Health & Food Documentaries
There’s no denying that healthy eating has become a big concern over the past several years. With so many people suffering from decades of a fast-food, meat-and-potatoes mentality, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and many other weight-related health issues have come to dominate the medical landscape. So whether you’re looking for the 4-1-1 on food and health or you’d rather take it easy with a fictional version, here are a few must-see movies and the best food documentaries that will open your eyes to the current state of the food and health industries.
- Fast Food Nation (2006). Well-known shock-documentarian Morgan Spurlock covered the dangers inherent in the fast food industry by eating himself into near-oblivion over the course of 30 days in 2004′s Super Size Me. Fast Food Nation is not a documentary, but it also provides a jarring look at what goes into those 99-cent hamburgers and greasy fries that people persist in shoving down their gullets in the name of convenience. Consider this a somewhat theatrical exposé of the fast food industry and the meat packers that drive it, complete with A-listers like Bruce Willis and Greg Kinnear.
- Sicko (2007). Michael Moore has made plenty of enemies with his propagandist take on topics as diverse as the presidency, the failing auto industry, and gun control. But if you can separate his intentions from the factual portions of his films you’ll often come away with a terrifying new view of whatever entity he happens to have set his sights on. In Sicko he goes after the health care industry, guns blazing. And he even provides an interesting counterpoint by interviewing people who are happily partaking of socialized medicine in other countries. Moore is sure to turn off some viewers with his heavy-handed tactics (he has a nasty habit of showing only one side of an issue), but he could just have you rooting for Obamacare by the end.
- A Delicate Balance: The Truth (2008). The life expectancy of a human being is longer now than at any other point in history. And yet, more and more people are being diagnosed with serious and sometimes fatal illnesses. Why? According to this documentary, the answer has to do with the effects of livestock on the environment. For example, did you know that the cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, and other animals we raise for food have a greater impact on the global warming crisis than automobiles (they are responsible for about 18% of greenhouse gases)? And that’s only one of the many ways that they could be impacting our overall health. This film seeks to reduce the suffering of humans and animals alike by making people aware of the dangers associated with raising livestock and empowering them to make a change.
- Food, Inc. (2008). Settle into your chair, because you’ll definitely want to be sitting down when you watch this disturbing documentary. If you ever wondered what it meant to live in a society where food production was controlled by corporations, this film will voice the answer with startling clarity. You are probably already aware of the fact that the real goal of any corporate entity is to gain market share and cut costs in order to increase profits. And it’s downright scary to see how this is accomplished when it comes to producing the foods that you purchase in grocery stores and restaurants. The abuses against animals, employees, and the planet at large are enough to spur you to spend more for locally-grown, organic produce or simply plant your own backyard garden.
- Fresh (2009). It’s almost as if this documentary was released after Food, Inc. as a supplementary work. It basically covers the same topic (issues in our current food supply chain and the corporate mentality that’s destroying the way we feed ourselves). But it goes a step further by offering suggestions on how to change your own eating habits in order to lead a healthier life.