Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Food Matters but the film does not

105 Comments

I finally watched the “documentary” Food Matters on Netflix. It’s always good to find out what’s floating around out there regarding nutrition and health. I managed to avoid getting annoyed for approximately the first six minutes of this film. It’s unfortunate that Food Matters has to negate the few good points it makes by containing loads of other inaccurate points and interview a bunch of questionably credentialed “experts”. These experts included a World Authority on Raw Foods & Superfoods and an Holistic Dentist & Nutritionist. Probably a bad sign when I find the most credible person interviewed in a film about nutrition and medicine to be the Investigative Journalist.

What were the good points made in the film?

  • Medical doctors usually have very little nutrition education
  • Our diets suck
  • There’s no profit to be made if we don’t need drugs anymore (promptly negated by the fact that they’re pushing the use of megadoses of vitamins – who’s profiting there?)
  • Good nutrition can help improve depression
  • “Conventional” agriculture methods are less than ideal

These good points were hugely overshadowed by the bad points:

  • The nutritionists who made the film are both graduates from The Global College of Natural Medicine which is listed on Quack Watch as a school not accredited by a recognised accrediting agency
  • They allege that cooked food is basically toxic to the body through the process of digestive leukocytosis. This is based on a distortion of questionable research by Kouchakoff in 1930. If you want to read more about this topic check out the article on Beyond Veg. In actual fact, the cooking of some foods makes nutrients more biologically available.
  • There’s some pushing of “superfoods” which are a made-up phenomenon. There are arguments for any whole food to be a superfood.
  • It’s purported that the residual deficiency from one day of poor eating can’t be compensated for with a healthy diet on subsequent days so nutrient supplements are necessary. Oh please, one day of crappy eating does not mean you have to start popping vitamin supplements the following day.
  • Most of the talk about nutrition being used to improve health is translated into the pushing of vitamin supplements. Um, how about actually eating a healthy diet?
  • The use of megadoses of niacin are recommended for treatment of depression and alcoholism. However, there is insufficient evidence for the use of niacin in treating these conditions and high doses of niacin can lead to serious side effects including liver problems, loss of vision, and irregular heartbeat. I think it’s dangerous that “experts” are encouraging people to self-medicate using megadoses of vitamins.
  • It’s suggested that we need colonics and detox diets and that they can lead to huge amounts of weight loss through flushing of toxins through the bowel. Apparently exercise is dangerous because we’re losing toxins through our skin!!?
  • There’s discussion about the Max Gerson cancer therapy, which allegedly cured cancer through nutrition therapy and megadoses of vitamin C. There is no evidence that his method is at all effective. Further to this, it’s suggested that “a normal healthy body can’t get cancer.” I think that’s offensive to people who get cancer. Especially those who live healthy lives. Yes, a healthy diet strengthens your immune system. Is it guaranteed to protect you from cancer? No.
  • Even though the title of the film is Food Matters hardly any of the film is about food. It’s basically a massive nutritional supplement commercial. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the producers had a vested interested in the supplement store they promote on the film’s website.
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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

105 thoughts on “Food Matters but the film does not

  1. Great post, Great critique. He propaganda train goes both ways.

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  2. Thanks so much for this review Diane. We considered screening it for folks but I had similar doubts just from the trailer. Big infomercial.

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    • Thanks Michelle. Yes, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this one. Their new film is a vast improvement over this one. Review of that to come soon. ___

      “He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.” — Michael Pollan

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      • Hi Diana, do you by any chance have info on food matters part 2? I’ve looked for your review but couldn’t find it! I accidentally came here after watching several food related documentaries. My husband is very skeptic about this, but I am more of a believer I guess, and try to look for skeptics to show me different paths for a healthier living (besides eating well, exercising and trying to stay away from distress, which are three things quite hard for me). Well, thanks for having written this review. I’ll keep looking.

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  3. Pingback: Hungry for Change film review | bite my words

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  5. You’re a silly skeptic. Keep eating your McDonald’s.

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  7. Good review! you saved an hour of my life watching this crappy quackumentory.

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  8. Thank God I found your review! I’ve been watching 40 minutes and I started to wonder if I was the only one that find it’s full of bullsh*t. I’m a nutritionist student (like in a real accredited University), I always wonder why there isn’t any registered dietetitian in theses documentaries. As MD don’t have an education in nutrition, they have, so why they don’t consult them? A dietitian will ever…EVER recommands high doses of vitamins to treat illness because it’s not proven. If you eat a healty diet you don’t need that! Well, that’s my two cents, sorry for my english it’s not my first language. But hope you get the point!

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  9. Pingback: F2FHQ 036 – What’s working Review of FOOD MATTERS | Fat2Fit HQ Podcast

  10. Yes, I am watching “Food Matters” and feeling so suspicious of their so-call experts and the throat-stuffing vitamins ad every 2 minutes. Then I google the title and discover the film is actually for their vitamins store of the same name.

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    • Pretty sure they don’t have a vitamin store… Looks like you’re grasping at straws. Isn’t any awareness to eat healthier and try natural healing methods better than first popping a pill?? What do you think a doctor is? They’re essentially a walking Pharma commercial. You probably should get more informed about “HOW” doctors are taught which pills to prescribe. Just sayin…

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      • Absolutely right, Ben. I was told by six different docs, while suffering with chronic illness for nearly 7 years, that I’d be ill and in pain and dependent on drugs the rest of my life. Long story short, I learned about nutrition and natural healing and have been well 15 years now. I’m 55 and healthier than when I was 25, and my family’s and many friends’ health has improved immeasurably due to my influence on matters of nutrition. I don’t care how many degrees those docs had–they were wrong.

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  11. I’we also got more and more skeptic ac doc continues, and searched for some
    second thought on web and found this blog. Agreed on cons. It’s pitty, because it
    could be a good documentary if just a little bit more objective, open, and researched
    from all angles and perspectives.

