When reading the stories behind numerous diet changes, it always seems that film is a catalyst for inspiring good health. Various food documentaries have hit the masses with eye opening footage, facts, and research about America’s food industry. Whether it be the truth behind meat production in the United States or how many harmful chemicals are used as food preservatives, documentary filmmakers seem to be leading food awareness campaigns and show no sign of stopping. Below are five food documentaries that will change your life.
Food, Inc. – Filmmaker Robert Kenner exposes how a handful of corporations put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers, and the environment. The United States’ food supply has fallen into the hands of executives (with government consent) that advocate for bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, and even tomatoes that won’t go bad, by any means necessary. But all of these “perfect” foods have severe consequences, including new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually, widespread obesity—particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. Food, Inc. says open your eyes, and numerous Americans finally see. Let’s hope we don’t become what we eat.
Forks Over Knives – Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a top surgeon and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, explore the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. Two out of every three Americans are overweight, cases of diabetes are exploding, and approximately half of Americans are taking at least one prescription drug. Major medical operations have become routine, helping to drive health care costs to astronomical levels. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country’s three leading causes of death, despite the fact that billions are spent each year to “battle” these very conditions. Millions suffer from a host of other degenerative diseases. Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn say there’s a better way. In the film, cameras follow “reality patients” who have chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes. Doctors teach these patients how to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments – while the challenges and triumphs of their journeys are revealed.
Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days – Dr. Gabriel Cousens, a well known holistic medical doctor and authority on alternative healing and raw living food nutritional therapies, challenges six Americans with diabetes to switch to a diet consisting entirely of vegan, organic, uncooked food in order to reverse the disease without pharmaceutical medication. No meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, soda, junk food, fast food, processed food, packaged food, and even cooked food for 30 days. The documentary follows each participant’s remarkable journey, capturing the medical, physical, and emotional transformations brought on by this radical diet and lifestyle change. The film reveals, with startling clarity, that diet can reverse disease and change lives.
Food Matters – Filmmakers James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch expose the trillion dollar worldwide ‘sickness industry’ and provide people with scientifically verifiable alternatives for overcoming illness naturally. The filmmakers interview several leading experts in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer. The film inspires viewers to rethink the belief systems fed to us by our modern medical and health care establishments.
Meet Your Meat – The infamous People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals aka PETA created this documentary to uncover the horrific side of factory farming and the origins of many Americans’ meat. Narrated by Alec Baldwin, and directed by Bruce Friedrich and Cem Akin, the 12-minute short shows egg-laying hens in crowded cages the size of a file drawer, castrated cattles with their horns ripped off and third-degree burns, chickens bred and drugged to grow so quickly that their hearts, lungs, and limbs can’t keep up, along with numerous other animal atrocities. While some label the documentary as pure propaganda, it does explore a side of meat production that’s rarely discussed. Critics should take notes.
Have you seen any of the above documentaries? If so, drop your thoughts! Or which films seem most appealing if you haven’t seen any? We’d love to hear your feedback!
Thanks for this list, I’ve been trying to find other documentaries on the topic, I find them to be the best at sobering me up and convicting me in areas that it can be hard to stop certain habits.
Fat, Sick and Nearly dead is a really good one too, it’s on Netflix for those that have a subscription and there is a viewing that’s being shown by Catalyst Juice company if you’re in Philly.
@Donna: I agree that FAT, SICK, AND NEARLY DEAD is a phenomenal documentary….truly a must see for anyone looking to improve their health as a life change before resorting to prescription meds.
Food Inc was an eye opener, I lost 19 pounds after seeing it without trying. I stopped eating meat and ate more fruits, veggies and whole grains. I’ll be sure to check out the documentaries.
“King Corn” is another good one to check out…
All of these films should be mandatory viewing in primetime. Americans need to WAKE UP, and get to eating healthy and you will live the life you actually intended for yourself
I have seen three out the five films(Food Inc., Food Matters, and Forks over Knives), and they were eye opening to say the least.
Where can I find these documentaries.
You can find most of these docs on Netflix. Forks over Knives wa eye opening. I still love meat though.
‘Food, Inc.’ was my staple nutritional wellness doc, for some time. But ‘Forks over Knives’ was riveting, and has moved up as a top reference.
Also, agreeing w/ Cindy, ‘King Corn’ is quite interesting and informative, as well.
As always thak you for disseminating good advice.
Raw foodists. Now there’s a group of people I have a problem with. Sorry folks. But pastoralists and hunters the world over have been quite healthy with meat centered diets for thousands of years whether they are Masai, Mongolians, Inuit, or northern Europeans. Raw foodism is a cult. Pure and simple. Diabetes is an insulin problem. Not meat or dairy or any of the other hocus pocus.
