A Thumbs Up Media Review
Produced by Susan Smiley/Vine Street Pictures
Review by Tim Boyd
Here we have a health video with a sense of humor. Tom Naughton starts off by asking some tough questions about the film “Super Size Me.” For instance, you have to do a whole lot of eating to take in over 5000 calories a day, as Spurlock claimed he did. Even super-sized McMeals three times a day need a lot of supplemental desserts to add up to 5000 calories. As Tom is talking about all this you see many shots of very obese people on the streets. He noted that it took him a lot longer to find very obese people to film than he would have expected based on popular media and government reports on obesity (and he makes some interesting points about why that is). So he decided to perform his own little experiment.
Mr. Naughton weighed 206 pounds, his cholesterol was 231, and he had a little over 31 percent body fat according to his doctor at the start of his twenty-eight-day fast food diet. On this diet, he concentrated on keeping the carbs low and ate plenty of saturated fat. His experience is interspersed with interviews of Dr. Al Sears, and Drs. Michael and Mary Eades. We also see the familiar faces of Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig several times through the video. (There is also a bonus section with more detailed interviews loaded with excellent information.) He goes into some detail on the work of Gary Taubes, exposing the simplistic fallacy of how calorie counting is done by mainstream nutritionists. We learn about the duplicity of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which promoted trans fats for years, then turned around and sued fast food companies for using trans fat when the prevailing politics on trans fat shifted.
The funniest point in “Fat Head” comes when, after twenty-eight days on fast food, Naughton returns to his doctor to tell him what he has been eating (hamburgers, fried chicken, eggs, etc.). The doctor is naturally unimpressed and starts collecting vital statistics to assess the damage. First is the weigh-in. Mr. Naughton is now 194 pounds. Already his doctor has a puzzled look on his face and says,“I don’t like what you’re proving here.” Cholesterol was 222 and body fat was 28.2 percent. The good doctor tried to argue with the results but admittedly really couldn’t.
This film gets a thumbs up but you do need to be careful what you take away from it. The information from the various experts he interviewed is impeccable. If a viewer wanted to, however, he might jump to the conclusion that living on the “right kind” of fast food is okay (it’s not, just in case you’re wondering).
“Fat Head” is an entertaining way to underscore the fact that saturated animal fat is not the deadly poison it is cracked up to be even when present in the industrial fast food supply. And it is reassuring to know that “No fat people were harmed during the making of this documentary.”
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2009.