*actual picture of the eggs I ate last night ^
I’m sure you’ve heard by now all the rave about the latest documentary on Netflix called “What the Health.” I certainly have, and was shocked at the response and number of people claiming they needed to instantly change their whole diet based solely on this documentary. So I immediately decided I needed to watch it and form my own opinions on it.
If you haven’t heard about it or seen it yet, this documentary looks at the link between our diets (mostly meat and dairy) and major diseases they can potentially cause. It is clearly produced by people pushing the vegan agenda, and it also completely discredits several major health organizations (like the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, etc.).
I will start by saying this: I do acknowledge and appreciate that the health of our nation is being discussed. We are certainly experiencing an obesity epidemic in this country, and it should be brought to light how to prevent it further. The majority of people need to start understanding how the type/amount of foods they are consuming is affecting their overall health. However, the way this film goes about it is not so much informative as it is simply one giant scare tactic with little valid research to back it.
One of the biggest red flags to me was that, throughout the whole 1.5-hour-long film, they interviewed only TWO Registered Dietitians, and one of those two only spoke for about a whole 20 seconds. The rest were mostly doctors who simply stated their opinions without backing it with hard scientific evidence. AND, at the end of the film, several of the doctors even admitted that doctors hardly get ANY nutritional education and know little about how diet affects the body… so then why are we taking everything they are pushing on us without questioning their research or validity?!
Here are my main points I wrote down while watching it that I want to share:
YES processed meat is not the type of meat you should be consuming for the majority of your meat choices… NO meat will not give you cancer, as long as you are choosing the right kinds! (Lean meats that are organically raised/fed are best, but this is not always realistic. It isn’t the meat that’s harmful, but the chemicals/antibiotics that are sometimes put in them.) I personally am not the biggest fan of meat but only because it’s a preference thing – I do still try to eat a serving of lean meat at least a few times a week.
YES a vegan/plant-based diet CAN work for people! Don’t get me wrong, I find nothing wrong with a plant-only diet, if you have your reasons for doing so. You can still get all the macro- and micronutrients needed from plants if you follow it correctly. But if you choose to do so because this video scared you into thinking meat of any kind at all is going to kill you? NOT a good reason. You do not have to rely on a plant-based diet to avoid disease. People on a plant-based diet can still get sick, just like people on animal-based diets can. Every body is different and handles food in its own way.
NO sugar alone does not cause diabetes… the main contributors to diabetes are genetics, lack of physical activity, and high energy (calorie) intake. So yes, a diet full of sugar is often associated with a high energy diet. Don’t let the wording of that whole diabetes conversation confuse you. And no, eating plants will probably not reverse your diabetes in a week or two like they imply. Food can certainly be the best medication in many circumstances, but it’s very complex and disease-dependent.
NO eating one egg a day is NOT equivalent to smoking five cigarettes a day!!! This one really pissed me off, to be honest. If eggs were as bad as smoking five cigarettes a day, I’d probably be dead or have cancer by now. It is also not equivalent to a whole egg McMuffin.
YES eggs have cholesterol in their yolks! NO it is not going to kill you as long as you’re eating them moderately, and yolks also have nutrients not found in the whites of the egg.
YES diets high in red meat (*note I said HIGH in red meat, not just eating a serving. A small amount in the diet won’t hurt you*) can be a risk factor for cancer… BUT this film claims that even lean chicken can cause cancer! Um, last time I checked chicken isn’t red meat so bye.
YES you can consume dairy and NOT DIE!!!! Let’s think about this… if dairy is terrible for us, then WHY IS IT A WHOLE FOOD GROUP?! Yes you should choose low/non fat options and yes you should not eat it in excess… but to go to the extent of saying that even babies don’t need milk? A bit excessive if you ask me. And if you’re reading this then I assume you pretty much asked me, so you can’t get mad at my somewhat sassy opinions. 🙂
YES you should try to avoid constant medications IF possible, but some people simply need them based on their conditions. So yes, the pharma industry is huge and all about the money, but some people can’t simply be healed by eating plants. If it were that easy then this would all be a different story.
YES some of the sponsors of these organizations do happen to have a conflict of interest, and I do find that odd and slightly off-putting. But at least the organization is there and is making the effort to do something about the issue. Before completely discrediting them, you should make sure your research is accurate.
Overall, I would not recommend this documentary to someone because it is so one-sided and misinformed that it is completely misleading people. My advice? Find what works for YOUR body, based on YOUR specific needs, and focus on a balanced, varied diet consisting of REAL whole foods, while also making healthy lifestyle choices. If you want to lose weight and trim fat? Energy in must be less than energy out… AKA eat less and/or workout more. Adequate amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrate are key. Don’t buy into everything you hear, unless you know they are a valid resource back by scientific evidence.
Thank you for reading! If you disagree with my opinions, please know that I respect that and don’t mean to offend ANYONE! I simply want people to be informed of misleading information so that they know to make the best choices for their body/wellbeing 🙂
If you ever have questions about nutritional information, feel free to comment or email me!