@Hoosier: Wow, it isn’t often that you read a comment as ignorant as that! Do you know why insulin production becomes problematic? Yes, certain people are born with a genetic predisposition to diabetes, however these genes require certain environmental factors to be activated. Even the most prone people can avoid diabetes or potentially reverse it with the right diet. The problem with diabetes is mostly sugar. Meat and dairy are ok for people who truly need the high number of calories provided by them. But, meat and dairy are significant in damaging one’s health when consumed in such massive amounts (like what is consumed in your typical American diet), where we are mostly sedentary and very rarely use the calories we take in. Forks Over Knives, one of the documentaries listed in the comments here, provides an excellent example of an incredibly extensive study on the matter, and is very professionally presented.
@Hoosier No one is staying that eating meat of any kind is a sin. All these documentaries are doing is showing you what is happening with that steak or over-sized chicken breast you love. I lived in farming country in Maine and I was a big meat and potatoes type of guy. After seeing these documentaries I changed everything. Here is something for you to ponder; the food industry has been in bed with the government for decades. When they realized they could use a growth hormone to make the meat chain bigger (heavier) and in shorter time, they jumped on it. I remember as a child the debate over hormones in the food and those involved said, “It all cooks out of the food.” Well here is my question, did it really cook out? Or did we store some in our bodies and pass it on to the next generations? The children of today seem to be having a lot of health issues we never had as kids. Could this be from the hormones over the decades building up in our bodies? Or could it be we are finally seeing the results of decades of hormones? Also, it seems the kids of today are being born angrier, why? After watching Food, Inc. I did some homework on my own. They stated that normally it takes approximately six months for a chicken to grow from hatchling to table yet Tyson was doing it in only 43 days.
I went to some private farms to see for myself which statement was true. The private farmers sided with Food, Inc.-six months. Organic farmers said the same thing. Now, if the private farmers stated six months and Tyson is doing it in 43 days, do you really want to eat Tyson? I don’t! As for diabetes, how can you prove that our diets do not cause the problems? You state, “pastoralists and hunters the world over have been quite healthy with meat centered diets for thousands of years…” how can you prove that? There are no written facts to back that up. Our diets cause the medical problems we have and if we are better educated we can take control of our bodies. Besides, if Tyson and other companies like them had nothing to hide, why is it that the farmers who were Tyson farmers in Food, Inc. are no longer in business after talking to the film director? Think about it!
Oh Yeah! I travel the world extensively and a perfect demonstration about our food chain being tainted is the fact that when I go to Guyana, I always lose weight. I went for 3 weeks and dropped 25 pounds. The food there is not bastardized like here and I was eating meat and potatoes allthe time. Their food is all natural, no chemicals, hormones, pesticides…nothing. While I was there I ate three meals a day instead of the 3 meals and snacks I eat when I am in the US. Three meals suffices me which makes me wonder what else is in our food chain to make us eat more! All the European countries eat far less than we do and they are healthier. Eat less, healthier, fewer diseases…makes you wonder about our own food, doesn’t it? But again, no one is telling you you have to change your diet, that is your choice and your choice alone. No one is ganging up on you either. All we are trying to do is ask you to become more food savvy because we want you around a long time. Take care…
Earthlings is a great documentary as well!
@Cierra: Earthling is a really must see docu: no nonsense, straight to the point, as it is,and it covers all items where animals are used in (as pets, as entertainment, as clothing, as food and as test-objects)
i chose to become a vegan after watching Earthlings, it’s mind-blowing
not for children!!
Awesome list, so far I’ve watched Food Inc. and it devestated me how they treat our animals and our farmers. It just gave me a great appreciation for local farmers.
A lot of these movies are watch instantly on Netflix.
Food inc, stayed with me for quite some time.
you can buy all the DVD’s above online at loveamericabuysome.com, thanks
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Watch “In Search of the Perfect Human Diet”.
“Forks Over Knives” changed our lives and made us healthy. The other documentaries are good (of the 3 I have seen), but this one can be life-saving. That’s quite a bonus.
Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the easiest factor to consider of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed even as other folks consider issues that they plainly do not realize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and defined out the entire thing without having side-effects , other folks could take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thank you
Another great doc on food, disease and health is ” The Beautiful Truth”. A must see!!!
Each of following are available on Netflix streaming.
The Natural History of the Chicken
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
Forks Over Knives
Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat?
The Future of Food
What’s on Your Plate?
Dirt! The Movie
@Mark: thanks Mark, you made it easy on me with this list 🙂
Thank you Mark – as a teacher looking for resources your list is a gift.
