‘What the Health’ review: Health claims backed by no solid evidence

what-the-health

Is eating meat killing you? That’s what you may think after watching the popular new movie “What the Health” (WTH) on Netflix.

WTH portrays itself as a documentary by film maker Kip Anderson, who sets out in his trusty blue van from San Francisco to answer questions about a healthy diet. Since Anderson is already a vegan whose previous movie, Cowspiracy, argued that cows drive the destruction of the planet, we’re pretty sure where he’s going to end up.

Sure enough, despite his effort to appear shocked and surprised at his “discoveries” along the way, he concludes that not only is a plant-based diet best for health, but also that animal foods cause death and disease to all people who eat them.

cowspiracy_quoteLet’s give Anderson some credit: his film is so unrelentingly terrifying and convincing that by the end, one wants to jump right on his vegan bandwagon and cease forever from eating cheese, which one person in the film calls “coagulated cow pus” or the “pure garbage” of “dead, decaying animal flesh,” which are Anderson’s terms for meat.

The film makes 37 health claims, and for this review, I investigated every single one. (WTH also makes a myriad of claims about contaminants and issues of environmental impact, but these are outside my field of expertise, so I looked only at the claims on health.)

A few notes

Before diving into these claims, however, I’m going to make a few comments on the film’s tactics, go over a housekeeping point, and do a quick background primer on the science.

First, I’m no expert in movies, but this looks an awful lot like a horror flick to me, with scenes of Anderson driving ominously through shadowy tunnels or all alone in an unlit room, googling mysteries on his computer. Interviews are lit seemingly from a single bulb, as if talking to a mafia informant, and ominous music pulses in the background, creating an omniscient feeling of dread.

wth-2The danger lurking everywhere is, of course, animal foods, which, via toxins, chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, steroids, pesticides, mad-cow disease, bacteria, pus-filled flesh, or an endless array of chronic disease-causing powers are apparently bound to kill us.

Scary videos of pregnant women (the most vulnerable!) with needles poking into their bellies are intermingled with revolting images of fatty, pulsating bodily tissues pierced by scalpels or incised by surgical devices. We see animations of a happily pregnant mother or innocent child drinking milk aglow in neon orange to signify its hidden dangers and then see that neon color suffuse their unaware bodies — if they only knew! “Choose your poison,” says one of the film’s experts, referring to the various ways that animal foods kill. “It’s a question of whether you want to be shot or hung.”

According to Anderson, the reason that we don’t know about these dangers is that the meat, dairy and egg industries are like “Big Tobacco,” the ultimate bad corporate actor that famously used underhanded tactics to cover up the dangers of a harmful product. Casting the animal-food industries in this role has been a successful tactic employed by vegetarian groups ever since the 1970s, but WTH takes this effort into hyper-drive.

wth-5Hot dogs in the mouths of children are transformed into fat, smoking cigars, and a nutritional “Fact Sheet” on eggs is re-imagined as a handout on the health benefits of cigarettes. “An egg a day is like smoking five cigarettes,” asserts Michael Greger, MD, the film’s most prominent expert. By my count, the film employs Big Tobacco or tobacco products as an analogy for the meat, dairy or egg industries along with their products at least a dozen times.

The film also suggests our health problems are in part due to the excessive influence of Big Food and Big Pharma on our trusted public health institutions, such as the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association (AHA). Here, I agree, although the film should have fleshed out the picture: WTH cites funding only from meat and dairy companies when in fact the full range of food industries are in on this game.1

Such donations make it hard for these associations to recommend healthy diets (e.g., the AHA puts its “healthy check mark” on sugar-laden cereals) or even advise people to choose better nutrition over drugs and medical devices. I’m also pleased to agree with another WTH point, made repeatedly throughout the film (in the scariest possible way), namely that these diseases take a huge toll on the health and wealth of our nations. Indeed they do.

Now, the housekeeping point. I come to this film with an obvious bias, since I’ve written a book, The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. The book’s central argument is that saturated fats and cholesterol have been unfairly maligned and are not, after all, bad for health.

Therefore, I don’t buy the film’s idea that animal foods are unhealthful based on these reasons (For a complete run-down on these arguments, read my book or for a brief overview, this recent piece in Medscape or this piece I wrote in the Wall Street Journal). Still, the film presents other arguments against animal foods, and I’m open to these.

