What The Health Is Wrong?

I’m sure if you are a Netflix-binger or happen to be on any form of social media, you’ve heard something about the film, What The Health. Many people are praising the filmmakers, Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn, for their straight-to-the-point attitude and the wealth of information they provide to the public. There is something that would make this film even better, in my opinion: having factually correct information. The majority of the information presented in this film is nothing more than inaccurate vegan propaganda attempting to scare you into partaking in veganism. Please understand I absolutely am not demonizing veganism, I am just trying to bring facts to the plethora of false information the film is spreading.

One of my biggest pet peeves with this film is with the guests they interviewed. Many, if not most, are doctors, there are a few “nutritionists,” and one dietitian. If you happened to watch the film, they explicitly state that doctors only get seven hours of nutrition training. SEVEN HOURS. How is anyone qualified to talk about nutrition if they have only had seven hours of training? That would be the equivalent of me attending a single 3-credit class, along with completing the outside reading and work for only one week. A few of the doctors did have specializations in areas that work closely with nutrition, but not all. These people are not qualified to talk about how you should completely change your entire life, related to diet. Along with interviewing doctors, the filmmakers interviewed a couple nutritionists. There is no regulation on the title “nutritionist.” My dog can claim to be a nutritionist, your mechanic can claim to be a nutritionist, even that kid riding their bike around the neighborhood can claim to be a nutritionist because there is no regulation. Although someone may be a “certified nutritionist,” there is still no standard of certification, no consistency across cities, states, the country; nothing. In order to get accurate, reliable nutrition information, the best source would be from a registered dietitian. Dietitians must complete strict coursework from an accredited school, hold at least a bachelor’s degree, complete a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised practice from an accredited program and then pass a national, standardized exam. Dietitians make decisions and opinions based on factual evidence and scientific research, not emotions and fads. This film was only able to interview one dietitian, and her comment was not relevant to the main point of the film. With all the falsities in the film, it’s no wonder they could not get more dietitians to complete an interview or use a comment that was relevant to the film.

The first claim that made me really start to question What The Health, was that meat, and not carbohydrates, is what causes diabetes. While I also do not believe carbohydrates deserve all of the blame, meat is being wrongfully accused here. When claims sound outrageous and you have never heard them before, it’s best to go look at the sources cited. In order to make a claim like this, you must have multiple scientific studies to back yourself up. One of the sources cited for this claim explicitly states that meat consumption is often looked at as a variable to developing type-2 diabetes, but there is absolutely no evidence that it is a risk factor. Another study they referenced mentioned the cause is a defect in oxidative phosphorylation (this is a pathway that your cells use in order to create energy), so while it’s not blaming carbohydrates, it has nothing to do with meat as the primary factor in developing type-2 diabetes. Other sources are the website of one their interviewees, yet throughout the film, they talk about major conflicts of interest from the meat industry. Hello, do you not see what it is that you just did by using that website as a source? There was one other source, a website and not a scientific study, which did not provide any evidence about how meat causes diabetes, only unjustified claims. Hey, Kip Anderson, these sources do not back up your claim at all, just want to let you know so you can give us the facts you claim to have.

I will not go through all of the other outrageous claims they make, you can go see them for yourself right on their website. While some of these are correct and accurate, a lot of the ones they use to scare and trick people into adopting a vegan lifestyle are inaccurate.

Throughout What The Health, quite a few vegans are interviewed and they open up about how their lives changed for the better when they took up veganism. Some people were able to achieve the level of fitness they desired, some reversed the diseases they were diagnosed with and no longer take medication because of their vegan diet, but these stories should be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone’s metabolism is different. What works for these people may not work for someone else, therefore it absolutely will not work for the entire population. Maybe someone who is now vegan was able to stop taking the medications they were previously prescribed because the diet they had before the adoption of veganism was cupcakes for lunch, fried fast food for dinner, and the only vegetable they would eat were onion rings. Maybe now, as a vegan, they eat a large variety of vegetables and whole grains. We do not get any background information about these people before their switch to veganism, which can be potentially misleading.

With this, I challenge you to question every claim you hear. Do not take someone’s word unless you can back it up for yourself. Do not accept or allow false information to be spread because education is the only defense we have against ignorance. You can help to correct the inaccuracies this film spreads throughout society so we spread correct information designed to educate, not scare.

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