Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Food matters but the film does not

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My review of the film Food Matters was originally posted last April.

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.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

One thought on “Food matters but the film does not

  1. Couldn’t agree more! I was so excited to watch this film when it first came out, thinking that it was actually about FOOD. It was a very disappointing documentary.


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