Finally, a note on science. WTH, on its website, provides many links to data for its claims, so I’ve come up with a grading system. WTH cites the following types of evidence:

Epidemiology

Most of the claims in the film come from epidemiological studies. These are fundamentally limited in that they can only show associations and cannot establish causation. Therefore, this data is really meant only to generate hypotheses and can only rarely ‘prove’ them.2 Among the many problems with epidemiological studies are:

  1. The extreme unreliability of “food frequency questionnaires,” which depend upon people accurately remembering what they ate over the last 6 or 12 months.3
  2. The impossibility of fully adjusting for confounding variables. For instance, how does one adjust for the fact that heavy red-meat eaters are obviously people who’ve ignored their doctors’ orders about meat (since nearly all doctors now advise patients to cut down on red meat), and thus, these people are also probably ignoring “healthy living” advice in many other ways. They probably smoke more and fail to visit the doctor regularly or attend cultural events—all factors linked to poorer health outcomes and none of which epidemiologists can ever properly measure or adjust for.4 Moreover, researchers don’t actually know to what extent various foods like sugar or high-fructose corn-syrup cause disease, so they cannot even begin to adjust for those; And that is just the beginning of the discussion on problems in confounding.
  3. Epidemiologists cross-calculate hundreds of food and lifestyle variables against death rates from different ailments, resulting a huge number of associations. Just as a matter of probability, some of the positive results will be spurious. Statistical adjustments can be made to avoid this problem, but the Harvard epidemiologists, whose papers are principally cited by WTH, rarely make such adjustments.5

Thus, for all these reasons and more, scientists in most fields (except nutrition) agree that small associations—with “risk ratios” of less than 2 — are not reliable.6

Epidemiological studies with ratios <2 will therefore be coded in red.

(Note that a risk ratio is completely separate from those scary “relative change” numbers that articles report. An article might say: “meat increases the chances of breast cancer 68%!” Yet this number is exaggerated and often meaningless, as explained here.)

Clinical trials

This is a more rigorous kind of evidence that can show cause and effect.7 I will grade trials roughly according to the following criteria: Was it randomized? Did it have a control group? Was it sizeable? Was it on a relevant population? Did enough people finish the trial to make it meaningful? Do its results support the claim?

Clinical trials that fail to meet most of these standards will be coded in red.

Clinical trials that might support the claim will be coded in green.

Non-conclusive evidence

These include either studies that do not support the claim or evidence that is highly preliminary, such as papers speculating on possible hypotheses, case studies on 1-2 people, or test-tube studies on cell cultures. These represent the most preliminary types of research and cannot be considered conclusive evidence. All these non-conclusive studies will be coded in red.

Newspaper, magazine articles, and blog posts

Because these are not peer reviewed, they can’t be considered as rigorous sources of evidence, although some publications are better than others. Articles by biased sources (e.g., vegan diet doctors) will be coded in red, because they have both commercial and intellectual conflicts of interest. Mainstream media outlets that fact check their articles are more reliable, though still not a source of peer reviewed science, so they will be coded in yellow.

To review:

  • Items in red cannot be considered support for the claim.
  • Items in yellow are weak support for the claim.
  • Items in green support the claim.

And… drumroll… here’s the evidence:8

What the health table

In sum, 96% of the data do not support the claims made in this film. The film does not cite a single rigorous randomized controlled trial on humans supporting its arguments. Instead WTH presents a great deal of weak epidemiological data, case studies on one or two people, or other inconclusive evidence. Some of the studies cited actually conclude the opposite of what is claimed.

Moreover, the majority of “papers” turn out to be posts by vegan diet doctors — mainly Michael Greger and Neal Barnard. Both of these men are passionate animal welfare activists,9 so one can never know if they are seeking truth about a healthy diet or have started from the premise that they’d like to end all domestication of animals and proceed to cherry pick the science back from there.

Given the weak-to-non existent data presented in the film, the latter seems to be a pretty good possibility. In fact, WTH, based on zero sound science, is quite likely a piece of animal-welfare advocacy masquerading as a public health film.

For a comprehensive list of every WTH health claim, and the exact support, see this PDF document.

the-wth-claims-picture

In conclusion

The film’s defenders might say that better studies are buried in all those posts by vegan diet doctors, but any researcher knows to cite primary sources rather than secondary ones. Where’s the science? It appears not to exist.

And we can assume that if the science has been so distorted and misrepresented for the claims on health, probably the same has been done for claims on other issues, on environmental impact, toxins, antibiotics, hormones, the evolution of humans, etc.