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  12. Thanks for the critique, I was watching this film last night and even though it was somewhat agreeable I did find a few things it said to be bad advice.

    For one, they talked about there being little possibility of negative health effects from someone taking up to 11,000 grams of vitamin B3 a day. But taking five 5 Hour Energy “shots” (which contain just %150 percent of the DV for Niacin) is known to cause niacin overdose, which is why it’s not even recommended that you take more than two 5 Hour Energy in a day.

    Secondly, the nutritional content of food doesn’t always go down when you choose to cook it. Even though the vitamin C content of a tomato goes down when you cook it, the lycopene content increases by about 5 times.

    They also speak of the lack of deaths from people dying of vitamin overdoses as proof that taking large doses of vitamins is safe (people don’t often die from water poisoning but that’s not proof of the safety of drinking very high amounts of water). But I think this is simply proof of the fact that it’s extremely rare for someone to take extremely high doses of vitamins and that it’s typically hard to actually die as the result of taking too much of most vitamins (especially the water soluble ones). I mean, it would be rather hard to overdose on even a fat soluble vitamin like vitamin A, but this doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthy to take large amounts. In fact, chronic intake of vitamin A has actually been shown to promote osteoporosis.

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  13. I think the problem here is that we always look for extremes. The answers are somewhere in this mix. Yes, non traditional health ideas can be misleading and even unsafe for the uneducated or desperate. However, if we are willing to look closely, patiently, intellectually and creatively at our health, you are all right and so are the makers of food matters. One message I like in this doc is the idea that no one needs to make money from or be the captain of our individual health. The real answer is to stop paying other people to tell us what to eat. I would love to see people spend thier money on learning how to nourish, cook, and love themselves instead. Sadly, this is not the answer that will ring true for those who are searching for answers that defer personal responsibility.

    Glad I found your blog.
    Cheers

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  14. I also came here to research after watching Food Matters on Netflix. I appreciate your thorough and intelligent notes on the doc, Diana – thanks much. And I will follow your blog from now. And I love what Kats wrote above – very perceptive. Re a number of the other subsequent posts, though – we all seem highly skilled at slating people rather than listening and taking what there is to learn from them. Very little in life as all bad – there’s often redeeming features or useful information to be assimilated. We feel smug that we’ve ‘found these imposters out’ but that smugness and negativity leads to dismissing ideas and philosophies and conjecture too readily. If we decide we don’t like something overall, it’s easy to list loads more negatives than positives – perhaps that’s just basic psychology. I certainly don’t think we should be using the fact that someone is not qualified to discredit them… Why can’t we all engage our critical faculties, yes, but accept that there are good points made (obv not you, Diana, as you highlight the good points)?

    Eating fresh food, full of vitamins, or even not so fresh food plus vitamins, is so clearly better for us than eating fast food with its harmful fats and salt and sugar. So, as long as we keep calling people ‘quacks’ who ultimately promote healthy eating, we’re giving the okay for people to carry on eating rubbish and what’s worse, we’re inadvertently giving the okay to mega food corporations who attempt to control us all, to forcefeed us with their false ideology and sometimes dangerous ‘food’. Is there some good in those huge companies? Of course, but could we not all look carefully, talk together and properly endeavour to sort the chaff from the grain… Take responsibility…

    I seem to have got a tad fired up about this so I apologise for that! I also watched the documentary, Food inc, which is pretty hard-hitting and presents a LOT to chew over. I suppose that’s what’s made me feel strongly that it is our duty, if we are ‘enlightened’ to a certain extent re healthy nutrition, to speak out… and speak up for advocates of it instead of damning them. Unlike some other commenters here, I didn’t see the doc, Food Matters, as simply a vehicle to sell vitamins, but perhaps I’m being naive… Or maybe we’ve all got paranoid and almost assume that anyone laying out frameworks for living must have a vested interest in advising us/warning us, and they must ultimately be trying to con us??

    Keep up the good work, Diana and thanks a lot for your blog work.

    Julia

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    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments Julia. I too struggle with contradicting people who are advocating for overall healthy diets but using misinformation. I certainly wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from eating fruit and vegetables!

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  15. I agree with joolzj and here is why: I knew very little about Food. I ate well based on what I had been taught and that was actually not bad. Perhaps growing up in Europe made for a slight difference. I always knew fast food and processed food was bad for me and ate it maybe 2-3 times a year. Food Matters and the next movie they made (will wait for your review) made a HUGE difference to me. I went from not knowing much to – 2 years later being a food activist and nutritionist. That’s huge. That’s not just an add. That documentary/film (whatever you want to call it) was a turning point for me. I had never even thought of half the things they mention. So, to all the naysayers and skeptics, all I want to say is this: don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

    I always encourage anyone to do background research and not to believe anyone (even doctors and scientists – who are often full of miss-information or slanted data readings) no matter what their qualifications or lack thereof may have to say. I believe in being self-taught and have never believed a piece of paper can outweigh years of personal research. There are tons of highly corrupt fancy diplomas folks out there. It’s “who” they are that matters. And for me – passion means something. If you have met any of these folks you’ll see that passion right away.

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  16. hi thanks for this post. I came about this after watching “hungry for change”. it got me motivated to get back on track with what i put into my body. I went to the foodmatters web site and right away realized this is a big business. A classic business model. these people made it seem like this was thier passion in life and all they wanted was to change the world. That may have been true at one point but when big money gets involved I belive things change. It still motivated and inspired me so I guess it did it’s job. I watched it on netflix (semi free) but would not give the $30 they want on their website. By the way I found your blog by searching “food maters documentary scam”. Makes me think of my own business idea. Find every self help, diy, miracle cure, book , video, website and then hire someone to handle the SEO and create blogs with the book or video title and the word scam in the title to generate traffic and revenue.

