Up until now, Australian actor Damon Gameau had probably been best known as ‘that guy from The Tracker (Rolf de Heer, 2002)’ or ‘that guy from Underbelly: a Tale of Two Cities’. Nowadays, I suspect we’re more likely to start referring to him as ‘that sugar guy’, after his documentary, That Sugar Film. The film follows Gameau’s journey as he shifts from a no-sugar diet to a regime of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day – a journey through both his personal transformation, where he picks up a few extra kilos, a dangerously fatty liver, and various other maladies, and also through areas in Australia and America suffering from the ubiquity of added sugar in processed foods.
There’s a twist, however. Gameau’s diet is achieved without the consumption of any traditionally unhealthy confections like lollies, ice cream or soft drink. One of his film’s main revelations is the shockingly high amount of sugar in everyday, ostensibly healthy products like iced tea, low-fat yoghurts and pasta sauces. Despite its carefully researched supporting body of statistics, That Sugar Film doesn’t play like a lecture, but a thoroughly entertaining documentary enlivened by colourful animated sequences and appearances from the likes of Hugh Jackman and Stephen Fry.