If this is the best evidence that a vegan diet can promote good health, then I’m not convinced. I’m more skeptical, even, based on a few solid observations:

  1. No human population in the history of civilization has ever been recorded surviving on a vegan diet.
  2. The vegan diet is nutritionally insufficient, lacking not only vitamin B12 but deficient in heme iron and folate (meaning that we should refer to it always as a “vegan diet plus supplements”).
  3. A near-vegan diet, in rigorous clinical trials, invariably causes HDL-cholesterol to drop and sometimes raises triglycerides, which are both signs of worsening heart attack risk; Over the last 30 years, as rates of obesity and diabetes have risen sharply in the U.S., the consumption of animal foods has declined steeply: whole milk is down 79%; red meat by 28% and beef by 35%; eggs are down by 13% and animal fats are down by 27%.10 Meanwhile, consumption of fruits is up by 35% and vegetables by 20%. All trends therefore point towards Americans shifting from an animal-based diet to a plant-based one, and this data contradict the idea that a continued shift towards plant-based foods will promote health.
  4. There’s the entire Indian subcontinent, where beef is not eaten by the large majority of people, which has seen diabetes explode over the past decade.

It’s also false that WTH is the movie that “health organizations don’t’ want you to see!” as it claims, since the president of the American College of Cardiology, interviewed in the film, expresses adamant support of the vegan diet, and the expert committee for the U.S. Dietary Guidelines in 2015 proposed eliminating meat from the list of “healthy foods.”

Thus, these two major public health institutions would presumably be happy for you to see this film. In fact, the plant-based diet has proponents in many high places, including the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, which produces many of the weak epidemiological associations cited in the movie. Claiming to be a Michael-Moore style underdog therefore appears merely to be one of the film’s rhetorical tricks.

Finally: I’d like to comment on this film as act of journalism. In WTH, Anderson’s role as a ‘reporter’ fails to meet any normal standards of the field. Not only does he hop a barbed-wire fence in what appears to be an act of illegal trespassing onto a hog farm in North Carolina, he also conducts a series of interviews that just made me laugh.

wth-1Any journalist knows that if you want some information from, say, the American Cancer Institute, American Heart Association, or American Dietetics Association, as Anderson does, you call the media relations department and ask to be put in touch with the appropriate expert. Anderson doesn’t seem to know this, or so he feigns, and thus instead asks his questions of operators answering the phones or — amusingly — a security guard manning a lobby desk.

Zounds! “Yet again… more questions no one can answer,” intones Anderson. Yep, because these people have been hired to be operators and security guards, Mr. Anderson, not scientific experts. In the film, Anderson portrays these encounters as a series of “gotchya” moments in which he’s being stonewalled, but really, it’s nothing but illusion.

And that’s the whole film: scary images, compelling language, and the illusion of certainty and data, when in fact, there is none. Go ahead and eat your eggs, dairy and meat, folks, because there’s no sound evidence to show that these traditional, whole foods are bad for health.


Nina Teicholz

Vegetarian low carb

While there may be no definite scientific health reason for everyone to go vegetarian or vegan, it can still certainly be a fine personal choice for many people.

Here at Diet Doctor we try to make low carb simple, and here are our top low-carb vegetarian recipes:

Why the fear of meat?

Where does the fear of meat come from originally? Learn more in our interview with Nina Teicholz:

Can Red Meat Kill You? – Nina Teicholz

 

Popular health movies

Nina Teicholz

  1. Equally, many industries benefit from the government’s “Check Off” programs. Pro-plant advocates like to cite the influence of the meat, dairy, and egg programs, but such programs also exist for soybean, wheat, avocados, potatoes, mushrooms, etc., all of which presumably have the same types of marketing efforts. WTH is again selecting presenting the evidence here.

  2. Epidemiological associations must be very strong to suggest causation.

    The classic example is the association between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, when the “relative risk” was very high: pack-a-day smokers had 10-to 35 times greater risk than non-smokers. Compare that to the 1.17 relative risk in cancer for the highest and lowest quintiles of red meat eaters. That number for processed red meat is 1.18.

  3. For more on this, see this paper by Edward Archer, Ph.D. or read this excellent piece by journalist Christie Aschwanden. I also cover this in my book, pp. 262-263.

  4. Gary Taubes wrote a great post on this here.

  5. For more on this issue and how Walter Willett, a top Harvard epidemiologist, responded to accusations from statisticians on these issues, read my book, pp. 261-266. A recent post on Harvard and “p-hacking” is here.

  6. A similar measure of association, called a “hazards ratio,” is worth consideration if it is lower than .5 or larger than 2. If the hazard ratio is too close to 1, this means that the strength of association is nearly zero.

  7. The best trials are both randomized and controlled. In such trial, a researcher takes a group of subjects and randomly splits them into two equal groups. One gets a special diet while the other group receives a “control” diet. To be “well controlled,” each group must get the same intervention—i.e., the same amount of counseling, doctors’ visits, free food, and overall attention—in order to avoid the improvement that is inevitably seen in a patient just by virtue of receiving attention from a health professional. Because it turns out that most of us will watch what we eat a little more carefully if we know that someone is looking over our shoulder.

