A Tale of Two Videos part one


To be fair, I want to mention a couple of things before I begin. First, I am not approaching this subject as an advocate of anything other than the Christian Etic of stewardship. You are entirely free to agree or disagree with my choices; I have no stake financially or otherwise in any of this. I’m simply reporting what I’ve found on a subject that we should probably consider seriously as stewards of our own bodies. Second, in comparing these two videos, I have a natural inclination in the direction of Forks Over Knives because I was influenced many years ago by reading Jane Body’s Good Food Book which advocates a high carbohydrate, low fat approach to nutrition, which the Keto proponents trash in their video. It has more or less been the way I have approached nutrition and menu planning for the last 30-plus years, and while I have not always followed closely, it has been my general way of looking at things.

Here We Go…

Getting started, I found the two documentary videos on Netflix, both are widely touted by their supporters, one that advocates the Keto approach to diet that is called The Magic Pill, and one that advocates Forks Over Knives, a vegan approach, called Forks Over Knives. To be completely honest with you, they both make amazing health claims, they both have their points, and they both have their problems, in my view. Two observations strike me as telling about them: First, they both make nearly identical health claims, which seems odd to me, since each arrives at their result by doing what the other says will kill you. How can a person not ask how they could both be right? The other point is that each one has as part of its appeal, a grand conspiracy of government and industry to keep the Truth from the people about nutrition, and that strikes me as silly, for in my experience, this world we live in, is really not all that well organized; sooner or later, someone spills the beans.

My General Impressions

The Magic Pill Trailer

The Good:

  • The video was well-produced, interesting and held my attention. If you watch it, you won’t be bored.
  • I thought the case studies were quite good, they were informative and believable; I didn’t walk away thinking anybody faked anything, and that doesn’t happen very often.
  • I also walked away with the impression that the people in the video were sincere in what they were telling us, that they really believed what they were saying.
  • The basis of the video came from actual observations of the Aboriginal people of Australia. They showed how this ancient people of hunter-gatherers were damaged by the introduction of the rich Western diet, and how that introduction into their culture resulted in the people there, who had never really experienced heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer went in a relatively short time from healthy to very unhealthy when they made the transition. The introduction of the Western diet decimated them, and it appears clear that that diet, our diet, was to blame, and that reverting to a diet more like the one they had eaten for thousands of years seems to have reversed the situation.

The Bad

  • They had no problem giving sources for some of our dietary thinking of the past, but their sourcing of their own statistics was not much in evidence in the video.
  • Their approach to diet is expensive, even one of the people in a case study said that to be healthy costs a lot of money, and that would certainly be the case if the main thing you are eating is meat, particularly when that meat must be range fed. I live in Iowa, good luck finding that here, this is corn country, and we have corn fed everything, not range fed.

The Ugly

  • The Magic Pill completely misrepresented the high carb, low fat diet because they entirely neglected to mention that the carbs are whole, not processed. At one point, they dramatized the dangers of the other approach by saying that it includes Lucky Charms and Coca-Cola, which it most certainly does not, and you can reference Jane Body’s best seller for the proof of this, and I’m sure the people who produced the video either know this, or with reasonable diligence, they should know it.
  • Personally, I thought they relied way too heavily on the conspiracy angle as they kept coming back to it throughout the video.

OK, this has been a good start, next time I’ll give my view of the good, bad and ugly of the Forks Over Knives video, see you then.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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9 Responses to A Tale of Two Videos part one

  1. DWMartens says:

    “How can a person not ask how they could both be right?” The law of non-contradiction enters in here, that contradictory statements cannot both be true. BUT, they can both be false! 😎 (Just noting the logic category of your question.)

    • Don Merritt says:

      That’s quite true, they can both be false. Yet they can both be true also IF the underlying assumption of mutual exclusivity is removed, but can it be in this case? That’s a little doubtful.

  2. DWMartens says:

    Yeah, me again! “… this is corn country, and we have corn fed everything, not range fed.” Even those who eat the deer that are hunted in “corn country” say that the venison doesn’t taste very “wild” due to the deer eating the corn growing in the fields a few weeks before harvest. And, they glean the fallen and missing corn after harvest.

  3. Just cut out bread and you’ll be fine.

  4. CattleCapers says:

    It’s hard to know sometimes what is the best diet because I’ve recently read two highly touted diet books that contradict each other. I think it’s partly because we’re all individuals and built differently. I tried the vegan diet and got B12 anemia even though I was taking B12 drops. Some people can adapt to the diet, some cannot. I guess it might be a matter of trying different diets till you find the one that works best for you/myself.

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