You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment Season 1 Review – A docu-series pushing us towards veganism

Season 1



Episode Guide

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4


When Netflix dropped its 4-part docuseries, You Are What You Eat, the health nerd in this reviewer was stoked. Specifically, it’s a documentary focusing on how twins change various bio-markers through nutrition and training over eight weeks.  

Each episode is around 45 minutes, except for the last one, which clocks over an hour. The scientists have hired four sets of identical twins, and each pair has a clear mission: one twin will follow an omnivore diet while the other will be going vegan.

Right at the start of the study, both twins go through many tests, like checking body composition and libido, along with measuring to see how much their cells have aged biologically. Fast forward eight weeks, and they redo these tests to see if there are any noticeable changes between the two twins.

The documentary has its roots in science, and what sets it apart is how we get to know the people in the study on a personal level. They bring us into their lives, and you’ll particularly enjoy the banter between the twins, especially Pam and Wendy Dew – they were our personal favorite. The shots of the twins joking around, having little competition, and the playful music in the background make it feel like we are all best friends.

The first episode covers issues with diets. It informs us on why we eat, what we eat, and how the past has shaped our food choices. After World War II, a lot of people were undernourished and didn’t qualify for the military. This led to a demand for more calories in our regular diet, sparking the rise of cheap fast food production. And that’s how we got into the habit of relying on processed and packaged foods.

The documentary does a brilliant job explaining this with footage from the 20th century, showing how food started getting mass-produced in factories. It’ll help you see why we’re so hooked on processed foods today. In the first episode, the scientists make a strong case for why we must change our diets ASAP. The interviews with the experts do a great job of breaking down the science behind our nutrition and how it plays out in our bodies.

The focus here is on gathering data from the twins. They undergo many tests measuring lean mass, body fat, weight, DNA, and even cognitive abilities. The experts in the field explain it all so well, switching between shots of the twins getting monitored and catchy animations that helped me grasp things like the difference between subcutaneous and visceral fat. 

In episode 2 however, you’ll likely sense a nudge towards a vegan agenda. It seems like the creators of the docuseries are trying to sway the audience towards adopting a vegan lifestyle. They tell us about the ecological problems linked to excessive poultry production, referring to greenhouse gases and deforestation. They drive the point home with a dramatic shot of a tree getting trimmed down in the serene Amazon rainforest. 

More often than not, the series takes a few detours from the main study, talking about the challenges faced by a fancy New York restaurant trying to go vegan or the impact of animal waste sprayed over yards in North Carolina. The tipping point comes at the end of episode 2, where it becomes clear that the docuseries is heading towards a strong vegan advocacy.

In episode 3, they stick with the same theme. We meet Craig Watts, a farmer in North Carolina who shares his challenges with raising chickens. We’re taken to an empty slaughterhouse, and we get a close-up shot of Craig talking straight to the camera to build on an already-established downside of eating meat. Starting episode 4 feels like going back to square one.

We once again talk about DEXA Scan results and each participant’s training, with a lengthy lecture on understanding the difference between body composition and body weight. However, there are still hints of vegan promotion sprinkled throughout. The return to 11 Madison Park, the restaurant we’ve visited before, also feels rather repetitive. We see many newspaper clippings criticizing the restaurant and the head chef for their decision to go vegan. We revisit the residents in North Carolina, too.

You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment is a well-made docuseries but for all the bad reasons. The music, the experts breaking down the science behind each diet plan, and the emotional cutscenes – like the twins having a good time preparing a vegan meal in their kitchen – all add to the quality. But, the major issue here turns out to be its excessive advocacy. I’m not against a vegan diet; actually, I support it. However, once you catch on to the pro-veganism agenda early in the series, it becomes a bit challenging to fully enjoy any other aspects.

Every subplot, aside from the main study, feels like it’s trying to coax you to give up meat, and you just want to speed through to get back to the core study. In layman’s terms, it’s like listening to a 10-year-old’s sales pitch for chocolate – you know you won’t buy it, but you go along with it to avoid making the child feel bad.

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  • Verdict - 5/10

1 thought on “You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment Season 1 Review – A docu-series pushing us towards veganism”

  1. I never said anything about giving up meat. I said you can’t trust labels (and you can’t) and that I didn’t eat CAFO (industrial animal ag) chicken due to my own personal experiences. I am not vegetarian or vegan I still eat locally raised meat. Be more to han happy to discuss further. Thanks for watching the doc!

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