  8. Note: I’m not claiming that all these numbers are perfect. No doubt there is a mistake or two in here, as inevitably happens when reviewing a lot of data. Defenders of the vegan diet will likely use an error and dismiss the entire piece as “error ridden,” but whether I’ve counted every post correctly is dwarfed by the overwhelming amount of weak, biased and inconclusive data cited in WTH to make claims that are unjustifiable by any measure.

  9. Michael Greger “proudly serve[d] as the public health director for the Humane Society of the United States” until 2016, according to his website.

    Neal Barnard has long been linked to animal-rights groups and activities, such as noted here, here, here, here, and here.

  10. Jeanine Bentley. U.S. Trends in Food Availability and a Dietary Assessment of Loss- Adjusted Food Availability, 1970-2014, EIB-166, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, January 2017.

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121 comments

  1. Nic
    This sounds like the head of McDonald's or some major meat eating corporation has Hired some meat eating Junky who has a PHD in writing absolute garbage to put this together. I've never read such crap and false information in all my life. Kip also talks about sustainability for the planet and why wasn't this mentioned here. He also talks about how we are the human body is set up to consume a plant based diet rather than meat and this wasn't also mentioned. Don't be fooled people. This has to be sponsored by a massive meat corporation just like all the the other health associations are because they want you to become ill. We are in the world of treating diseases and not preventing them.
    Replies: #77, #92, #115, #128
  2. Lorletha
    Ultimately it's all about choices. Each one of us makes them based on our goals, our beliefs and the information we have at the time. I cannot speak for anyone else, but, I follow a low carb diet to hopefully reverse my diabetes and achieve satiety. I know there are other choices out there, but, for me this one works best. For health reasons, I have been both a vegetarian and a vegan. These diets did not work for me. While I'm sympathetic to the humane treatment of animals I do not believe human evolution developed on a plant only diet. However, if individuals wish to follow a vegan/vegetarian diet I have absolutely nothing against that. It is a biological fact that some animals are predators. Can a wolf or lion be shamed into becoming an herbivore? No, it is part of their biology, they can only be what they are. It has been said that humans are super predators. Denying our hunter/gatherer legacy will not negate it, especially on a biological level. LCHF/Ketogenic does not promote excessive meat eating, in fact it encourages a semi-strict adherence of 25% or less of protein consumption. Considerably less than the average individual is eating.
  3. SGK
    In my (humble) opinion, what Nina Teicholz argues should not be rejected based on her being a journalist. An argument can be rejected if it does not hold. To be reliable you should scrutinize the arguments presented, and see if they hold based on that, not based on the title of the person making the argument.
  4. 1 comment removed
  5. Skyboy
    Nina might be pushing her own agenda? Which is fine, just don't pretend to be an objective journalist in the process:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/the-money-behind-the-fight-over...

    Reply: #102
  6. overland_traveler
    You are so full of shit, I don't know where to start. To make the claim that CBD oil "cures cancer"...humm. Let's see...I had leukemia, and I also used CBD oil, which, strangely, didn't cure my cancer. Can you tell me how CBD oil stops immature white cells from killing mature white cells? Just let me know, because that's what leukemia is. Leukemia is the result of a lack of mature white cells, which is the lack of an immune system. Hummm...nope, not going to work if I ingest some CBD. People like you are so infuriating because you make blanket claims and then have NO SCIENTIFIC PROOF. None. There are over 156 types of cancer, so which cancer does CBD cure? Please, please, let the world know so cancer survivors can NOT suffer, please.
  7. Christina
    "For comparison, I can't imagine myself going to a vegan website, searching for blogs I don't agree about and telling them that they shouldn't eat dead, decaying vegetables that will ferment in their colon and kill them with diabetes. "

    I can't either. My brain won't accept that as a mentally healthy, acceptable and constructive action. Or maybe it's because no indignant omnivore nor LCHF diet advocate demanded I bother vegan forums and websites. I wouldn't do it anyway: if I wanted to convince people my way of eating was the healthiest and best, I'd do so with blood lipid panel test results, recent photos of myself, and links to RCTs, not by acting like a radio-controlled flying monkey. I suspect some vegan advocacy guiding light triggered by the mention of "Nina Teicholz" led them here.

  8. Jutta
    Yes, breast milk has saturated fat, very true. Yet, many vegans claim low fat and bang on about the necessity of breast milk for the newborn baby (which I wholeheartedly agree with) but it's going against the whole low fat malark, isn't it? Seems there is confusion there.

