the head is in talking about shifting your paradigm from, “I want that and can’t have it” to, “I can have it but I don’t want it.” That shift in thinking is what drives success and is why getting the underlying information to people is so important.
Dieting doesn’t work, but getting people to realize what the real definition of diet is and how they define it personally does work. It’s about teaching people why they shouldn’t eat certain foods so they get in the mindset of “I don’t eat that stuff” rather than “I can’t eat that stuff.” And, in teaching them what not to eat, teaching them what to eat and why.
Hungry For Change puts a lot of emphasis on detoxification prior to starting a weight loss protocol. While I do think this line of thinking has merit, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary. And the “detox market” has some shady aspects to it and some negative connotations for a lot of people.
While stored toxins in the body are dangerous and it’s important to get them out, Hungry For Change makes the argument that you can’t really lose weight unless the detox step is adhered to and we know that’s simply not the case. Can toxins impede weight loss and hinder gene expression? Certainly. However, the importance of this is a bit sensationalized.
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t have a problem with a detox phase prior to changing your diet then I’d follow Hungry For Change’s advice and go for it. I just don’t think it’s a necessary step.
There’s a lot of talk about juicing vegetables in the detox section of Hungry For Change. I’m more prone to think about healthy consumption of whole vegetables as the natural order of things. If you follow a Paleo model of eating, juicing seems kind of absurd: it’s obvious that we thrived long before the advent of modern juicing machines.
With that said, I do thing that is beneficial from time to time. I just wouldn’t make it a staple. Remember, it’s also possible to get too many vitamins. If you’re taking a multivitamin, other supplements, and juicing daily it’s quite possible that you’re reaching toxic levels of certain vitamins (and that starts to get difficult to identify).
Another issue (and this actually takes place in the documentary with the main subject preparing to juice apples and oranges) is juicing sugary fruits and vegetables. When you juice these foods you’re receiving all of the sugar and none of the fiber to regulate it. I talked about this is in Why Naked Juice Won’t Help You Look Good Naked. That’s a recipe for hormone dysregulation.
With regard to juicing, I think moderation is an important strategy.
Underlying Personal Issues
Toward the end of Hungry For Change there’s some beneficial talk about obesity and underlying personal issues: sexual abuse, stress, anxiety, emotional voids, and so on. This is important because people who avoid addressing these facts of life are unlikely to succeed with lifestyle transformation.
The experts redefine obesity as a solution instead of a problem. It’s a solution to all of those underlying personal issues. It’s a defense mechanism. I think this is a fascinating take on this epidemic.
If you want to combat obesity, you have to combat your underlying personal issues. You have to find worth in who you are as a person, regardless of what you look like. You have to love yourself and have a positive outlook. It’s all a very important aspect of a holistic approach to lifestyle design.
If we’re going to have a discussion about changing our lifestyle regarding food, we can’t do that adequately without addressing two huge issues: saturated fat and grain toxicity. Unfortunately, these are two areas that Hungry For Change avoided, seemingly at all costs. This allows them to appeal to a wider audience (vegans, vegetarians, etc.)
But people can’t change their lifestyle without learning how important and beneficial saturated fat from natural sources (both plant and animal) is, especially considering how demonized it has been in the past. These documentaries need to counter the saturated fat myth every chance they get. Hungry For Change failed on this front.
And while it’s important to talk about chemical-based food toxicity, naturally occurring toxins (such as those found in grains, particularly wheat) are just as important. Hungry For Change didn’t spend any time talking about gluten, Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA), lectins, or phytates. They talked about how refined grains are bad from a glycemic standpoint, but not from a toxin standpoint. This is probably the single most important reason people need to be avoiding grains and refined food products, but it was glossed over.
There was also very little talk about gut flora and gut health, a main factor in healing the body, preventing disease, and promoting healthy metabolic function.
All in all, I enjoyed Hungry For Change and I’d highly recommend it. While there are a few missing pieces, it gets many important messages across in an entertaining way. Have you seen it? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s worked with thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and programs like Shut Down Your Sugar Cravings.