Review: Food Matters

After watching Food Inc. and Julie & Julia on NetFlix, their system has decided that I like food movies. (It’s not rocket science, people.) So this weekend it recommended Food Matters. I had never heard of it, but the synopsis sounded promising:

With a staggering number of Americans suffering from obesity and other food-related maladies, this film takes a timely and hard-hitting look at how the food we eat is helping or hurting our health, and what we can do to live (and eat) better.

Sounds good so far, right? Sadly, I found it very disappointing.

Preaching to the choir

Some documentaries present information without comment, allowing the viewer to draw their own conclusions. Others — like Food, Inc.; An Inconvenient Truth; anything by Michael Moore — display a clear point of view, and advocate for that position. Either method can be effective.

But if you’re going the advocacy route, you have to make a decision: Who is my audience? Am I trying to change the minds of people who disagree with my point? Trying to convince the undecided? Providing support for those who already agree with me? Food Matters comes down hard in the last category.

Everyone interviewed for the movie is an advocate for a diet consisting primarily of raw plants, with high-dose vitamin supplements. Several of them present arguments based on “common sense” with very little, if anything, in the way of scientific of statistical support. They do mention a few numbers, in terms of how much of the diet should be raw for optimum health (80%, by the way) but with no reference to scientific basis for the claims.

I don’t sing that tune

I don’t favor a raw plant diet. So every time I heard a claim about how beneficial it was, I thought, “According to whom? What is the proof?” And the answer was … silence. I didn’t see any evidence presented to back up the claims.

If you already favor a raw plant diet — and if you do, welcome to the site, may I suggest a few recipes — then you might enjoy 80 minutes watching people tell you that you’re right.

Me? I want that 80 minutes back.