    You also have those who are anti meat who say that ALL meat eaters are going to get cancer and are obese. I have never felt healthier and had more energy AND looked 20 years younger! I am heading to 40 this year and constantly get commented on how I look 25! But less about me... back to topic..

    There is processed food and unprocessed, organic free range food. I choose the latter, and yup, that includes meat. You eat processed anything, whether vegan or not, YOU WILL have health issues, a no brainer.

    I was the most miserable when I was vegan, but this is MY experience. Sorry but each to their own. If you want to eat like a hunter gatherer, good for you and if you want to eat purely plant based, good for you. I am sick of this holier than though BS that (sorry but a lot) of Vegans tend to have - and yes some meat eaters too.

    Take home message, which we ALL need to understand is, NOBODY is 100% ethical, but, all we can do is try to be mindful of what we eat, whether it is meat and/or veg. Now, lets all hug :D

  9. Jutta
    So true!

    When will there be a study comparing a vegan diet and a paleo diet for example. None about as far as the eye can see...Makes me truly wonder!

  10. 1 comment removed
  11. Jeremy
    Two points to the author:

    ... "because there’s no sound evidence to show that these traditional, whole foods are bad for health"

    Not true.
    Orlich, Michael J., et al. "Vegetarian dietary patterns and mortality in Adventist Health Study 2." JAMA internal medicine 173.13 (2013): 1230-1238.
    Orlich, Michael J., et al. "Vegetarian dietary patterns and the risk of colorectal cancers." JAMA internal medicine 175.5 (2015): 767-776.
    As you will note, these are epidemiological studies - not RCTs. However, they are the best evidence available.

    As a physician, it continually annoys me when people criticize a point of view because the only evidence isn't Level 1 evidence, yet there is absolutely NO evidence, or even less quality evidence supporting THEIR idea.

    In other words, you can't claim that eggs, fat, meat, and dairy are really good for you because there isn't Level 1 evidence, only level 2 or 3 evidence that they are harmful. You have to produce higher quality evidence (Level 1) that your side works. There is no level 1 evidence to support your claims. I'm not even sure there is large epidemiological studies to support your side.

    Second comment:

    I'm always shocked and amazed at how offended people get when someone points out that eating more whole foods is way better for you. I can't understand why people get super offended at that. That seems so intuitive and obvious that eating radishes, a beat salad, some nuts, and an advocado - is way more beneficial to the host then eating a rib eye..but obviously, it really pisses people off when this is mentioned.

    Although I do agree with you the film is over the top and uses poor tactics that are very annoying in the documentary realm.

    I personally believe that there is plenty of good science and plenty of good reasons to support a whole food, plant based diet and one doesn't need to resort to these tactics.

    The book "Whole" by T.C. Campbell is a great read and talks about why people are so upset and how come they have such a hard time accepting some of the data. It is worth reading.

    Replies: #66, #67
  12. RT
    Once again, Nina Teicholz gives us an excellently argued, meticulously researched rebuttal against pseudoscience. And just as can be expected, that tired old fallacy, the Argument from Authority, has been invoked against her. It is claimed that, being a journalist, she is therefore unqualified to make the argument that she does. As if Kip Andersen, with his business degree and yoga teaching certification, is somehow more "qualified" than Ms. Teicholz to make pronouncements on health and nutrition?
  13. RT
    Another claim made on this thread is that there is no Level 1 evidence to support the contention that fat and fatty foods are healthy. This is a factually false statement. There have been dozens of randomized controlled trials demonstrating effects of LCHF such as improvements in blood triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure. These RCTs (47 in all) were among the evidence given by Profesor Tim Noakes' legal team during his prosecution for alleged professional misconduct by the Health Professions Council of South Africa. By comparison, the prosecution - which had three full years to prepare and carry out their case against Noakes - could only come up with a single meta-analysis. https://www.thenoakesfoundation.org/news/blog/a-comparison-of-the-evi...
  14. 1 comment removed
  15. Flav
    After watching the movie.....and 10 hours of research, I decided to try it for 3 weeks....I had just received my blood tests due to my mild high blood pressure 5 days before watching the movie...so thanks to my pain in the ass friend Ang​.....who posted the movie....my 80 year old dad and I tried it.........Holy crap what a pain in the ass......we did it though. Three weeks of a totally plant based diet......EXCEPT for butter, where we used natural Amish butter. Now to the facts...I scheduled an appointment with my doctor on exactly the 3rd week of eating a total plant based diet........
    Doctor....What's wrong?
    Me...I need my sugar and LDL blood tests redone.....
    Doctor.......Ummm Why, we just did them 3 weeks ago....
    Me....Well Doc, I went on a plant based diet for 3 weeks.....
    Doctor....Well, that isn't long enough to see results for those 2 tests
    Me....Doc, I'm paying $630 a month for heath insurance.....I can be driving a brand new Mercedes Benz....humor me and submit the effin tests...
    Doc...Um.....ok...take the tests( this was 6 days ago)...

