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The Men Who Made Us Thin

Thu Aug 29, 9-10pm, BBC2

Episode four
Early last month Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) put out a video on The Guardian’s website. The five-minute clip demonstrates force-feeding techniques used at Guantanamo Bay, and it’s a pretty harrowing watch as the orange jumpsuited rapper is strapped to a chair and has a feeding tube forced up his nose. At the beginning of this final episode of ‘The Men Who Made Us Thin’, Jacques Peretti visits a Harley Street doctor who administers the KE Diet. For 350 quid a pop, you get basically the same treatment without the bondage.

The dissonance between the health and food industry reaches a head tonight as Peretti delves into the economic forces behind the soft drinks that keep us chubby, with unsettling echoes of Big Tobacco in the 1980s. Peretti has been an entertaining presence throughout this series, which has amused even as it astonished with its revelations of the degree to which people are willing to buy into their own delusions.


James Shannon

Anyone with a healthy dose of cynicism will have tuned into the final episode of ‘The Men Who Made Us Thin’ and already have the answers to most of the questions Jacques Peretti asks. Afterall Morgan Spurlock brought ‘Super Size Me’ and the naughty food industry to our attention in 2004. However, if you enjoy evidence base revelations and Paxmanesque interviews of the villainous profiteers, you’ll enjoy this. The main themes of corporate greed and consumer lethargy aren’t new but Peretti entertains and updates the viewer on the food industries current duplicities. Not least through his review of the extreme KE diet (reminiscent of Mos Def’s forced feeding demonstration) and that Big Macs are considered aspirational dining in Brazil. Much like the fast food it maligns, the show seemed to re-process old material and throw in a few additives but like the fast food it was also easy digested and suited an evening on the sofa.

Sonja Zobel

After 4 weeks of dissecting the health industry, Jacques Peretti’s journey came to an end. His quest revealed the shocking sums of money that flow between governments, food and pharmaceutical concerns. The honest approach of the documentary opened access to hidden material that showed how many people actually profit from XXL. Becoming fat is welcomed, because it increases the money spent on slimming down again. Week after week, we understood that the basic concept of “you are what you eat” is no longer simple, because we are misled by advertisements that associate an illusion of fitness and health with junk food. But how can we escape? Interestingly Peretti uses children as example. A Primary School with a competition of who eats healthiest shows how easy a better lifestyle can be established. This series has touched on something big. It could not answer its initial question of who is to blame, but uncovered some of the hidden lies found within the massive network of the health industry. Peretti certainly made us reflect on our daily choices. It is up to us what we eat and how we want to look, but we have to be careful not to fall into a trap. Finally personal satisfaction does not always depend on a physical imagery.