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    • Ha! Great blog idea. You just need to monetize it carefully. This blog doesn’t generate any revenue, unfortunately! On a more serious note… I’m glad that you obtained some benefit from watching the film and that you didn’t fall for the Big Business side of things. Thanks for reading!

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  17. I thought this was an excellent documentary and it’s made a huge difference in my life. They do a pretty good job of showing how the medical system really works, and the do promote a healthy diet. I’m not sure I agree with your “bad points” as in that they say excercise is dangerous…
    I think you should watch the movie again. Maybe it will help you understand why treatments such as Gerson therapy do not have proper research to back it up.

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  18. I have been doing my own research since 1989 when my brother was diagnosed in the UK with cancer. His life expectancy was between 6-12 months dependent on what specialist he saw. In those days there was no Internet, but I did a lot of research. I came across a book written by a patient that had cancer attended the Gerson therapy and was cured.
    I tracked down the author in London and ‘interviewed’ her. Based on this I gave the book to my brother to read and told him if he was interested I would finance the flights and stay. I met Charlotte Gerson and stayed out there with my brother for three weeks and then
    flew his wife out there for a further two weeks. This was so she could be familiar with the treatment and continue this in the UK. This was mainly about correct juicing around 10 beakers a day and eating organic food. My brother also had regular coffee enemas

    After 6 weeks he stopped coughing up blood and his lumps disappeared. Today he trains youngster boxing to give them a discipline and an objective in life otherwise most would just end up on the streets.

    I think its easy to call people quacks and to get on the negative. I did not agree with some of the points raised, but that’s only from personal experience and research. I don’t have any qualifications and don’t want to be boxed in a course that may take be down a blinkered route. I tend to cross reference independent sources of information and research papers.

    We don’t need a degree to understand that we need to move more with the right exercise and for those that are capable variations on sprint eight is very good for you. So is eating healthy whole organic foods. I don’t take any real supplements beyond liquid vit D3 with K2. If we eat correctly and breathe the right way then we should live a full active life.

    I appreciate that film Food matters also plugs the nutrition Industry, but compare this to the constant stream of advertising in the junk food Industry!! Ideally we should avoid as much as we can from a tin, bag or packet. It is wise to choose your meats carefully as most live stock just to get it to the butchers has chemicals and antibiotics in the meat. Antibiotics unless its desperate that you have this does not do your immune system any good. Do the research and consider organic meats.

    I feel there has to be a balance between Traditional medication and the nutrition Industry each has its place.

    I enjoyed your blog Diana, but felt most of the comments following this were to quick to criticise.

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    • Thanks for reading and commenting Graham. Do you have any links to any of the research supporting the Gerson Therapy? I’d be interested to read that.

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      • Hey Diana,

        I’m an environmental engineer but very used to the cientific processs, as I was a biologist student for 3 years, but changed to envronmental engineering because the food industry would itch me more than the chemicals of it!

        I liked your blog, and also I KNOW a pacient that cured his type 2 diabetes with something similar to the Gerson Protocol, but “enhanced” in his own way with Brazilian Fruits. This guys is a simple construction worker, but couldn`t handle the insulin needles.

        So my point here is, the way you talk about medical qualifications that are necessary for talking about health, food, and eating, seems to me that a Doctor should never die of a chronic disease, because they know everything about it, and they refuse any non-scientific information. They refuse to “see” exams showing remission, or if so, they will try to find out other aspects rather than the food eaten. I think it`s even a bit arrogant. In Brazil is hard, really hard to become a doctor, but again, as anywhere, you get ZERO nutritional education.

        So my sugestion is, you should go and try to track these cured people like Graham did. It`s not hard at all.

        And oh, I did not go into this, but looks like the results os the Gerson Studies in Japan are available, but in Japanese! Why would no one tranlsate? I think you can find out!

        Cheers,

        But keep your eyes open not to misinformation. This movie can be no perfection, but for someone who never heard about anything similar (diet aproach on dieseases, real celular nutrition, and etc), it might be A GREAT START!

        like graham said, what more is false advertisment than pills for headache or a flu?

        with your knowledge, would you say “take an aspirin” or “take lime”.

        don`t go against people who play on the same team as you!

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      • Thanks for your comment Adriano. I am certainly not saying that doctors would never get sick. You are correct, doctors get very little nutrition education. There are also factors that are beyond our control such as the environment and genetics. As humans, we are often terrible at taking our own advice and I’m sure that nearly all of us could improve upon our diets.

        As for the Gerson therapy. I will try to find the study you mentioned. The film, if I recall correctly, is promoting the therapy as a cure for cancer which is both erroneous and dangerous. Yes, type 2 diabetes can be managed well with changes to diet and exercise; however, most people will need to take medication as well.

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  19. Diana – I really enjoyed reading your comments about “Food Matters” as well. Most of the feedback I’ve heard from friends, as well as articles I’ve found on the Internet were glowingly positive about this documentary. However, I’m always wary of any one source that purports to have the right nutritional path for everyone, regardless of their circumstances. I’m further alienated when I see people treat one particular viewpoint, it its entirety, as some sort of gospel. That said, I do appreciate the fact that exposĂ©s like “Food Matters,” at least make us all think about (as well as provide fodder for healthy debate) how our quality of life can be impacted by what we put into our bodies.

    To be sure, the world of nutrition is a complex one and we’re all constantly bombarded by new diet approaches; it’s difficult sometimes to sort out fact from fiction – while also trying to judge the credibility and sometimes hidden agenda of the source. What we were told 10 years ago was good for us, no longer is today – and vice versa. It’s very frustrating.