The film”Dive!” is a wonderful independently produced doco about dumpster diving through the garbage of major food markets, mostly Trader Joe’s, and the massive volume of high quality food that is routinely trashed instead of donated. The filmaker and his friends and family have more fine meat, cheeses, fruits and veggies than they can eat or store, so the filmaker begins a journey of trying to reach corportate HQs and establish donation programs. The film is informative, astonishing, funny at some turns, moving. It also inspires. It was clearly produced on a limited budget, but the filmmaker is very creative and ho he makes do within that budget. I highly reccomend it. Netflix has it, on disk and instant play.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a top surgeon and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the world-renowned Cleveland
i’ve just watched the speech of Gary Yourofsky about veganisme on
and I loved it
really hard to watch but a must see docu is Earthlings. I decided to be vegan from the day on I saw it.
An eye opener, impossible to forget!
Well done Mark, great list. Am about to watch ‘Foodmatters’ am interested to see how it can improve my life and those around me. One documentary that has changed my life and that of my family is “In Search of the Perfect Human Diet”. It is a must see. The way of approaching food in this movie makes sense and after practicing this style of eating I am now fitter, smarter, more relaxed and happier. It has reduced swelling in my joints from problems with my ligaments and meniscus tissue, it has helped me to quit smoking, and makes ever moment of every day that much better. In essence I am no longer distracted by the many addictions that surround us (coffee, alcohol, cigs, illicit drugs, sugar, carbs etc). I had never felt content until I began practicing that which is suggested in the documentary. But dont take it from me, watch and make your own opinions, but do give it a chance. Another complimentary watch (nowhere as good as said doc) is “fathead”. Together these movies enable you to make an informed decision about basic nutrition.
Another great documentary is “Vegucated” Has really inspired me to look into the vegan or vegetarian life style. I definitely want to look into the other docs mentioned on here.
There is an HBO documentary in five parts called
“Weight of the nation,” and it is really well done and also on youtube. You all should definitely check it out.
I think this one should be on your list.
I have watched ‘Food Matters’ and “Forks over Knives” and highly recommend them both, I also watched the sequel to ‘Food Matters’ – “Hungry for Change’ and the Sequel to “Forks over Knives – the Extended Interviews, both excellent, one shows the change the ‘Food Matters’ and the other the science behind it ‘Forks over Knives’ Another great documentary is ‘Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead”. The power of a whole plant food diet and avoiding processed foods, meats, and dairy cannot be denied. I have lost 15 lbs in a month and never felt better, trying to loose 40 lbs of unsightly, hold me back, uncomfortable, choking me off – “Walrus Blubber’ that I do not need 1/3 of the way there already!
If Alec Baldwin is a vegan/vegetarian that just shows you something right there. Vegans are very nervous, high strung erratic people. Another famous vegan…Hitler! Nuff said!
i have seen nearly every documentary listed. i am going to watch earthlings…i cant wait to see it. i talk about health and nutrition daily to my family. they are completely against even watching any docs. this saddens me!!!! not for only my family but many others i speak with. i just hear that im crazy for eating healthy. i guess people think that there isnt a variety of food for vegans. this makes me laugh because there is so much more healthy natural food than processed junk that taste like chemicals and flesh. thank you for the suggestions.
you said that people think there isn’t a variety of vegan food and that just makes you laugh because there’s “so much more” healthy vegan food then there is processed fast food crap in the world..I can’t imagine what it is that you’re laughing at..if what you’re saying was even in the ballpark of being true we wouldn’t have this problem..the whole entire point of all these docs and the core of the problem is that the VAST MAJORITY of the food in America is processed genetically modified factory farmed barely edible poison..! It sucks that you can’t get through to your family but keep at..! maybe try getting them to watch some small 2 or 3 minute clips from these docs on youtube or something..? just an idea. .godspeed.
Manger peut-il nuire à la santé?, Eric Guéret
(Can eating harm your health?)
Documentary from France (background: EU food regulations are better than USA … I just can not imagine what people are eating there) … and it is not about diet. 🙂
You can learn what to choose in markets (like Jamie Oliver documentaries, for example Fowl Dinners).
Watched quite a few docs of this nature to educate myself. The first I went with was Food Matters, after that I couldn’t stop researching (!) I do find the Gerson Diet discussed in this prof fairly dodgy (just read what the cancer charities have to say about it) but the rest of it was addictive, and once you have watched it you can’t help but want to know more! I also enjoyed Food Inc and Forks over Knives from this list. Additionally I would recommend Farmageddon and Vegucated. About time the mainstream broadcasters started to talk about this and how doctors are trained by pharm.’s. Since watching these docs I have gone vegan and organic, and started some juicing, and my chronic urticaria and depression have gone away. Still pinching myself a bit and trying to explain that in other ways, but the diet was much more effective than antidepressants and antihistamines, which made me feel odd and fatigued at best. Try what they’re saying for 21 days, just give it a try, you’ll see what I mean.
Here are a few more films to watch… Meat the Truth, Cowspiracy, Fowl Play, Earthlings, Meat and Milk
Your topic is really outstanding and i appreciate your article writing
As an adult living with type 1 diabetes since childhood, which is very different to type 2 diabetes, can you please specify which type you are referring to at all times.