10 Films That Will Change How You See Food

Ashley Lauretta
by Ashley Lauretta
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10 Films That Will Change How You See Food

Cooking shows like “Chef” and “The Great British Baking Show” are constantly on the popular lists of various streaming services. The same goes for in-depth documentaries about food — all with the goal of enlightening your food choices and empowering you to take charge of your own health. We scoured streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime to choose some of the best.

While not every diet or food choice presented will necessarily be the ‘right’ choice for you, expanding your knowledge of the science and practices behind food can help you make decisions about how you and your family eat.

Streaming on Netflix; rent on Amazon

“Bite Size” chronicles the journey of four children overcoming obstacles caused by their weight. From a 12-year-old with diabetes and dreams of being on the football team to a 13-year-old who attended a “Biggest Loser”-style camp, you’ll see how food affects their lives and how they cope with becoming the healthiest versions of themselves.

2. “FED UP”
Streaming on Netflix; rent on Amazon

Produced and narrated by award-winning journalist Katie Couric, “Fed Up” looks at the amount of added sugar in our foods and its effects on the body. The film focuses on how sugar shortens the lifespan of children, how we as a society are addicted to sugar and ultimately what it will take to fight the epidemic of childhood obesity and eliminate artificial sugars from our diets as much as possible.

Streaming on Amazon Prime

This documentary is unlike many food films as it’s set in France and explores the hope for change in the French food industry. It promotes a focus on local farming and home cooking to help communities thrive economically and also be healthier.

Streaming on Hulu; rent on Amazon

This documentary won the 2016 DOC IMPACT AWARD and focuses on farmworkers in Florida as they battle for rights against the global supermarket industry. It sheds a new light on just how the big impact supermarkets have on the food industry and the importance of fair treatment for farm laborers in the United States.

5. “FOOD, INC.”
Streaming on Netflix; rent on Amazon

This is one of the more well-known food documentaries out there and it sheds a light on where our food really comes from by taking an investigative look into factory farms — specifically raising chickens in inhumane conditions. It also shares how the diets fed to animals have affected the quality of the food we consume later in the food chain.

Streaming on Amazon Prime

This film focuses on the growing trend of using food as medicine, versus popping pills for pain. It follows three people with chronic illnesses hoping to treat their ailments with food. It attempts to show how eating healthy and losing excess weight can help alleviate the effects chronic illnesses have on the body.

Streaming on Netflix and Hulu; rent on Amazon

This documentary takes a look at the widespread availability of junk food and how it’s affecting the world. It also investigates the diet industry and its false advertising by closely examining food labels and how the industry markets a product as healthy by placing a ‘diet’ label on it when, in fact, it is still processed and therefore, contains sugars and other harmful chemicals.

Streaming on Amazon Prime

This documentary focuses on the choices we have to support local agriculture and the impact that these farms have on our health. It explains the benefits of choosing organic options from local sources and how sustainable farming can change the way you eat.

Streaming on Netflix; rent on Amazon

This documentary takes a look at the food industry and how it’s changed over the years through the lens of the farmer — specifically focusing on seventh-generation farmer Marty Travis. How food production and climate change will affect future generations is another focus of this film, which won the 2016 Accolade Global Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Streaming on Hulu and Vudu; rent on Amazon

This film helps define what the Paleo diet is — and what it isn’t. “We Love Paleo” takes a look at how following the diet can affect your health and day-to-day lifestyle. The director invited  a bit of controversy after stating the Paleo diet is healthy for children (she is an advocate of the diet, though not a nutritionist) but the film still provides solid information on how to follow a Paleo lifestyle, should you choose.

About the Author

Ashley Lauretta
Ashley Lauretta

Ashley is a journalist based in Austin, Texas. Her work appears in The Atlantic, ELLE, GOOD Sports, espnW, VICE Sports, Health, Men’s Journal, Women’s Running and more. Find her on Twitter at @ashley_lauretta.


31 responses to “10 Films That Will Change How You See Food”

  1. Avatar Matthew Baker says:

    No forks over knives? No cowspiracy? Where’s the plant based documentaries? Those are two of the best but not mentioned?

  2. Avatar terilg says:

    At the Fork is a great documentary about humane farming.

  3. Avatar Jerome Barry says:

    I don’t mind vegans being vegan, but I greatly object to vegans proselytizing me.

    • Avatar Jeff Robertson says:

      Jerome: do you think animals “greatly object” to being killed unnecessarily? I’d wager yes. Sorry that you’re so hard done by. My condolences.