    As new and sometimes contradictory information becomes available I do try to take away what makes sense to me individually, try to read other opinions (like yours), and simply ignore what doesn’t seem right. I felt your critique was very well-balanced – pointing out what you felt made sense – as well as what didn’t – and why.

    Thank you!

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    • Thank you so much Chris! I always brace myself when I see a new comment on this post as it seems to have struck a nerve with some people.

      I agree that the truths of nutrition are constantly changing. We definitely need to remain open to possibilities while being skeptical of every claim. A difficult balance to maintain!

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  20. A wonderful review! I’m assisting in creating a documentary with a client who believes specific supplements alone will sustain him alone; along with juicing. He asked me to watch this documentary to get a feel for what he wants to do. I watched it and had the same feelings you had. I’m definitely going to show him some of your talking points so we can avoid being a documentary like this one!

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  21. Good points. I watched and liked, made me think and all that. But, immediately went to the internet to search more things about it. The first thing I see is this website http://www.foodmatters.tv with a store announcing every possible product to sell. I thought that was weird… You can see things like “3 day step by step guided detox program” and testimonials “Thank you soo much for the 3 day detox i feel soo good! & lost 6 lbs boooyahhh!!!!!” And charging you to see the whole movie and stuff… It seems very different than what they were talking about on the movie, saying that they wanted to educate people, people needed to know about vitamin therapy, learn…

    I am still not understanding if this is the site of the producers of the documentary, but if it is, that really seems like a lot of propaganda to make money… That made me dislike this movie and now i see this post.

    Anyway, sorry about any mistakes in english, it is not my first language…

    Thanks, Diana, for sharing your thoughts

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    • Hi Renato,

      Thanks for your comment! And good on you for doing some further research after watching the film. You are correct, the foodmatters.tv site is the official site for the film.

      Cheers,
      Di

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  22. How are “superfoods” a made-up phenomenon? I’ve been reading a lot about them lately, so I’m just genuinely curious.

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    • Well, pretty much any fruit or vegetable could be classified as a “superfood”. It’s basically just a marketing term to get people to buy the most expensive ones.

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      • So would you say a supplement like this is entirely a waste?
        http://foodmatters.tv/superfood-greens

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      • Not entirely. I prefer to get my nutrition from whole foods but you can bump up the nutrition of a breakfast smoothie by using a supplement like this. If it’s something that you’re keen on trying I would shop around a little to see if you can find anything comparable at a better price (that one looks quite pricey to me!).

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  23. I’d just like to comment by saying if it weren’t for this film I would still be in severe pain every day. After watching the film I decided to change my diet and see if this really has an effect on our health or is this just bogus mumbo jumbo. In one week, I repeat, one week, my heart rate has dropped 15 beats per minute. I always had a heart rate of 85 to 90 beats per minute. Now I average anywhere from 68 to 75 beats per minute. My blood pressure has dropped from a range of 128 over 72 to 124 over 70. Now my blood pressure averages from 110 over 62 to 118 over 64.
    I have osteoarthritis in my lower spine as well as facet disease and bulging discs. I’ve done nothing for 2 years because I’ve been in so much pain. Eating fruits and vegetables, nuts and fish, as well as NO DAIRY PRODUCTS OR RED MEAT, I have ZERO PAIN. ZERO! I AM AMAZED AND THANKFUL FOR THE MAKING OF THIS FILM. I HAVE MY LIFE BACK. For those who wrote that halfway through the film they doubted the film and it’s claims, try changing your diet and see what happens. OUR FOOD TODAY IS POISONING US! FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT CAN’T SEE THAT, OR BELIEVE IT…..WELL, IT’S YOUR LOSE!

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    • I’m glad to hear that you’ve made such vast improvements to your health by changing your diet. I wouldn’t dispute that diet has a HUGE impact on health (I wouldn’t be a dietitian if I didn’t believe it).

      The issue I had with the film was not the promotion of healthy food but the promotion of supplements accompanied by false claims.

      I hope that you continue to experience good health with your current lifestyle.

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  24. Thanks Diana!! Great post, and very helpful for me to get a read on where reality might lie. This postmodern world where you can find experts to support any contention often makes this difficult for the non-specialist. Obviously corporate interests do compromise the integrity of standard and “conventional” research in ways that are hard to know. We end up relying on people who we can tell are thoughtful by the ways that they write and present information (and respond to others).

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  25. I recently bought a protein powder from them. The taste of the coconut i n the product tasted as if the coconut oil went rancid. I know because I have made my own coconut milk before. When I emailed to send the product back they act as if I am being over dramatic and would not respond to giving me any return. I really trusted them but after this experience I really question their motives.

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  26. Hey Diana,

    The main reason I liked the film, was that it made me think about the quality of our food (the part in the very beginning about how old our food is). I personally know an apple farmer, who sometimes refrigerates his produce for up to a year, until there is a shortage in the market, and he then, gets a better price. Surely he is not alone in this. How much nutrition could be left in one of those apples? It makes sense to me then, that even if you follow a healthy diet (or what you believe to be a healthy diet) you would need supplements.

    Apologies for the english

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  27. I just watched this film and felt the exact same way – vaguely expecting a pop-up ad for their special brand of vitamin supplements. And the “experts” were all a little shifty….

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  28. For those that are interested I have done a big go through of almost every claim made in the film. It’s very rough around the edges but there is plenty of research to go with it. I’ve included a link. If that’s not OK feel free to just remove this comment.

    http://blatantninja.wordpress.com/why-food-matters-but-the-film-doesnt/

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  29. Enjoyed your critique. I found the trailer interesting, but little I wasn’t aware of (except how ingredients are tweaked to trigger etc.; which I knew to a degree. What I felt was that it was being watched by mostly people who are food aware, and needs to be seen by the ‘others’. Also, I felt the delivery (especially by one of them in particular) was somewhat “Evangelical”. They would lose anyone that really needed to see it because of the ’emphatic delivery’.

