10 Best Food Documentaries on Netflix

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Having a cozy night in this weekend? Here are my top 10 picks for the best food documentaries you must see. 

Let’s face it. Facts are dry, boring, and hard to grasp. But, stories? They’re compelling, fun, and easy to remember. Over the past 10 years, the number of food and health documentaries has exploded. From food politics to paradigm shifts in nutrition theory, there’s a lot going on in the spheres of food and health right now. 

So, whether you’re looking for a little inspiration to clean up your own eating habits, or are fascinated by food politics, watching a food documentary is a great place to start! 

Here are my top 10 picks for the best food documentaries: 

Forks Over Knives (2011)


If you haven’t watched any food documentaries yet, this is the perfect one to start. It will be particularly interesting for you if you A-eat a lot of meat or dairy, B-have or know someone with chronic disease, C-are a human. This documentary follows well respected researchers Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn as they conduct groundbreaking studies that lead them to conclude that most, if not all of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by replacing animal products and processed foods, with whole plant based foods. 

Food Matters (2008)

This documentary argues that many health conditions can be treated through proper diet changes.  Available on Netflix, and the Food Matters website has lots of interesting articles, too.

Hungry for Change (2012)

“Hungry for Change” gets deep into what the diet, weight loss, and food industries don’t want you to find out about how they get you to keep coming back for their products. (Yes, they really hire PhDs to figure out how to make you eat more.) Don’t be duped. 

Food, Inc. (2008)

We all like to believe our food comes from cute little farms with red barns and white picket fences. But in today’s day and age, the bulk of what Americans eat is coming from factory farms and huge corporations. If you knew where it came from, you probably wouldn’t eat it. This film gives you a peek behind the curtain at food corporations and exposes the dark side of the food industry.  

Frankensteer


If you eat meat, you must watch this film. This film focuses on how cows have been changed from animals into food machines. It exposes the conventional practices for red meat production, and address the concerns regarding antibiotic and hormone use, and what that means for the humans who eat them.  Will make you think twice before you order a hamburger. 

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead (2010)

Want proof that changing your diet can dramatically alter not just your weight but your health? Than this is your film. It follows Joe Cross, an Australian businessman whose junk food diet and modern lifestyle left him 100 pounds overweight and with with some strange and rare health problems.  This inspiring and lighthearted film follows Joe’s personal journey to health, and reverse not just his weight, but his illness by changing his diet. 

Fed Up (2014)


If sugar is your downfall, than “Fed Up” is a must watch. It explores how the dietary guidelines issued by the U.S. government 30 years ago underestimated and overlooked the dangers of dietary sugar. It cracks open the relationship between poor health and high-sugar diets, with some tear-jerking true stories. It’s available on Netflix.

That Sugar Film (2014)

Still eating cereal and low fat yogurt? Than That Sugar Film is for you. This documentary follows Damon Gameau, who sets out to see what 40 grams of sugar a day (which the average American eats) would do to his body. The caveat…he wasn’t going to drink soda or eat cake. Instead he decided to get his daily dose strictly from hidden sources of sugar, the products typically considered healthy, like the aforementioned cereal or low fat yogurt. What happens to his body in two months is scary. If you need a reason to kick your sugar habit, this is it. 

Cowspiracy (2014)

Concerned about the drought in California? You must watch “Cowspiracy,” a documentary produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. This film focuses more on the environmental damage that animal agriculture causes, such as deforestation, pollution, and global warming. As he goes around speaking to environmental groups,  filmmaker Kip Andersen is warned that his freedom and life are at risk if he dares to mess with the meat industry. A must-see.  

Super Size Me (2004)

Still find yourself going through the McDonalds drive-thru every now and again? Not anymore after watching Morgan Spurlock’s legendary documentary, about what happens to his body from eating McDonald’s for one month straight. Available on Netflix or live streaming through Amazon.  

Do you have any other favorites? Leave a comment below, I always love watching new documentaries!

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  1. My girls and I love watching these types of shows. Thanks for the tips. Stop by and visit my website when you get a chance. Would love for you to say hello also.

    Chia,
    Barbara

  2. I’ve watched most of these and mostly they make a lot of sense , but I have also read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre and that encourages me to question everything. What bothers me about these docs is that they are often calling on the same scientific studies and basically it is the same evidence wrapped up in different ways. I want to know more about the production team behind the docs; what their motivation is for funding these programmes, then I might have some sense of a baseline to judge what is actually going on. The bias is in what you leave out rather than what you put in. I have watched other docs on other networks which argue against grains rather than meat and are also backed up with scientific evidence. So where does that leave people like me who really suffer from digestive disorders and want to benefit from a healthy diet? For me, nutritional science is still in its infancy.

    1. Hi Glenda, You’re very right about questioning everything. Nutrition science is definitely still in it’s infancy, and I think we are on the verge of a paradigm shift in the way we think about food and nutrition (from obsessing over calories and micronutrients to looking at food and what we eat as a whole). While there may be some general overarching principles that apply to everyone (for example eat real food, avoid heavily refined and processed foods), the one thing I’m certain of, is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” diet for everyone. We each have our own unique biochemistry, health conditions, and preferences…I believe that experimenting (especially through elimination and re-addition) and seeing which foods make you feel better or worse is a good way to start figuring out the best diet for your unique body. (Also avoiding dogma about what is “right” and “wrong” is crucial in terms of experimenting.) Some people feel better and find their health improves without meat, while others find it improves with meat and without grains, etc….Working with a functional medicine doctor, health coach, or other health provider may help you in cracking the code for you. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, and I hope you find the right diet for you, soon!

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