The Magic Pill – Pete Evans does “documentary”

All you really need to know about Pete Evans’ new documentary, The Magic Pill, comes up on your screen 18 seconds in, where a disclaimer tells you that “the personal stories portrayed in this film are anecdotal, and we make no claims that these experiences are typical”.

Which is a good thing, seeing as the film offers you examples of people curing their diabetes, autism, asthma and cancer through eating a low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diet.

As with most movies of this sort (That Sugar Film, GMO OMG!Fed Up etc.), The Magic Pill exclusively features praise-singers for the LCHF diet, who speak glibly about GMOs, gluten, addiction, organic food, additives, and all the other bogeymen that food producers are trying to kill you with.

Dr Michael Gannon, President of the Australian Medical Association, makes the salient observation that

this idea that dietary manipulation can change the course of autism spectrum disorder or change the course of a cancer is not just ludicrous, it’s hurtful to people who are affected by these, and are worried about themselves and their loved ones.

So yes, please do “consult with your doctor or health professional” (as the disclaimer also says) before trying this at home, as a film produced by a chef with no medical training, and who believes that sunscreen and fluoride are harmful, and that infants should be fed bone broth rather than formula, is perhaps not the most reliable source of medical information.

As you might expect, Prof. Tim Noakes’s HPCSA hearings form a significant part of the narrative – such that it is – and the hearings are introduced by a characteristically-restrained Marika Sboros as “the modern-day trial of Galileo”.

Here’s a screengrab from a day of those hearings. I’m the guy on the right at the back, but they blurred me out to support the narrative that none of Noakes’s critics attended his hearings. (That’s a joke.)

Noakes hearings

It’s not only a bad documentary in the sense that it’s simple propaganda, but it’s also a bad documentary in the sense that there isn’t really much narrative at all, and the film is frankly rather boring. But if you want your biases confirmed, it will certainly do a good job of that.

The Magic Pill is currently streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and probably elsewhere too. So, watch out.

By Jacques Rousseau

Jacques Rousseau teaches critical thinking and ethics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is the founder and director of the Free Society Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting secular humanism and scientific reasoning.