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  30. Great post! I am a nutritionist and I think exactly the same. The movie’s name is Food Matters, but it mostly promotes the use of supplements. Also, they promote super foods which are expensive and nutrition shouldn’t be about buying expensive things, but eating a variety of majorly plant foods, not even organic, because that’s unrealistic for most people. I think this movie only got people more confused about real nutrition. Instead people should read a book by Dr. John McDougall or Dr. Neal Barnard, or T. Colin Campbell, these guys know what they’re talking about!

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  31. Pingback: Food Matters 3-Day Detox Review | R E I N V E N T I T U D E

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  33. Well, point taken on some of this review especially using nutrients to treat cancer. However I’d like to point out that if we applied the same skepticism toward big pharma it’s a much easier argument to make. We expect the big pop up add for vitamins because we’re so used to that – and there wasn’t one. Orthomolecular medicine has been around since the 30’s. Linus Pauling was one of its pioneers and was awarded the Nobel Prize twice. Illness is not caused by a lack of medication, but poor nutrition can lead to illness and chronic poor nutrition can lead to serious chronic illness. Gerson Coffee enemas, no thanks! Whole foods, more fruit and veg, less animal protein, and a good daily vitamin, bring it on.

    Some people can really benefit from large doses of certain nutrients and there is very good research for some of this. Abram Hoffer, Roger Williams, Linus Pauling. No vitamin company in the world would go to the trouble of running a misinformation campaign just to sell more vitamins.

    My 2 cents. Much more good than bad. Too bad Netflix pulled the title from their library, there must have been something behind it. If someone did everything recommended in Food Matters they’d still be 10x better off than eating at McDonalds. I think it was more about motivating change and not meant to be taken literally.

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  34. I wonder why anytime someone try’s to give good advice on eating healthy someone else feels compelled to tear them apart. These people are not selling anything, they only stating the truth, if you eat healthy you will be healthy.

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  35. Thanks so much for including the article from Beyond Veg! It was very well written and provided answers I was looking for. Loved this article as well, thanks for posting!

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  36. These good points were hugely overshadowed by the bad points:
    The nutritionists who made the film are both graduates from The Global College of Natural Medicine which is listed on Quack Watch as a school not accredited by a recognised accrediting agency
    ( Yes they admitted their work was recognized in the documentary, they openly said this, you’ve said this like its a big secret, they didn’t hide this)

    They allege that cooked food is basically toxic to the body through the process of digestive leukocytosis. This is based on a distortion of questionable research by Kouchakoff in 1930. If you want to read more about this topic check out the article on Beyond Veg. In actual fact, the cooking of some foods makes nutrients more biologically available.
    ( No, they said that when you cook the food a lot of the nutrients are taken away from it, they never said ” eating cooked food is basically toxic)

    There’s some pushing of “superfoods” which are a made-up phenomenon. There are arguments for any whole food to be a superfood.
    (Their are super foods, as in different foods give can give you more that one nutrient etc etc, not going to go into it)

    It’s purported that the residual deficiency from one day of poor eating can’t be compensated for with a healthy diet on subsequent days so nutrient supplements are necessary. Oh please, one day of crappy eating does not mean you have to start popping vitamin supplements the following day.
    (Yes, in many instances in the human body, when you cause damage to the body in all cases, it take longer for the body to recover, than it was for it to get damaged)

    Most of the talk about nutrition being used to improve health is translated into the pushing of vitamin supplements. Um, how about actually eating a healthy diet?
    ( No, they say to eat health and vitamins can help you have all your daily needs, because it is very hard to get all your needs in one day)

    The use of megadoses of niacin are recommended for treatment of depression and alcoholism. However, there is insufficient evidence for the use of niacin in treating these conditions and high doses of niacin can lead to serious side effects including liver problems, loss of vision, and irregular heartbeat. I think it’s dangerous that “experts” are encouraging people to self-medicate using megadoses of vitamins.
    (Niacin has huge side affects, hahaha get your head out of the bowl, who told you that, wikipedia?)

    It’s suggested that we need colonics and detox diets and that they can lead to huge amounts of weight loss through flushing of toxins through the bowel. Apparently exercise is dangerous because we’re losing toxins through our skin!!?
    ( no they are saying it is better to lose toxins through the bowel so they exit your body rather than stay inside you.)

    There’s discussion about the Max Gerson cancer therapy, which allegedly cured cancer through nutrition therapy and megadoses of vitamin C. There is no evidence that his method is at all effective. Further to this, it’s suggested that “a normal healthy body can’t get cancer.” I think that’s offensive to people who get cancer. Especially those who live healthy lives. Yes, a healthy diet strengthens your immune system. Is it guaranteed to protect you from cancer? No.
    ( this i sort of agree with you, im sure what they are trying to say, is that if you stay health, eat the right food, exercise etc etc, its can be much easier to avoid cancer, and get rid of it, but regardless anyone can get cancer, but i believe anybody can beet it, but also dont forget about family history)

    Even though the title of the film is Food Matters hardly any of the film is about food. It’s basically a massive nutritional supplement commercial. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the producers had a vested interested in the supplement store they promote on the film’s website.

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    • Just out of curiosity, what are your credentials?

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      • why would it matter? I was just stating what the video said, not saying if any of it was true. You were saying things that never happend in the video.

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      • Because it seemed that you were in support of the film which is not based on fact and were refuting my evidence-based comments. I didn’t say your qualifications “mattered”. I was just curious what they were as you are clearly opinionated on the subject.

        I did not at any point misrepresent the film and don’t appreciate this inaccurate accusation.

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  37. Thanks for your post Diana. I got 18 minutes into this movie and became very suspicious of their advocacy of high does of vitamin supplements. From what I’ve read we can get all the nutrition we need from a healthy diet.

