There’s lots of buzz and debate around the recent Netflix hit lately, so I thought I’d “weigh in” with all of my 165 lbs. and 8% body fat. 😉
Funded through an Indiegogo campaign, this documentary is supposed to “expose collusion and corruption in government and big business” that is keeping us sick.
In reality, it’s a call to veganism – which is fine, but in the effort to convert viewers, lack of transparency, misinformation, junk science, outdated myths and severely flawed arguments are rampant throughout the film.
The film asserts that the focus on sugar as a contributor to obesity, diabetes and ill health has steered people away from the real culprits, which they claim to be meat and animal fat.
I often warn against excessive consumption of animal protein, but the documentary’s suggestion that sugar isn’t a problem renders the film useless and even laughable in terms of helping people reach their optimal health.
Our cells are hybrid engines, designed to have the metabolic flexibility to use both fat and glucose for fuel – not just one or the other. The reason conventional dietary advice has failed so miserably is that eating a high-carb diet for a long period of time results in the loss of this metabolic flexibility, making you unable to effectively burn fat for fuel. This makes it harder to lose body fat, which is what 90% people today want to do.
When someone becomes “fat-adapted” on the other hand, their primary fuel is fat, but they never lose their ability to burn glucose, so the cells remain hybrid engines, just as they were designed.
It’s easy to uncover that most, if not all of the medical experts featured in the film are vegans and promote veganism to their patients, although they are not introduced as such. The directors, Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, and the executive producer Joaquin Phoenix are all fanatic vegans. As a result, the film presents a profoundly biased view of what makes for an optimal diet.
As just one example, Dr. Neal Barnard claims that diabetes is not caused by a high-carb, high-sugar diet. Instead, he claims that diabetes is caused by fat buildup from a meat-based diet. To treat diabetes, Barnard recommends a low-fat vegan diet, free of any and all animal products, without any restrictions on carbohydrates.
Then why were the Eskimos the healthiest population to ever walk the earth? (At least until they started eating the modern Western diet, anyway)
Things that make you go “Hmmmmmm…..”
While a high-vegetable diet is certainly beneficial, the low-fat, unrestricted carb recommendation is upside down, backward and outdated.
Time and again, low-carb, high-fat diets have proven superior for controlling insulin resistance, which is the hallmark of obesity and metabolic syndrome. Yet the film completely ignores the proven low-carb approach. Why? Because that’s really hard to do as a vegan, so you can’t promote low-carb and veganism together and still expect people to convert over and stay on that side. It’s just too much work. It’s possible, but too hard, especially for a beginner vegan, who would give up pretty quickly after starting down that road.
Dr. Garth Davis, a weight loss surgeon and author of “Proteinaholic,” is another vegan doctor who ignores the overwhelming evidence against sugar. “Sugar is not great,” he says, but it “does not cause inflammation … The focus on sugar has taken the focus off meat, dairy, eggs …” He even goes so far as to say, “carbs cannot make you fat, in and of themselves.”
Sugar doesn’t cause inflammation? Carbs are incapable of making you fat? Really? I’m at a loss to explain how any rational unbiased health professional could still promote these views, It’s pure ignorance, unless, of course, they have some hidden agenda or ulterior motive.
The medical literature is filled with evidence proving that processed sugar is one of the most inflammatory foods on the planet. It’s certainly not the only one, but to give it a free pass is frankly irresponsible, considering the vast and expansive evidence proving otherwise.
“What the Health” is a success in terms of promoting veganism. Sadly, it relies on outdated myths and junk science to deliver its hidden message and true motives. While the filmmakers and featured experts are all vegan, this is not expressed, manipulating the average viewer into “concluding” that simply by following the “trail of evidence,” the filmmaker eventually reached the conclusion that a strict plant-based diet is the sanest, safest, healthiest alternative. The truth is, they were extremely biased from the start and crafted this film with a very specific agenda in mind.
This post might make it seem like I’m opposed to veganism, but I’m not. I tried it myself, but it’s not for me. I don’t think it’s for everyone, nor is the way I eat for everyone. I support people exploring different nutritional plans and lifestyles until they find which one is best for their unique physiology. I don’t have any agenda, other than helping people reach optimal health. I do however oppose people who do have specific agendas and try to manipulate others in a certain direction because of their biases.
I eat mostly vegetables myself. I actually believe that most people could benefit from reducing their meat consumption. I don’t think it should be entirely excluded though because animal products contain certain essential nutrients that are hard, if not impossible, to get as a vegan. I do eat small amounts of animal protein, mostly coming from cheese and fish. Occasionally, I’ll have some organic grass fed meat or whey protein, but meats are not a cornerstone staple in my diet. Vegetables are my biggest staple because they also have tons of valuable nutrients. And they are delicious, especially bathed in melted butter from grass-fed cows!
And as a final note, special thanks to Dr. Mercola, who communicates things like this better than I do, so for further reading, check out his post that inspired me to write this one.