    The tests came back today......My Sugar was still a bit elevated(ehhhhh), but my LDL (bad cholesterol) went from 146 to 81.....in 3 weeks.....

    the funny thing is Google how to lower your LDL.....well here it is:

    How do you lower LDL?
    1. Eat heart-healthy foods
    Choose healthier fats. Saturated fats, found primarily in red meat and dairy products, raise your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol. ...
    Eliminate trans fats. ...
    Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. ...
    Increase soluble fiber. ...
    Add whey protein.

    ....I think something may be wrong....or it may just be me.......

    Replies: #79, #88
  16. SteveM

    I'm always shocked and amazed at how offended people get when someone points out that eating more whole foods is way better for you. I can't understand why people get super offended at that. That seems so intuitive and obvious that eating radishes, a beat salad, some nuts, and an advocado - is way more beneficial to the host then eating a rib eye..but obviously, it really pisses people off when this is mentioned.

    I don't have a dog in the fight related to the LCHF diet model. I'm prepared to walk away from it tomorrow if it's proven to be harmful. So let the data chips fall where they may.

    But here Jeremy is essentially suggesting that intuition alone is sufficient to make a determination about the relative value of different food sources. His intuition is based on years of conditioning. Offer the above alternatives to a native Inuit who subsists on a natural diet and see where his intuition leads him.

    Humans are omnivores and developed a preference for meat for a reason. It seems ridiculous to argue away that anthropological fact by pointing to intuition heavily influenced by cultural indoctrination.

  17. Molly
    what about those of us who tried going vegan/vegetarian and ended up sick after years of the diet? My thyroid, adrenals, and digestion were shot. Now that I've began eating meat again my digestion problems are completely gone.

    We can speculate on science all we want but food and diet is a very personal part of life. There isn't a scientific study in the world that could convince me to eliminate animal products again.

    Reply: #82
  18. Whatever
    It's actually very scientifically proven globally that meat and dairy products contribute to health issues. It's also proven by data that food companies like to pay to promote the "health" of their foods, including funding "studies." Everybody knows this all works. The fact that the food chain is loaded with chemicals is also indisputable. But hey America is full of obese people and has one of the lowest quality health of all developed countries, despite that we have plenty of medication and medical business to keep people healthy. Wonder where all the sickness is coming from then.
    Replies: #78, #93
  19. Naba10x
    Dr Hyman's response can be easily discredited because he wrote an entire book on premises for which there is no level 1 evidence. He states an opinion as if it were fact. As a doctor, he should do better, but then, most doctors only reflect what they've been taught ...most of which is now being contested.
  20. Valerie
    "Note that a risk ratio is completely separate from those scary “relative change” numbers that articles report."

    Aren't they providing the same information? If the risk ratio is 1.5, it means the relative risk is 50% higher, right? Or am I getting it wrong? If so, what is the risk ratio, and what is the relative risk?

  21. Bradley
    All of that effort to write this and you missed the point entirely and even had time to make up a few of your own.

    The largest reason that this entire article is full of shit is that you claimed that Veganism is insufficient in B12 alone. Animal products do not carry any form of B12, they are injected with B12 the same way a supplement would be used but skipping the middle process. It's really not that difficult.

    A plethora of other reasons exist why all of your research is biased garbage that is plugged to sell your book as you even state.

    I'm terribly sorry that Veganism offends you so much but it will be growing and cultures have survived solely on plant based foods and continue to do so now. Why not go rescue an animal or something and attempt to show some form of compassion instead of trying to make money off of the very impressionable audience.

    Reply: #89
  22. morgan
    "as a physician"..."eat a BEAT salad and an ADVOCADO" lol
  23. mar
    One minor point: there is a highly significant difference between animal welfare and animal rights, and the people mentioned in this piece are animal rights proponents. Animal rights activists believe that animals deserve the same rights as humans and may not be kept as pets, viewed as property, or used for any human purpose at all. Animal welfare rejects that argument and is not about the elimination of domestication of animals or veganism or breaking into labs to set research mice "free". Please don't lump in the animal rights fringe with animal welfare.
  24. 1 comment removed
  25. Hannah
    Anyone with some science background knows the film is piece of crap. He is just trying to sensationalize things for his own agenda and scare the sheep. This is why non-scinentiat should not make films like these. It is dangerous to corrupt the minds of the naive.
  26. Jarett
    Wondering why Teicholz is attacking Harvard epidemiology studies? Well, Frank Hu, A HARVARD EPIDEMIOLOGIST, is a staunch opposer to Teicholz's study in the British Medical Journal.