      • Avatar JoeMMc12 says:

        I’m sure gazelles object to being eaten by lions. I’m sure even plants, which most people will agree have some form of consciousness, would object to being eaten. And yet, GOD, or nature if you will, made it so. The world designed carnivores the same way it designed herbivores and omnivores (humans being one). And to claim one is more superior than another is just plain ignorance. In fact, we are born with incisors just like a carnivore. Please explain that one away for me.

        • Avatar Jeff Robertson says:

          JoeMMC12: Lions don’t have moral agency, we do. Humans have made no physiological adaptations to eat meat, we are able to process small amounts with no ill effect, like many herbivores. But *even if we had*, it wouldn’t matter. The reason that veganism is bullet-proof ethically is that all humans agree it’s ethically inferior to cause suffering and death unnecessarily.

          Re plants, there is no scientific consensus that they are conscious. But again, *even if they were*, veganism would still make more sense ethically. The reason is that feeding animals plants, then eating animals, requires many more plants to die than just eating plants ourselves. Cheers.

          • Avatar JoeMMc12 says:

            Haha this is hilarious. This will be my last post since I hate these debates in comment sections btw. So, the same science that says there is no such thing as moral agency, is the same science you throw around when speaking on plant consciousness. And ps, there is a great deal of scientific studies that have proven plants can communicate on at least very basic levels, warning each other of dangers and threats, which, by the way, sounds an awful lot like an objection to being eaten, by the way. Next, humans have made no physiological adaptations to eating meat!? Where do you get your “facts” from!? I just brought up one in my last comment. Our incisors. Which are NOT present in herbivores. Our ancestors, apes, have incisors and are herbivores. THEY EAT MEAT! Shall we tell them they’re wrong too? Next, we can eat small amounts of meat with no ill effect!? This is just plain hilarious! There is documented proof of people eating meat at least as far back as 5,000 years ago. It’s safe to say humans have been eating meat for as long as we’ve been around (science says 10,000 years). Some cultures ate nothing but meat because they had next to no other choices. Mongolians for example. So don’t try to tell me people can consume small amounts with no ill effect. I think what you’re trying to refer to, but your twisting and spinning it in a dishonest way, is the unhealthy way we process and consume meats today. In modern times. Which is a different topic for another day. And lastly, your comments on vegans being superior and “ALL” humans agreeing it’s “MORE ETHICAL” are somewhat insulting, and telling of your character. You are exactly what Jerome Barry was talking about. Plants suffer and die but it’s not unnecessarily anymore than when animals suffer and die. People suffer and die when we get eaten by bears. Please, be my guest and go tell the bear there was a more ethical way for him to survive. I’d love to watch that. Quit trying to push YOUR idea of ethics on me with an air of judgment and superiority. You’re not helping your cause at all! Plants will keep eating other plants, bacterias, algaes, and nutrients, and herbivores will keep eating plants, and carnivores will keep eating the herbivores and the cycle will continue no matter how much you scream about it. And whether I feed a cow a plant or not, it will still find food to survive. That argument is finished before it began.

          • Avatar Jeff Robertson says:

            JoeMMc12: plant communication is not synonymous with plant consciousness. If this is not something familiar to you, I recommend learning more by doing some research online.

            I didn’t see a response to my main point: I’m not aware of any human who thinks it’s ethical to harm sentient beings unnecessarily. Since eating meat is unnecessary (see Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics position statement), and causes suffering and death to billions of sentient beings, then logically it follows that eating meat is unethical and unnecessary.

            The “cycle” of human carnism will not continue indefinitely as you claim. Veganism in the U.K. has increased 350% in the last 10 years. Access to information will inevitably lead to the growth of veganism because it’s logically consistent with human values, improves health, and is better for the environment.

            No judgment from me; most vegans formerly ate meat and eventually changed their mind after thoughtful consideration, so we’re not in a position to judge. Cheers.

    • Avatar Judith Lautner says:

      These are good films about food, with good information. You don’t have to be vegan to like them.

    • Avatar Marguerite Hanley says:

      Just eat what you want and be happy not hungry. To each his own.

      • Avatar Jeff Robertson says:

        Marguerite: “To each his own” applies to scenarios involving only 1 actor. Eating meat in 2017 is not a ‘personal’ choice, because it implies the suffering and death of sentient beings. Funny how we would never eat a dog for food, but we eat pigs (who are as intelligent or more intelligent) daily. If the dog has a right to life, why not the pig?

