You Are What You Eat TV Poster Image

You Are What You Eat



Tough-talking nutritionist guides healthy changes.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series emphasizes healthy eating and lifestyle choices, discussing the benefits of certain foods and the health risks caused by exceeding recommended intake of ingredients like salt, sugar, and saturated fat. The no-nonsense host's comments about the subjects' bad habits sometimes seem a bit cruel, but it's meant to inspire their dedication to life changes, and overall she's supportive of their efforts.

Violence & scariness

Some of the host's comments can seem cruel.

Sexy stuff

Subjects pose in their underwear for "before" videos, but it's not at all sexual.


Rare use of "damn."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Subjects are sometimes shown drinking wine or beer, but the host is quick to point out the health risks of excessive consumption.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this British series promotes healthy exercise and nutrition habits. The holistic nutritionist host rarely minces words when she critiques subjects' dietary downfalls, but although her approach may seem harsh, it's soon obvious that her intentions are good. Tweens probably won't be too interested in this reality-type show, but if they do tune in, make a point of commending the subjects for their efforts to improve their health (especially when they're posing in their underwear for "before" shots, which might prompt giggles from kids who don't know the context).

What's the story?

In the British lifestyle reality series YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, overweight people turn to holistic nutritionist Dr. Gillian McKeith for inspiration and guidance in their efforts to kick unhealthy nutrition and exercise habits. In each episode, McKeith reviews the subject's general health history (heart attacks, diabetes, etc.), current eating tendencies, and activity level. She tallies calories, sugar grams, and total saturated fat for extra inspiration, confronting the person with astounding figures of overindulgence and reminding them of the health risks this poses (including high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer). She presents them with strict meal plans and exercise routines for the next eight weeks. After a series of brief updates, the show culminates in a grand unveiling of the subject's new appearance, complete with details on total weight and inches lost. They comment on how the changes have affected their lives and their outlook, and McKeith gets the last word on how well they followed through with her advice.

Is it any good?


For the subjects, McKeith's information is a staggering dose of reality; some dissolve into tears when they're faced with their own shortcomings. In one episode, she analyzes (although just how closely she doesn't say...) her subject's bodily waste for more complete insights. The deadpan nutritionist isn't affected by the man's discomfort at hearing that his bowel movements are looser, more frequent, or, yes, even more odiferous than those of people with a well-rounded diet.

Bathroom talk aside, You Are What You Eat isn't likely to appeal to tweens. But if they do tune in, follow up with gentle reminders not to poke fun at people's appearances -- even to inspire change, as McKeith is sometimes known to do.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the media's role in promoting a healthy lifestyle. How does the media affect what people choose to eat? Is it the media's responsibility to make sure people see only healthy foods and activities? Do you think someone should be in charge of which foods can be marketed to kids? If so, who? Families can also discuss the general importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. How does poor diet and lack of exercise affect your physical well-being? What are some of the health risks that they pose? How would you describe your own health and lifestyle habits?

TV details

Cast:Gillian McKeith
Network:BBC America
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of You Are What You Eat was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byhome April 9, 2008

A MUSTwatch- Wheres the book?

With more and more people , even oour children, becomming overweight it is important for us to get good dietary advice thats easy to follow. You are what you eat gives us that , while at the same time entertaining us. Bring it to prime time! I love it!
Teen, 14 years old Written byMegan96 February 6, 2011
I don't particularly like this show, but I find nothing wrong with it.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of an infant, 5, 9, and 10 year old Written byRonell Linton May 12, 2009

I enjoy the show It really makes you realize how unhealthy you are. I'm trying to find Jillians recipies

I love the show Jillian is good at what she does! Keep up the good work!!


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