    And, Nina, these studies are telling people to eat more fruits and vegetables. You mention that some studies don't specifically call out meat as bad, but they do cite plant-based diets as lowering people's risk for disease. We can assume a diet high in plants is also low in meat.

    Are there any doctors telling people that fruits and vegetables are bad for them?
    Where are the studies showing that fruits and vegetables cause cancer?

    Even if the claims are exaggerated and the film is stylized, that doesn't change the FACT that fruits and vegetables are healthier than meat and dairy.

    Again, all these studies show is that fruits and vegetables are healthier than meat and dairy. The lesson is: eat more fruits and vegetables and eat less meat and dairy. Try it for yourself and see if you feel better.

  27. MC FISHER
    He does mention that. He says that it's not his expertise so he'll just focus on the diet. McDonalds? Come on man. There's no mention of junk food in this article. I watched "What the Health" and I think the author was pretty accurate with his assessment. The movie had fear mongering motives. You can't just choose vegan doctors to make your points to fit your narrative. That's ridiculous and unfair. Saying sugar does not cause diabetes is also ridiculous! We've already gone through the low fat fads. Guess what? People got fat and unhealthy. L
  28. MC FISHER
    Gonna call BS on that. Italians, French, Middle Eastern cultures have eaten meats, butter, and fat for centuries. They are a lot less fat than Americans and live life in balance. Sure if you eat meat and fat only you will have health issues but to say that it's a proven fact is absolute BS. Balance is key to any healthy diet. That has been proven.
  29. MC FISHER
    So you're saying in 3 weeks your body adjusted and you almost cut your LDL in half? I mean if you don't eat at all that could happen as well but generally it takes your body longer than 3 weeks to adjust to any diet change. So I'm gonna call a little BS here. But also depends on how bad you ate before this. I mean there's also super size me where he ate McDonald's every day but had calorie control and his cholesterol also went down. There's a lot to process but I don't think the vegan diet alone made your LDL go down
  30. Diego
    This article is self refuting. It basically states you cannot accept this claim in red because it is biased because they are vegan, therefore what is good for the goose is good for the gander , you cannot support your claims for they come from a meat proponent " I come to this film with an obvious bias, since I’ve written a book, The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. The book’s central argument is that saturated fats and cholesterol have been unfairly maligned and are not, after all, bad for health."
  31. geraldine denise kuss
    This was published as part of a report by the American Cancer Society, My best friend just died of Leukemia and tried every alternative treatemnt in existance. She died peacefully in her sleep, too young to die.

    "More recently, scientists reported that THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells growing in lab dishes. Some animal studies also suggest certain cannabinoids may slow growth and reduce spread of some forms of cancer.

    There have been some early clinical trials of cannabinoids in treating cancer in humans and more studies are planned. While the studies so far have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in treating cancer, they do not show that they help control or cure the disease.

    Relying on marijuana alone as treatment while avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences."

  32. Heather
    Oftentimes it's a sign it wasn't done correctly if somebody becomes ill. People go vegan without the advice of a nutritionist and substitute out many of their meats with carb laden foods like bread, rice, and pasta. When controlled under nutritional supervision to ensure one is getting enough protein, fat, carbohydrates and overall vitamins, the diet is sustainable and provides many benefits. Vegetarian nine years and vegan for two. Never had any digestive issues, weight problems, issues with blood sugar level or cholesterol. Additionally, for full disclosure, the only nutritional deficiency I've ever experienced is vitamin D to which I was minimally deficient and is a common problem for all residents who live in Florida (apparently it's so hot we consistently stay indoors, lol) and was corrected within two months with supplementation (vegan vitamin d3) . So what you stated was a generalization, and while I have no documentation, I have the information that I've received from years of support from various nutritionists (that none of which were vegan/vegetarian) who simply studied and advocated a balanced diet.
  33. JB
    Believe what you want about food. Fact: some vegan foods will kill people (nut allergy, crohn's disease, etc.) and some meat will do the same (shell fish allergy, E. coli, etc.). Eat what makes your body work and feel the best, and give others the freedom to decide what they put in their bodies.
  34. Sarah
    See, the problem with comparing Veganism to religion, is that worshiping God won't help to reverse the effects of global warming, or greatly slow the insane rate of deforestation, or end the killing of the oceans. Veganism can. You can have an opinion, but leading experts on our environmental crisis have agreed that a serious reduction in raising live stock is needed to create any serious and lasting change. I don't care how you feel about cows, or pigs, or any other animal. I don't worship them. I am just a person who can see the problems in the world, can see they are going to lead to not only the extinction of most animals on the planet, but humans too, and choose to take the most direct and logical step to attempt to make a change. If people are passionate about veganism, it's because they don't want to see their children living in an inhospitable environment that we caused. We are not a bunch of fanatics. We just care.
  35. 1 comment removed
  36. Johan
    This article was responded by Dr. Garth Davis, one of the doctors in the documentary "What The Health". Here the link to his response: https://www.facebook.com/drgarth/posts/1555418834479019
  37. Phil Conners
    Response by Dr. Garth Davis:

