"RECOMMENDED DAILY AMOUNT" — 1½ stars — Tucker Dansie, Eric Oliver, Lindsey Swan; not rated, likely G; LDS Film Festival
Tucker Dansie knew he had a problem. He was drinking a couple of liters of soda a day, which contributed to him gaining enough weight that he was officially considered obese on his medical records.
That’s when Dansie had the idea to cut caffeine out of his diet for 30 days and make a documentary to record his experiences. The result, “Recommended Daily Amount,” premiered at the LDS Film Festival at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem on March 3.
In addition to completely abstaining from caffeine, Dansie also decided to reduce his overall sugar intake to the daily recommended amount, which for men is 36 grams.
The purpose of the experiment wasn’t necessarily to lose weight, according to Dansie.
“It’s about emotional and mental well-being,” he said during the movie. “I feel better than I have felt in years.”
Specifically, Dansie said he saw a massive decrease in the number of migraines he had.
“I was having two to three debilitating migraines per week before I stopped drinking soda,” he said in the film. Since he gave up soda on Oct. 1, Dansie says he has only had one migraine.
Dansie, who has bipolar type-2 disorder, said the decrease in caffeine and sugar helped him to control his mood better as well.
“I still have mood swings, but they’re not as severe or long-lasting as they were before,” he said.
One of the diet experts Dansie consulted was Benjamin Bikman, a professor of physiology and developmental biology at Brigham Young University. Bikman shared more about the role of sugar in the diet in a Q-and-A session after the movie.
“The only naturally occurring version of the kind of sugar we eat so much of is found in honey,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that such a substance is guarded by thousands of little creatures that will hurt you if you try to take it. Evolutionarily, we aren’t supposed to be consuming as much sugar as we do.”
Having the support of other people made his experiment much easier, Dansie said. He was joined in the 30-day challenge by two friends, Eric Oliver and Lindsey Swan.
“My kids wanted to do it with me, but it’s not really practical for kids,” Dansie told the Deseret News after the film. “And my wife was great with preparing meals that had less sugar. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
After finishing the 30 days, Dansie has continued to monitor and limit his caffeine intake.
“I don’t drink soda regularly anymore,” he said. “Just once in a while when I have a headache.”
For information, see rdadocumentary.com.
"Recommended Daily Amount” is not rated, but would likely be rated G; running time: 75 minutes.