Sugar Free Farm: A noble but flawed attempt at mixing entertainment with a serious message

I’m not usually a fan of reality TV. As a genre it is filled with vacuous, fame hungry idiots and adds no real meaning or value to my life, or to that of many others.

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The cast from season one. At least they look clean.

However, I watched the first series of Sugar Free Farm (Tuesday, ITV) with interest.  I have developed an interest in living a sugar-free lifestyle over the past year and half. One of the problems with this is that the media is only now coming to terms with questioning historically inaccurate scientific research. As a result the information about sugar is entering the ‘mixed messages’ phase.

As with any change and any new way of thinking, education is key.  Unfortunately, statistics show that highest incidences of obesity tend to occur in areas where income and education are the lowest.

So how do we reach this particular demographic? Quite simply, it is through the medium with which they are often most comfortable: entertainment. People like Tony Robbins have used this  effectively over the years by creating an almost rock concert-like atmosphere in which he is able to get his message across.

Reviews of the show have not been overwhelmingly positive. Despite its good intentions, when trying to put an educational message across, it needs to be either shocking or completely hidden behind something more engaging. Failure to do that results in something that isn’t very entertaining and, dare I say it, just a little bit preachy.

The quality of the celebs is a huge factor as well. The fact I only know the one who used to be a politician says more about me than it does about the intended audience, but even I can realise a Z-list when I see one. Sorry, old Dr. Who, but it’s the truth.

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But most importantly, the message gets lost because it is simply not relatable. I realise the show needs a central concept (getting back to the land and living unprocessed lives) but who has time to grind their own flour? Or shake up their own butter?

No one, that’s who.

I live a sugar-free life already and I rolled my eyes and switched off. It would be far better to provide the contestants with a store cupboard that was limited but contained readily available items. That way people could begin to imagine how it would look in their own homes. Instead, the message becomes that to quit sugar you need to quit life and never have fun again.

Watching a few random other people lose a bit of weight and play with pigs isn’t going to motivate you to those extremes.

I mean, does this make you want to change your life?

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Want to quit sugar anyway? Buy the book that’s more about making it work in real life than baking fake cake. 

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