My first reaction to viewing the trailer (above), then the full documentary, The Magic Pill, was surprise and gratitude that—finally—somebody got the dietary message right.
This isn’t the usual semi-scientific misinterpretation that dominates food documentaries nor a misinformed defense of the status quo. Weaving together a story from varied sources such as journalist, Nina Teicholz, for instance, to recount how the “science” of low-fat nutrition gained traction but was little more than misinterpretation and misrepresentation. Or author and former vegan, Lierre Keith, and organic farmer, Joel Salatin, to provide insights into genuine sustainability and the circle of interdependence among animals, plants, and earth. Or author Nora Gedgaudas to provide the long-term anthropological perspective and the dietary lessons it can yield. Put it all together, combined with chronicles of several impressive and heartwarming health turnarounds unfolding after only several weeks of dietary change (including transformations of two children with autistic spectrum disorder) and the end-result is an enlightening and persuasive illustration of the power of clear thinking on nutrition. I hope that The Magic Pill will serve as a sobering slap to help viewers shake off the uncertainties that come from hearing so many conflicting dietary views.
Filmmakers Rob Tate and Pete Evans deliver a clear and powerful message. There are few messages as necessary and prescriptive as the one they convey in Magic Pill. In the U.S. alone, we suffer a daily barrage of TV and print advertising from the food and now the pharmaceutical industries—because the wrong message is highly profitable. My hope is that, the more people who view this film, the more will join the movement to take back individual control over health and disengage from the predatory disinformation campaign of these industries.
Fighting the disinformation campaign of industry is going to occupy us for many decades. It has gotten so bad in the U.S. that mainstream weight loss and nutrition programs are clueless and actually contribute to disease, direct-to-consumer drug ads now dominate advertising revenues and thereby make network and cable TV resistant to airing ANY opinions that might antagonize Big Pharma. Network and cable TV are more about supporting their advertisers than providing real discussion and objective reporting. It means that efforts like The Magic Pill and social media are going to be the only outlets we have to disseminate messages contrary to the mainstream media marketing message.
Not unexpectedly, and much to my delight, release of the film in Australia in late 2017 sparked outrage from defenders of the dietary low-fat status quo, such as Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon, who lamented that “elements of the discussion are just plain hurtful, harmful and mean.” I hope that The Magic Pill is as hurtful and mean among as many people as possible, but provocative and thought-provoking enough to have people question the absurd dietary message that prevails today.