Netflix Documentary "The Magic Pill" Review

If you are as hyped about low carb and the Keto diet as we are, then we are certain you have watched the documentary The Magic Pill on Netflix by now.

If you haven't you should really check it out! It surprised even us Keto experts, so we decided to get an opinion of the documentary from someone that knew little to nothing about the Keto diet.

Here's what she had to say!

The Magic Pill: What Is The Keto Diet Capable Of?

The Magic Pill ​is a riveting documentary that burst into the health world in 2017. With powerful case studies, ​The Magic Pill​ defines and explains the myriad benefits of the keto diet along with history on the human diet. While watching, I was impressed with the significant changes in the lives of participants after they began following the keto diet. In this piece, I’m going to break down the key concepts of the keto diet, summarize this enlightening documentary, and share my overall thoughts and takeaways from the film.

What is Keto? A History

The most basic way to define the keto diet is a diet where one focuses solely on foods that nature provides. As a result, the keto diet is very high in fat content and low in carbohydrate consumption. ​The Magic Pill​ argues that other animals, outside of animals we feed like pets, never struggle with weight gain and they automatically maintain their weight. Unlike humans and our pets, animals do not struggle with obesity and many of the health issues we face.

In addition, humans only began eating copious amounts of carbohydrates when the industrial era hit. The industrial era led to mass production of corn and other grains. Corn was cheap to produce and very profitable for companies. This led to a boom in humans eating higher amounts of carbohydrates in their diet, which led to steady weight gain and health problems over the years. Previously, we ate a very low carb based diet as we could only eat what was available to us in nature, like animals and vegetables. Before the industrial era most humans did not suffer with large amounts of weight gain. Our society had a very different diet and health issues like obesity and diabetes were very minimal or nonexistent. ​The Magic Pill​ connects these dots and insists that a keto diet based on nature’s foods with a focus on high, healthy fat consumption abolishes weight problems and resolves many symptoms from various diseases like diabetes.

Switching To The Keto Diet

During​ The Magic Pill,​ the case studies eliminated processed foods and turned their focus to beneficial, healthy fats rather than sugary carbohydrates. Grains, legumes, and processed fats were completely eliminated from the diet and replaced with pastured meat, sustainable fish and fermented food. Basically taking the current food pyramid and flipping it upside down is a good general rule for how you should consume food on a keto diet. By flipping the food pyramid, fats would be on the bottom (meaning increased consumption) and carbohydrates at the top (meaning less consumption). The keto diet is very different from the traditional American or Australian carbohydrates and processed food heavy diets. The upside down food pyramid was a very helpful visual for me to put my diet in perspective so I’m keeping stored in my mind for reference now.

One of my favorite moments while watching the documentary was the focus on avoiding animal cruelty. Animals hold a very special place in my heart, as they do for many, and a diet that is heavily focused on consuming meat made me feel that more animals would suffer in overly stuffed farms where they are fed copious amounts of grains then killed. This reality makes my heart sore, but ​The Magic Pill​ graciously handled this issue by disowning farms that raise animals in conditions like this. Not only is it cruel to treat living beings this way, but the large amounts of grain they consume will affect us when we eat meat. This is why pastured meat is recommended for the keto diet as the animals live much happier and healthier lives. This in turn is healthier for us when we eat meat, along with the happy knowledge that the animals are not mistreated before their death.

Low Fat Marketing

One of the most vivid points made in ​The Magic Pill​ is the lies we’ve been told about low fat products. When a product is low fat it’s regarded as healthier for the heart, however no research backs up this claim. Despite this, low fat products are pushed and regarded as a healthier alternative to foods rich in fat. The 1950s is when “fat fear” began and companies started taking advantage of this fear and creating low fat foods in response. Low fat foods are typically much higher in carbs than the original item. Much of this is due to improving the taste of foods after they are made low fat, which typically means lots of sugar to improve the flavor. Many of these “lite” foods at the supermarket are loaded up with sugar and stripped of the healthy fats so that they are more marketable to the fat fearful masses. During the documentary, it was said that around 59,000 out of 60,000 products in the supermarket contain wheat. Wheat and corn are inexpensive ingredients and are used as filler in food products to save money at the expense of the consumer’s health. Learning this has made a big difference in the way that I look at food labels, as they put it: the more health claims something has on it (ie. lite, non fat, natural, etc.), the more you should avoid “food” like that.

Amazing Case Studies

One of the most impressive case studies in ​The Magic Pill​ is a young girl who is nonverbal and autistic. She has seizures daily, trouble with bowel movements, trouble concentrating, and is on strong doses of psychiatric medications. Despite the strong medications, her parents are not seeing real improvements in her health. She is also extremely picky with what she will eat and seems to eat mostly bread and cheese products like mac n cheese, grilled cheese, and pizza. Her parents are afraid she won’t eat if they switch her to the keto diet, and at first she refuses to eat anything they give her. Eventually she gives in and much to everyone’s surprise seems to enjoy the meat and vegetable based meal. After a few weeks on the keto diet, she begins eating with a fork as opposed to always eating with her hands. For someone in her situation, this is a massive deal! I was so excited to see her eating with a fork. After weeks on the keto diet, she has started to speak, is having far fewer seizures, has no need for laxatives, is being weaned off some of her psychiatric medications, and is in a much better, consistent mood. The keto diet is a massive, life changing success for this young girl. Out of all the case studies, this one definitely made me quite emotional. The keto diet is especially known to be beneficial for people experiencing seizures, but seeing this young girl improve so many areas of her health, in addition to the seizures, is truly magical.

Another incredible case study is an obese woman with diabetes who goes on the keto diet seeking improvement. She is not left hanging as she lost a lot of weight in under 2 months. Several of the case studies showed obese people losing forty or more pounds in under 2 months, which is absolutely incredible! ​The Magic Pill ​showed how the keto diet was also effective with diabetes. One woman, in addition to losing a lot of weight, was able to go off her insulin under doctor supervision. This is an incredible accomplishment and it all started with her dedicating herself to the keto lifestyle. Studies have shown that the keto diet can possibly recede diabetes and help people in avoiding type 2 diabetes to begin with. Many of the participants in the keto diet study were able to lower the amount of insulin and medications they needed with their doctor’s help. During this documentary it was also shown that the keto diet had a positive effect on people suffering from depression. Participants reported feeling far more clear headed and having a more even mood. Diabetes, depression, and obesity are such prominent problems in our society and after watching this documentary I hope that this crucial information can be spread so that people have more options for treating their health problems and living ultimately healthier lives.

The Magic Pill Wrap Up

Watching ​The Magic Pill​ was an eye opening experience that I would recommend to anyone and everyone. This documentary provided an amazing amount of information into a very short hour and a half film. There are many more amazing case studies within the documentary that I did not touch on, but highly recommend watching. The lives of the participants and their families are forever changed and it all began with what they ate. I am personally inspired to make changes to my diet after watching ​The Magic Pill​ and I am convinced that anyone, no matter how healthy or unhealthy, can benefit from the knowledge presented in this documentary. Even if you are not fully convinced about fully diving into the keto lifestyle, there are so many healthy tips that you can take away from watching ​The Magic Pill. ​I am definitely going to scrutinize the low fat foods I eat now! This documentary was put together in an easy to follow and digestible format with helpful visuals and concise editing. It’s definitely worth watching and I’d be shocked if you didn’t feel the urge to change something about your lifestyle choices after watching the very magical ​Magic Pill.