Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Analyze Claims in the Popular Netflix Documentary
By: Megan Holdaway, RDN
The Silicon Valley Registered Dietitian Nutritionist's Book Club reviewed the 2017 Netflix documentary, The Magic Pill. The documentary, featuring celebrity chef Pete Evans, promotes a high-fat, low-carb diet more commonly known as the paleo or keto diet, and it recommends this way of eating as the solution for many modern-day ailments. The film makes this claim based on the premise that processed food is not “natural” and that dietary intake should align with human history as hunter-gatherers.
The documentary opens with a disclaimer stating that the personal stories depicted in the film are anecdotal; it makes no claims that the results featured are typical.
The people shown in the film have very serious health issues such as diabetes, autism, seizure disorders, ADHD and more. Before changing their diets, their food choices were very high in added sugars and processed foods and low in fresh foods. They were also taking many medications. The premise of this documentary is that food is the magic pill, and by changing eating patterns, people can live a healthier lifestyle and stop taking so many medications.
The Magic Pill is entertaining and includes elements of truth; however, we cannot recommend it since it also includes too many inaccurate or misleading statements that are not based on consensus science.
The healthy eating pattern recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans include nutrient-dense foods from all of the food groups: Dairy, Vegetables, Fruits, Grains and Protein. These healthy eating patterns aid in optimal growth and development and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
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Megan Holdaway, RDN
Megan Holdaway, RDN
Megan is a registered dietitian nutritionist and a Project Manager, supporting nutrition science and content development.
For many children, school meals may be their best source of nutrient-dense foods due to the National School Lunch Program + School Breakfast Program.
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