    https://www.facebook.com/drgarth/posts/1555418834479019

    This debate is making me crazy!!! :-)

  38. Mark Bousquet
    LDL? Who cares. What were the changes to your Trigs and HDL?
  39. Mark Bousquet
    How long have humans being injecting B-12 into cows? Since the paleolithic when we didn't know anything about injections let alone B-12? Your statement doesn't hold up to the evidence.
  40. Trina
    You do realize that you basically shot yourself in the foot here right? You have "coded in red" every article written by a plant based doctor due to their "intellectual and commercial conflicts of interest". This is right after you admit to having an obvious bias because of the book you wrote about meat, butter, and cheese belonging in a healthy diet....aka your own intellectual and commercial conflicts of interest. By your own logic, your entire article should be "coded in red".
  41. Bren
    Folate in animal products? Was that a typo? Folate is present in both animal and plant foods and is in its highest density in plants, with lentils taking 1st place. A basic Google search gives you that one.
  42. Eric
    "I disagree with this so there must be shadowy forces behind it influencing the claims" is not a very good way to refute an argument, or even more importantly, bolster the original claims of the movie.
  43. Eric
    "very scientifically proven" but doesn't provide any scientific data

    "everybody knows this" proves absolutely nothing. You can't even write that on a Wikipedia page without getting your change reverted.

    "X fact is indisputable" without providing any indisputable evidence.

    You regurgitate (poorly) without understanding. You're not making your cause look good.

  44. 1 comment removed
  45. Katherine
    I don't profess to know very much, if anything, about diet and the correlation to heart disease and diabetes, however it probably took about three minutes into this documentary for me to realise that it was going to be highly sensational and clearly driving an agenda rather than genuinely shining a light on a public interest issue in an unbiased way. When I was younger are used to work in a call centre, and I can tell you right now that if somebody had of called me at the age of 20 and ask me why my company's website listed certain types of recipes, it would have been completely beyond my pay grade to respond to them in a meaningful way. Of course I would've told them that I didn't know, and probably in the context of a secretly recorded conversation, this would have sounded like my organisation had something to hide. But it would purely been because I was there to answer the phone about things like subscriptions and technical issues and frankly I had no training in the sorts of topics this document is delving into and my instructions from my superiors would have been to escalate this query to someone who was in a position to respond and genuinely assist the person who was asking. When I saw that this was a repeated tactic used in the documentary, clearly as a way of showing that these well-meaning organisations had something sinister going on, I really lost all faith in what this documentary was trying to achieve.
  46. 1 comment removed
  47. Carrol ostrum
    As a retired librarian, I wish people could better evaluate sources. This movie obviously uses a lot if propaganda and scare tactics.
    Also I immediately started reading other viewpoints.
    Don't ever put your trust in one source. Ask yourself what are the creditentials if the person who wrote this, or made this movie.
    Then make up your own mind , with knowledge and discernment.
    Also, I agree, not everyone is the same.
    Reply: #101
  48. 1 comment removed
  49. dr.c.heid
    haha I love how some random Nina presents the proof of all of this shown in the movie as being wrong, well dear Nina fact is that we human beings especially in the western world are terribly sick, with all the diseases mentioned in the movie, you are what you eat and that solely, we as doctors and i am one of them basically have no idea where disease comes from and why we get it in the first place, we do know a few causes and effects, but thats about it and we do not cure the cause, only the symptoms, and your proof is worth nothing. I rather trust Hippocrates than the lobby that either paid you for your article or are very pleased they found someone speaking on their behalf for free, congrats on that, lol
  50. Lisa
    Hi Joan - just to clarify, not all vegetarians or vegans think they are superior. Just like meat eaters don't like to be bunched into one category, neither do vegans or vegetarians.
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