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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Several facts and study summaries, often without a source named, fill up the miniseries. The show asserts that most modern causes of death in the United States, such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, are preventable via the introduction of more plant-based foods into the diet. One study found a 20% drop in heart disease and stroke for each daily serving of dark leafy greens added to the diet.
Everybody has the right to choose what they want to eat, and there is no requirement to eat healthy plant-based foods. However, everyone also deserves to know the facts and science behind how to eat healthier.
Positive Role Models
A White man and a Black woman are the scientific experts, and a White couple explains the philosophy behind their health-food restaurant. Beyond these main characters, there are many filler and transition shots, backed by light music, of various people from around the world eating the grains, fruits, and vegetables that the main characters talk about. None of these extras, all of whom are non-White and presented in their supposed living and work areas, are given even one speaking line to explain what they are eating/preparing or why, which leaves a troubling "Back to Basics" (i.e., non-White people are "closer to the land") kind of racist attitude in the show's implications.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Prescription: Nutrition is a four-part miniseries that aims to educate its viewers about how to choose and prepare the foods that'll benefit their overall health. Part documentary, part health-class lecture, and part cooking show, the short episodes combine a wide array of shot types -- talking heads, stereotyped cutaways (see "Positive Role Models and Representations"), close-ups of food preparation -- with a mostly citation-free veneer of studies and facts to support the unoriginal message that eating whole plant-based foods contributes significantly to one's overall health, while decreasing one's risk for dying of some chronic disease. The various mechanisms responsible for these benefits -- antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, etc. -- are briefly discussed.
Is It Any Good?
The miniseries argues that although people should choose what they want to eat, it's still important to share scientific information relating to a healthier plant-based diet. The messages that Prescription: Nutrition shares aren't very substantive, because the data and studies that the talking heads wave around largely without citation leave the miniseries entrenched in a swamp of anecdotal truisms about food and diet. As such, the show's message can only be a general one: that it's probably healthier to eat plant-based foods instead of highly processed ones. But this should be obvious to pretty much everybody already, especially the people who have enough interest in food health to watch an hour-long miniseries about it. If you set aside that intended audience, the show can't speak to those who aren't fortunate enough to afford or think about the ultra-expensive produce and gourmet vegetable meals that the show touts constantly. So what purpose does the show really serve? Besides a mindless and unoriginal "Eat your fruits and veggies, kids" message that might keep kids halfway occupied on a forgettable rainy afternoon, nothing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.