    We all need to be health conscious but we also need to be skeptical of what we read and hear. Consuming the bad information that marketers feed us can be as unhealthy as consuming a bad diet. Unfortunately, Netflix ranked this movie as 4.5/5 stars. So much for Netflix ranking.

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  38. This is a very accurate description of the movie. I just warned the film and it is all about pushing so called super foods, which they happen to sell on their website. They are not saying food matters, but vitamin and superfood supplements, which they sell, matter. Great review.

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  39. Worst review I’ve ever read. You’d made your mind up after 6 minutes of watching so I’m not sure why you bothered with the rest, or with writing a stroppy and selective review. The film wasn’t perfect but certainly had far more to offer than what you have stated.

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    • I’m a nutritional consultant and food researcher and have helped many people successfully with their health over the years. Daniel, I totally agree with every word you said about this review. I have watched Food Matters more than twice, and its not perfect but taken as a whole, it promotes a healthy lifestyle. Following suggestions on the film, my health has DRAMATICALLY improved! ps) its not about “credentials”.

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  40. Why don’t people spend their time writing reviews on how disgusting the pharmaceutical industries are and how outrageous is that most doctors don’t have any knowledge regarding nutrition?
    I have seen so many doctors these past years for an hormonal issue I have, and nobody NOBODY has ever asked me: what do you eat? do you drink enough water?
    No. All they do is prescribe more drugs which are giving me awful sides effects.

    Let’s focus on those issues, shall we?

    Everyone has the right to say whatever they want, but some people wrote in the comments above that after reading your review they are not going to watch the documentary! I find it very sad.
    We are focusing on the wrong thing here, wake up people!!!
    The system has to change!!! And even if this documentary wasn’t always accurate, at least it gives us a clear idea on how disrespectful the medical system is and how many things they are not telling us.

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    • I think the fact that people are so keen to buy into the sort of pseudoscientific nonsense in Food Matters is evidence in itself of the fact that the North American medical system often fails us.

      I don’t think that calling the filmmakers out on their misinformation is focusing on the wrong issue though. There are many issues in the world and the focus of my blog is on food and nutrition; not the medical complex.

      I hope that you manage to find help soon!

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  41. I just watched a good food documentary, “Forks over Knives”, an advocacy for moving toward a plant based diet for overall improved health and control of diseases. It was inspirational as opposed to the “Food Matters” documentary that I considered to be mainly a promotion of certain dietary supplements. (In fairness I didn’t watch all of “Food Matters” because the promotional aspect bothered me too much.)

    I would love to see a plant based diet compared with an Eskimo diet.

    The main, consistent point of these and several similar documentaries is that people need to be aware of the fact that what they eat has a significant impact on how well they live. Americans typically have bad diets and tend not to be healthy.

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  42. I just tried to watch this document second time. I were able to watch 10 minutes and I had to stop. Too much BS. One thing I noticed in the beginning was that they didn’t even introduce the “experts”. With that came up my first questions about the quality of the “experts”.

    I have noticed that all documents in Netflix are about promoting raw food or vegan food. Don’t know the reason but I would hope hope variety there.

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  43. Hi, Diana. I went in search of reviews while watching the film when I heard a couple alarming statements, like cooked food is toxic to the body. I completely disagree, as do some of the biggest names in plant based nutrition. However, I can see by comments above how this documentary is helpful if it’s the first one you’re seeing about nutrition. Most people haven’t heard that food really does matter.

    I also wanted to address your response to the person who said a friend cured type 2 diabetes with diet. You said a person can “control” diabetes well with diet, but it absolutely can be completely reversed. Watch the documentary SIMPLY RAW, REVERSING DIABETES on YouTube.

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    • There is still no cure for T2 diabetes. Yes, you can often manage it without medications but it’s not completely reversed or cured and without maintaining lifestyle changes the disease will progress. Documentaries can be interesting and informative but are often biased and misleading.

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  44. I got about 5 minutes in and fired up Google “food matters documentary horses**t?” Because I mean… Well I’ve spent this week with flu binging on documentaries (Why not) and this one really stuck out as pushing the supplements… As soon as someone said no cooking food I was like NOPE. anyway, glad you went through it in a more balanced way than me haha

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  45. Thank your for this true words :D I was so annoyed about this propaganda documentary

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  46. It is important to note, though, that our foods are grown in depleted soil and the crops are sprayed with toxic chemicals. Ideally, we should be able to get all of our nutrients from food, but due to circumstances, we cannot. Vitamins do offer us the ability to supplement our diets. even if we manage to avoid processed foods, it remains difficult for us to get all the nutrients we need from food alone.

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    • We can get the vast majority of nutrients we need from food alone. While some people may need some supplements, no one should take megadoses of anything without supervision from their doctor.

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  47. Were Norman Cousins’ experiences in Anatomy of an Illness a quackery? Not asking rhetorically. Thank you.

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  48. Hi Diana

    I happened across your blog after doing some research into the many documentaries I’ve been watching on Netflix and other websites. A google search of “food matters documentary” returned your blog on near the bottom of page 1 so thought I’d take a look.

    I read with eager anticipation at first, and then became amazed at how someone could poke holes so eagerly and with so much enthusiasm towards a documentary (one of many) that is trying to highlight issues with the information provided to the general public for our well-being when it comes to nutrition.

    Insert here where you are thinking of where I get off questioning your views and what my educational background is. I’d firstly like to respond to some of your “bad points”…

    – Quack Watch. Wow. Who says that “Stephen Barrett M.D.” is god of all things? It is well known of the limited nutrition education that doctors are provided with during their training. Old methods are still adopted based on dinosaur philosophies (30-40 years). Drugs are prescribed for most to all health conditions. Pharmaceutical companies reap.
    Quack Watch has as much substance and credibility as the name suggests. Anyone has the ability to nominate a company/institution that they have an issue with, especially one that challenges current methods/beliefs. Make up your own mind and do your own research.

