The Magic Pill: A Film Review
This film is about an hour and a half long. The producer Pete Evans may be better known as one of the judges on the Australian ‘My Kitchen Rules’ series. The film looks at the merits of the ketogenic diet. Ketogenic basically means eating a diet that is high-fat, adequate-protein and low-carbohydrate. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet was originally used by physicians in the 1920s to treat epilepsy but was largely abandoned in favour of new anticonvulsant drugs. It is proposed that as a species this diet may better suit our biochemistry and, if done correctly, could be one way of alleviating or preventing chronic diseases and brain conditions. Our brains are made up of 60% fat. However, this turns the whole low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet on its head. It pretty much turns the food pyramid up-side-down. Governing health bodies believe the diet to be controversial, unscientific and a threat to public health. The Health Professions Council of South Africa spent three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars prosecuting Tim Noakes, emeritus professor and scientist, with a charge of misconduct after he gave low-carbohydrate, high-fat dietary advice to a weening mother on twitter.
The film follows the progress of a group of indigenous people, the Yolngu, on a 10 day ‘Hope for Health’ retreat. All the participants suffer from diabetes and other chronic diseases, unheard of among these people before their introduction to the western diet. It also follows the progress of a young family with an autistic 5 year old girl, Abigail, an autistic boy, an asthmatic singer and two women moving fearfully into later life. All the participants are on a cocktail of medications to keep their chronic conditions under control and all are ready to try the ketogenic diet. Could embracing good fats and drastically reducing carbs be the key to better health? Is a radical re-think needed? One woman featured, says the disappearance of her breast cancer tumour is due to the ketogenic diet. A brave lady to declare this to a world that might not want to listen.
Easy viewing with no high-pitched drama, the film gently opens us up to the idea that perhaps we have moved away from our connection with the land, the nature of food and even our own natural instincts when it comes to eating. Lost!! But there is ‘Hope for Health’. You will see that it is not easy to begin making dietary changes and that this particular approach really goes against the ‘grain’ 🙂 and the tide. You will be inspired by the results these brave people achieved in a relatively short time. They share their personal stories to show others that they have found a way back to better health.
Abigail stole the show. If you want to keep up with how she is doing now her dad made a blog to share their story. You can find it by clicking here.