A Poisened World
Sweet Misery
Review by Ross Anthony

An important, albeit amateur, production. I’ve long had uneasy suspicions toward fake sugar. Does that make me a food moralist? Years ago, I tried diet sodas and couldn’t get used to the bitter aftertaste. Doesn't sweetness without cost just seem unnatural (pun intended) and counter to the American ethic that rewards are only earned through hard work?

Even though I decided to avoid all fake sugar, I couldn’t help noticing loved ones sacking it away, and in at least one case, displaying odd physical or mental issues I could not explain. So I researched the net. As far as the fake sugars go, aspartame appears to be the bad boy, and incredibly popular. My research led me to this DVD, so I requested a copy to review. Admittedly, that makes me already somewhat bias. I went into the production suspect of this chemical sweetener. I especially was interested in the political “shenanigans” required to get the FDA stamp of approval. This doc does its best work shedding some light there, albeit mostly slanted.

The film also includes anecdotal interviews with a handful of people who feel they’ve experienced aspartame related symptoms and sicknesses. These interviews go far too long for my taste and make for an awkward and uneven production. That said, perhaps audiences who are turned off by sound bites will appreciate the indulgence. At the end of the day, not surprisingly, the documentary showed me enough evidence to substantiate my aspartame fears. In fact, it inspired me to research alternative diet cola drinks to satisfy one relative's Caff-Free Diet Cola habit (which at the time of this writing uses aspartame). I picked up Zevia (uses Stevia) and Caff-Free Diet Rite (uses Sucralose) in hopes of encouraging him to switch. It’s too soon to say if that’ll work; he’s a wonderful, but stubborn man. (I have found anecdotal arguments against Sucralose as well, but currently it looks like the likely lesser of two possible evils.)

Btw, the doc does occasionally mention MSG as a similarly toxic FDA approved product. While what I’ve read sums this way “mostly ‘okay’ despite the fact that some people may have allergies to it,” I know for a fact that it affects me adversely. I aggressively keep it out of my diet. It gives me headaches, dry mouth, and occasionally disturbs my sleep. I know several other people who feel the same way. That’s enough for me to deem it not okay. Does anybody happen to know any double blind tests that can give an actual % count (IE: x people in 100 are affected)?

-- Books by Ross Anthony, Author/Illustrator --


  • Sweet Misery. Copyright © 2005.
  • Produced and Directed by Cori Brackett and J.T. Waldron at Sound and Fury. A Cinema Libre Distribution.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Tuesday, 23-Aug-2011 08:17:52 PDT