    – Superfoods are not a “phenomenon”. They have been labelled as such by people who have become indoctrinated under outdated nutrition teachings and simply cannot fathom that there exist such foods that are so nutritionally rich and can provide multiple benefits naturally!

    – Vitamin supplements; are for those who may not necessarily have access to a healthy diet. Be it a lack of fresh produce, lack of regular mobility, or budget constraints. I’m sure you find it all too easy getting down to your local grocer/market to obtain only the freshest ingredients every couple of days.

    – Megadoses of vitamins being recommended for treatment of serious health conditions; how else are you supposed to obtain funding for research if this option is flatly disregarded from the outset? We have become stuck in this regimented culture (taking in whatever is preached) that trusts an incompetent and outdated medical/food industry. It is not in the food industry’s, nor the major pharmaceutical industry’s, best interests to enable this, let alone advocate for it.

    – You reference the lack of evidence again for theories brought up in the documentary – because they have never been tested. Are you aware that the bulk of research performed in the United States is funded by the pharmaceutical companies themselves, be it directly or indirectly. They make far too much money sticking with the status quo. Why look for alternatives unless the public become aware of alternatives and demand (ethical) research.

    Overall your blog was littered with cynical views and is often exactly the reason why alternative options are so slow to reach the public, if at all. I also gleaned a complete lack of appreciation of what needs to happen for change on a grand scale. Almost forgot, I am a civil engineer with an open mind.

    I also highly recommend the “Fed Up” 2014 documentary and would love to read your views.

    Wake up Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry that you were so eager to accept the information conveyed in a biased documentary that you would be so eager to dismiss my critique. While you’re entitles to your opionion, I happen not to be inclined to lend credibility to a documentary with an agenda simply because there are issues with the current medical and scientific system. Just because there is an issue with one way of doing things doesn’t mean that throwing the baby out with the bathwater will fix things. The therapies mentioned in the film are potentially dangerous and provide false hope to desperate people. And “superfoods” are not a thing.

      You’re in luck, I did watch the film Fed Up. Feel free to search my blog for my review which I’m sure you will take exception to.

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      • Chemo IS dangerous, radiation IS dangerous, treating chronic diseases with medication does NOT work otherwise we would be a healthy human population. And yes, superfoods are a thing, and someone labeled them as such because they confer superior nutrition. The “balanced diet” pushed by medical doctors and most dieticians DOES NOT WORK. Whole plant based diets coupled with nutrition therapies reverse chronic diseases. Angiograms taken before and after switching to a whole plant based diet showed reversal of heart disease in clinical trials performed by cardiologists. In just a few weeks people adopting this lifestyle saw their blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, triglicerides lowered. My blood work turned 180 degrees for the better while on this lifestyle. Good luck with your “balanced diet”, pharma approach. I plan on living a vibrant, long life free of chronic diseases.

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  49. Do you believe the food grown (e.g. meat) and farmed (e.g. non-meat) today is as nutritionally-rich as it was let’s say 50 to 75 years ago? Is there any truth to the soil not being and rich, and the techniques used today (such as antibiotics, growth promoting hormones, maturation enhancers, etc.) reduce the nutritional value of food? Again, not a rhetorical question, no agenda, simply seeking opinions. BTW, I take 2 fish oil supplements a day for elevated triglycerides and that’s it. All of my panels are within normal range (except for the triglyc’s)..no other meds. I am just trying to say that I don’t take any vitamins. I was intrigued by the Vitamin Bible in the last 70s, but never found the recommended protocols to work. I have an open mind and would like to invite the opinions of others. Thank you.

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    • I’m honestly not sure Tanner. Research on these things is so often biased and results have been mixed. I do think that nutrients in our (fresh) food are likely depleted as crops travel so far and spend so much time in stores and in our fridges before we eat them but I don’t know if the way crops are grown are having a significant impact on the nutrients. It’s good motivation to eat locally when possible. As for use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock that’s certainly a concern for our health, if not the nutritional profile of the animal products.

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  50. Bravo. I watched the doc for 10 minutes and then looked over internet to see if I was the only to be horrified at this propaganda… I am glad you took the time to write down this article ;-)

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  51. Quite accurate review. Thanks to make me discover bitemywords

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  52. Hi Diana,
    I came across this blog after viewing the food matters documentary. I do agree that few things in the documentary- the most important being, high doses of vitamins can cure many things including cancer, depression and heart disease etc., requires more research. However I would like to emphasize also the fact- that these days we are not getting right when it comes to our food habits.. I have been a patient of allergies, polyps etc for which the treatment which was done over years with antibiotics and NSAIDs + my food habits have ended me with Borderline Barrett’s, esophagitis etc..I do not blame the pharma industry here alone,I was also not having my food habits right (stress, lots of coffee etc). The topic is very controversial but overall I believe our view on food should change, and sometimes overdoing with good food is not going to affect. But provided the food should be in the original form not in the so called supplements form- here again we both would then end up eating loads of excipients rather than the good original nutrient.

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  53. Your points in opposition to this DVD aren’t valid. You’re clearly a novice in the subject; some kind of kid who sits in his room all day on the pc making assumptions.

    There is an abundance of evidence that the Gerson Therapy has cured cancer – for example the people who have cured themselves of Cancer. The evidence isn’t publicised because big pharma likes it that way. Just watch the seminars with Charlotte Gerson who has nutrition down to a science – she knows the facts about health, the pharmaceutical companies agenda, what makes foods deficient, what soils need to be efficient and so on.
    She isn’t making this stuff up.

