The Fitness Industry has a ton of flash but no substance sometimes. And what I mean by that, is that it’s riddled with all the latest fads and that “nu nu” but they all eventually fizzle out. Paleo is the way, IIFYM for the win, Gluten free everything, Saturated Fat is the devil and don’t get me started on Breatharians (long story short – you don’t eat). Sure some have lasting power and others are backed by one study … done 5 years ago … and then everyone jumps on the bandwagon.
It’s easy to see how “doing Fitness” can be daunting. There’s so much information out there and every single day we’re bombarded with new ideologies and thoughts. Which leads me to Netflix’s latest documentary What The Health.
Raise your hand if you saw this (Raised). Also raise your hand if you found it incredibly difficult to sit through and at certain moments were filled with anger (also raised).
My review. It’s an incredibly biased documentary aimed solely at promoting a plant-based diet.
The film kicks off in a pretty alarming way letting the viewers know that we’re in the midst of a diabetes epidemic. And I can see the validity in this as the world obesity rates continue to rise – doubling since 1980. Diabetes is strongly correlated to dietary influence such as have high sugar diets or high saturated/trans fat intake. That’s roughly 1 minute in. It then goes on a nosedive of zero fcks given and demonizing everything from red meat, to chicken to dairy.
Some of my highlights from the film;
- “If processed meats are labeled the same as cigarettes, how is it even legal for kids to be eating this way” (aka you’re a bad parent if you give your child a hot dog – ever – tsk tsk!)
- When asked if chicken was better (a conversation regarding animal proteins) the interviewee responded with “It’s really a question of whether you want to be shot or hung.” (damn! well, I guess whatever way is less painful – thanks!)
- The fact that eating one egg a day can be as bad as smoking 5 cigarettes a day (Shoot! I had 2 eggs this morning!)
- A point made that the government was promoting “institutionalized racism” because of the dairy industry and the fact that a majority of the population is lactose intolerant (what?!?!).
- A comparison made between the 3,000 live per year that Salmonella kills being greater than the lives lost because of the 9/11 tragedy. They tried to liken that impact to terrorism and that if it were terrorism we would do something about it (of course, they had dramatic music in the background).
Honestly, I could go on for a very long time. It was a 2 hour documentary and I deep down wish there was a way to get that time back. However, I think the part I hated the most was the protagonist. His “let me act so beyond dumbfounded at everything I say” delivery of everything was so irritating. Did anyone else catch onto that? It’s like he went to the Joey Tribbiani school of acting. When you eat something, make sure you rub your tummy and say “yummmmm!!!” (nice little Friends reference for ya).
The documentary cherry picks “facts” & stats and then uses scare tactics & dramatic storytelling to drive home their ultimate message. Vegetarian/Vegan is the way mah brotha!
The film continually links meat-based diets as a strong caused for diseases such as diabetes and cancer. They go as far as saying having just one serving in a day has drastically increased your chances for poor health. Meat – gross! Veggies – yes!
According to the World Health Organization, about 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat, while about 1 million cancer deaths are due to tobacco smoking, 600,000 are due to alcohol consumption and more than 200,000 per year are due to air pollution. At no point does the documentary go into detail as to what volume of intake caused those deaths. Perhaps individuals were eating fast food 2x a day, nonstop saturated fat and perhaps there was also a lack of maintenance in other areas of life.
As for meat-based diets leading to diabetes, I will let Alexandra Freeman, the executive director of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication explain that…
that statistic comes from one journal that cited the relative risk of increase, not the absolute risk. Freeman notes: “An ‘increase’ can be made to look huge, but if it’s an increase from a tiny value to another tiny value then that puts a whole different perspective on it.”
In an effort to promote the Vegan way of life, the film grossly downplays the role of sugar as it relates to good/poor health. Instead, What the Health shifts the focus on saturated fat and animal products. And I quote;
“The cause of diabetes is a diet that builds up the amount of fat into the blood. I’m talking about a typical animal/meat-based diet”
Last time I checked gaining fat (aka bulking) or losing fat (aka getting shredded!) was all about calories in and calories out. A 3.5oz bag of sour patch kids contains 92g of Carbs ( 64g of sugar) and 0g Fat. I’m quite confident in my ability to take down 4 of those bags and not break a sweat (with room for 4 more probably). If I do that consistently while keeping a low level of activity… Ummm, I’m pretty sure I’m going to “build up the amount of fat” in my body.
I’m probably going to just cut my losses and digress right here. In closing and in my opinion…
~ You want that burger with cheese, have that burger with cheese
~ You want a 3 egg omelette, have a 3 egg omelette
~ You’re catching a ball game and want a footlong hotdog, fcking yolo!
Eat . Whey . Love believes in Freedom of Diet. To each their own. Enjoy it!
Everything is in balance. If I’m taking down Big Macs on the daily, chances are I could be going down a bad path. Life is a sum of a lot of moving parts, not just the animal products we’re ingesting. So be mindful and aware of everything in your life. Drink plenty of water! Get a decent amount of sleep! Eat a balanced diet filled with lean proteins, complex carbs and nutritious veggies! Manage your stress! And cultivate great relationships. We wrote an article about that 😉