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Documentary Review: "The Magic Pill"



"The Magic Pill" is a documentary currently available on Netflix. It features a number of different people as they change their diets. These included:

  • A group of aboriginal Australians

  • A couple of families with autistic children (non-verbal, one experiencing 50 seizures a day)

  • A couple of women with a variety of health issues

  • A breast cancer survivor (without having had any chemo, surgery, or radiation)

Over the course of the documentary, we watch as these people are introduced to a whole food diet, relearning how to eat. We also watch how they respond to their new diets. I won't tell you how it all turns out, but suffice it to say that these people didn't get less healthy :). Being a parent, the story lines about the children really got to me. The power of high-quality food is always awe-inspiring because it truly changes people's lives. But, when it impacts kids in the way shown in this documentary, it evokes an intense emotional reaction in me. Let's just say that several times I looked around to see who was slicing onions in the house ;).


Interspersed between the stories of these people, there's a lot of info about how the body works and about food in general. There's also some background about how we got into the fat-phobic mess we're in right now.


Overall, I really liked this movie. It's not perfect, but it's really good. The primary message is that humans thrive on diets full of nutrient-dense, whole foods. This is very much aligned with my philosophy. If I had to find fault, I'd say that there's a little too much vilification of carbohydrates. Really, the problematic carbohydrates are the highly processed ones. While this is the primary message, some of the tone of the movie feels like overall carb-bashing (at least to me). I do believe that many people do better on diets generally lower in carbohydrates. Still others (e.g. me) do very well on a diet quite low in carbs. But, some people do fine with a moderate number of calories from carbs, so long as these carbs are not highly processed. We are all different so one diet does not work for everyone.


I would strongly encourage you to watch this movie. It provides a perspective on food that is definitely worth consideration.



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