    Secondly when they say that ‘a healthy body can’t get cancer’ that is true because cancer can only survive in a certain kind of environment. If someone gets cancer then there is an aberration in the body – something that is not healthy/ something that is not in harmony with nature. If we stopped polluting the air with vehicles etc and all ate healthily as well as negated any negative emotion you would rarely hear about cases of cancer

    The comment you made about the ‘Global College of Natural Medicine not being accredited’, that is likely to be due to the fact that the system does not want these schools of nutrition to be accredited due to the fact that if everyone adhered to what these nutritional schools teach – especially what is taught in the FOODMATTERS documentary – we’d see disease fall to almost zero which would put big pharma and other companies out of business. The system needs us to be sick, depressed and gullible in order for them to thrive/make vast amounts of money/stay in power.

    I do agree with you on the point you made about these documentaries promoting multi-vitamins in order to push the profits up on the sales of those products, but i do believe that they are right when they say that if we eat correctly and get toxins out of our lives disease will go away.

    It astounds me when people try to slander these documentaries which teach the truth and will save mankind
    from their ills if we adhere to their message.
    Living out of harmony with nature – or in harmony with the laws of disease – is the cause of ALL disease, and living in harmony with nature – in harmony with the laws of health (Purity, correct activity) cures ALL disease.

    Please just live by the laws which these documentaries teach (minus taking the vitamin pills if you so choose) because eating correctly and ridding the planet of toxicity will rid man of virtually all disease.
    Our current paradigm: drive to work, eat food-like products, take pharmaceuticals and so on is causing all of the disease we have on earth so by universal law the opposite of that has to cure everything. It’s that simple!

    Any argument to the contrary of what i’ve just said will be an injustice to the public because slandering this subject – the fact that healthy food heals and toxins cause disease (what is taught in the FOODMATTERS documentary!) – sends people back into confusion i.e. into thoughts like “What is true?”, “What should i do?”, “Maybe i should just trust my doctor and take pharmaceuticals”, “Nobody knows the truth about what causes and cures disease, so i’m just going to keep living how i am! (eating crap food, poisoning the air with car fumes, arguing with loved ones, thinking bad things) which leads to disease being maintained, pharmaceutical companies getting away with poisoning people for profit, government remaining in power and suppressing the public as well as raging war world-wide!

    Live healthily and you’ll heal. Simple!

    :)

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    • I will say that medicine always has many warnings and everybody is different. I thought Foodmatters was very informative that we need to learn how and what to eat. Being in my 50’s I know that no one has all the answers. And all medicines are experiments and the body responds differently in each case. In my opinion you watched Foodmatters with a mostly negative attitude just like the people in Foodmatters are mostly negative towards medicine. Unless I’m wrong and you have all the answers to being healthy. I’ve heard sun gazing is great for your health. I’ll listen to you how do I lose 80 lbs and get rid of any health issues that will come up in my life?

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      • It’s my job to know about nutrition so I do feel equipped to be critical about documentaries on the subject.

        Ethically, I cannot provide advice to people on the internet. I could lose my licence for that. If you are looking for nutrition counselling, I recommend finding a registered dietitian in your area who can help you meet your goals. Good luck.

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  54. > “Further to this, it’s suggested that “a normal healthy body can’t get cancer.” I think that’s offensive to people who get cancer.”

    Your definition of “healthy” must akin to politician’s definition of “moral” — flexible.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. I really do not agree with your review. I have taken the suggestions and recommendations expressed in the film and have basically cured my won thyroid cancer and diabetes through certain vitamin supplements and minerals. You basically work in the medical field and are reluctant to think that something other than drugs or medical treatments will work. I have fixed my own health problems by taking responsibility of my own health.

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    • While I am glad to hear that your health has improved anecdotes are not on par with scientific evidence.

      I do not “basically work in the medical field” actually. It is not that I’m reluctant to believe that treatments other than drugs work. It’s that I am reluctant to believe that miracle “cures” peddled by charlatans are effective.

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  56. As a diabetic, I have consulted with dieticians and they have been little help to me. Most, if not all, have suggested I put cancer causing artificial sweeteners in my coffee. What kind of advice is this? We are talking about the human body which does not respond well to anything artificial, albeit chemical sweeteners or synthetic drugs. My point being, I am sick and tired of professional emphasizing that they are “professionals’ in their field of work. Doctors, dieticians, etc all can give people some bad and unhealthy advice simply because they believe only in what they have been trained to believe in and refuse to explore any other possible. Professionals have ruined my health by prescribing and giving me medical advice that has made me sicker and sicker until I had no more quality of life left. I have decided to put my health into my own hands and the results have been positively immense. If I had continued listening to “professionals” and their fixed ways of thinking, I would still be alive to continue buy my prescription medication but at the same time I would have had no quality of life. Today, I am strong and healthy only because I decide what is best for me. The medical professions needs to wake up and start training doctors to include nutritional therapy. As a dietician, you should agree not refute.

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  57. I do not care if the film promotes vitamins and minerals. I don’t care if vitamin and mineral makers make money. They should make money because from my experience they work extremely well. I hope they make all the money in the world because what they emphasize is true. They are providing us with an easy way to be healthy and prevent diseases. Since I got on nutrition, vitamin and mineral therapy, my diabetes and cancer have been resolved and I no longer need disgusting drugs that kept me alive but very sick. Drugs keep you alive long enough so that you can keep on buying them to suppress the symptoms only. Who’s making a profit now? The health care system wants us to be sick not healthy. When people are sick, doctors, and dieticians get more business, thus they make more money, too. So, who should be making the money? Personally, I would not hesitate it to give it to the makers of organic vitamins and mineral supplements, and not to those crappy pharmaceutical industry makers of vitamins and minerals who use synthetic substances in their products similar to the drugs they make. My money goes to the organic supplement makers. Why not?

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