        • Avatar Marjayhan says:

          People have been eating meat since the dawn of time. Many countries do eat dog, horses and allsorts. I think vegetarianism is a choice and eating meat is a choice and neither should have someone being chastised for doing so.

          • Avatar Jeff Robertson says:

            Marjayhan: humans have also been committing rape since the dawn of time though right? So surely we agree that an act’s history doesn’t make it ethical in 2017.

            I agree eating meat is a choice. It just strikes me that it’s logically inconsistent with the values we all claim to hold, because we would all say we’d never harm an animal unnecessarily.

            Eating meat means we’re effectively paying someone to bring harm and death to a sentient being. And since eating meat isn’t necessary, that means we’re doing it for our enjoyment (taste). So we’re harming sentient beings, simply for our pleasure, meanwhile claiming we would never harm an animal unnecessarily … is that consistent?

          • Avatar Marjayhan says:

            Biiiiiig big, difference between rape and eating meat pal! I like meat, i will continue to eat meat. Not asking anyone to like it or be ok with it, but don’t force an opinion on others. Or do not be vocal to others about your distaste for them eating meat. I’m sure everyone in your whole family is not vegetarian or vegan, do you voice the same opinions to them everytime they’re eating meat? Just be happy with your decision not to, and let people be happy with their decisions to do so.

          • Avatar Jeff Robertson says:

            Marjayhan: “don’t force your opinion on others” …. which is more “forceful”: a totally voluntary discussion over the internet, or killing a sentient being so you can taste it?

          • Avatar Jenny says:

            Jeff Robertson I think you should do some research on the concept of “calling people in” rather than “calling people out.” You may be more effect with communicating your message. As of now you come off as attacking others which makes them more defensive and less inclined to be receptive to considering your opinions/beliefs. Good luck to you. Blessings.

          • Avatar Jeff Robertson says:

            Hi Jenny, appreciate the advice. I do try to use leading questions so that readers can realize the conclusions themselves. As you can see from this exchange though, some would rather stick their heads in the sand and avoid the tough conclusions, rather than face them and own up to them. Cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable indeed.

  4. Avatar Marguerite Hanley says:

    Also “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” is an awesome documentary about food.

  5. Avatar gabriel_a_pharmer says:

    Where’s Sugar Coated? Great movie about the hijacking of food science.

  6. Avatar Jeff Robertson says:

    Marjayhan: well, thanks for discussing anyhow! Wish you the very best and I would just ask that you give some thought to why it’s an uncomfortable question to answer. I used to eat meat as well so I know the feeling. Cheers.

    P.S. upvoting your own comment is a little bit funny if intentional xD

  7. Avatar Christine Griffiths says:

    Forks over Knives changed the way I eat protein. I’ve watched all sorts of the films on food in the past and this was the one that finally made an impact

  8. Avatar Maurice Hason says:

    How is it possible that “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” is not on this list.

  9. Avatar Sue Corey says:

    The films within this discussion I will definitely check out. I actually appreciate all views. I’ve found it difficult to give up my meat addiction, however I do enjoy vegetarian meals as well. It hasn’t been an all or nothing proposition for me; its been a process. I do abhor the cruelty built in the animal husbandry industry. But there is there is the methane gasses, the wastes inherent in needing so much acreage to provide grain for livestock, acreage that could actually provide MORE edible human food in the production economy, not to mention the waste in labor and materials. Meat is indeed impractical in so many ways. Yet, I was raised on meat and potatoes, like so many of my peers. Culturally that will not die easily. Adamancy does not do the cause justice! It provides, in fact, quite the backlash. What swayed me was the gentle attitude of the young people at the community college I attended. Their patience and tolerance while they educated me and enlightened me gave me the strength and insight to start eating vegetarian meals. Bless those youngsters who took a middle aged woman under their wing.

  10. Avatar Suzanne Graf Slupesky Beck says:

    How about the old Fatso, starring Dom Deluise? If that won’t cure overeating, not sure what will!

  11. Avatar Jaime Anderson says:

    How about “Fresh”?? It’s amazing how farmer’s are having to fight the government.

  12. Avatar Melanie says:

    Love all your comments Jeff and agree with you 100%!

  13. Avatar Deborah says:

    Everyone should watch “That Sugar Film”

  14. Avatar Janis Shah says:

    Add to this list, “Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat”

  15. Avatar CJ says:

    Also, surprised What The Health? Is not on the list. Changed my mind on everything about eating, farming and the impact on the environment.

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