What the Health, a [vegan] film review

“The whole problem with the world today is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people are so full of doubts,” Bertrand Russell.

Now that the film “What the Health” is on Netflix, I went back and watched this film again to refresh my memory as to why I rolled my eyes so many times the first time I watched it. I think it was shortened a bit because one scene, that stood out in my mind, I didn’t see again. Regardless, “What the Health” is the second film by the filmmakers who made the film Cowspiracy  (which I reviewed back in 2014 click here to read that review).

First, major spoiler alerts….so you may want to watch the film and then read my review.

The first part of the film basically states that meat unequivocally is the cause of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease [CVD]. The middle parts of the film deal with environmental bioconcentration of toxins in meat, factory farming, and the influence of funding on research outcomes. While the end of the film gets into humans being frugivores, and having no nutritional need for meat. (This portion includes a discussion of the “rice diet”). The movie ends with how easy and cheap it is to follow a vegan diet with patients claiming how quickly they cured themselves of all modern illnesses and got off all their drugs by just “going vegan.” During the different parts of this film, Kip speaks to a virtual who’s who of vegan doctors (Greger, Kahn, Barnard, Mills, Esselstyn, etc). He doesn’t seek out any contrary or other points of view.

Before discussing some of the film’s many shortcomings, the few parts of the film that do make some sense are its segments on factory farming and on the overuse use of subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics with factory farmed livestock. Environmental pollution from pig CAFO’s in North Carolina is something Nicolette Hahn Niman discussed at length in her first book Righteous Porkchop. While working as an environmental attorney for Robert Kennedy Jr’s group Waterkeeper Alliance, Niman dealt with many of the issues raised in What the Health particularly regarding pollution from manure lagoons and the environmental racism of locating these CAFO’s near poor communities of people of color. These are all salient issues as is the issue of using sub therapeutic levels of antibiotics due to the crowded and unnatural conditions of such confined operations. Though unlike, What the Health, Niman does realize that there are alternatives to these factory type operations, and highlights these options. Whereas the film doesn’t try to make any such distinctions, since the film’s goal is to explicitly promote veganism.

Another segment of the film pointing out the influence of industrial/corporate funding on research outcomes is pertinent as well. But it is also a bit ironic, since vegan doctors also rely upon such research to affirm their beliefs (e.g. early and ongoing lipid and diet heart hypothesis research scapegoating saturated fat and cholesterol were funded by the sugar industry and continue to be funded by the pharmaceutical industry). These vegan [plant based]  doctors do this while simultaneously and quickly dismissing any research as corporate funded that contradicts their points of view, even when that research wasn’t corporate funded. Coincidently, how many vegan doctors recently challenged the recent American Heart Association [AHA] position paper on coconut oil, saturated and polyunsaturated fats even though the AHA received and continues to receive a lot of funding from soybean oil , pharmaceutical and processed food companies? Nope, vegan doctor Joel Kahn  reaffirmed the AHA’s findings because those findings further and conveniently reinforce his beliefs. So to say the least, it’s a bit disingenuous for vegan doctors to rail against the “Big Egg” and this sector’s supposed  influence on the 2015 USDA food guidelines removal of cholesterol as an item of concern while not acknowledging that “Big Pharma” made a lot more money off of statins over the past 30 or so years demonizing cholesterol.

Anyway moving on to some of the film’s many faults, for cancer Kip cites the recent  World Health Organization [WHO] report. Kip proclaims after reading this, he changed his diet, even though obviously he was already vegan long before this report came out in 2015. So to say the least, Kip is being a bit disingenuous.

The WHO report was the report that classified processed meat as a type 1 carcinogen (along with sunshine) and unprocessed meat as a type 2A carcinogen (along with heated beverages like coffee and tea). The report was a meta-analysis meaning, the WHO group did a keyword search and identified 800 studies related to the topic of processed meat, meat and cancer. Kip doesn’t understand how meta-analysis works. He asserts that 800 studies proved meat causes cancer. The reality was that for the form of cancer most ASSOCIATED with eating processed meat, colorectal cancer, WHO used 7 studies (out of the 800) to reach their conclusion (1). All seven of these studies were epidemiology studies meaning that the studies were observational studies. The WHO panel excluded other studies that contradicted their conclusion. Did any of these studies look at how the meat was processed, what other ingredients beside meat were included in the processed meats, or where any of the meat was sourced from? No of course not, none of the seven observational studies they cited did this.

Kip then highlights the report’s findings that eating a daily portion of processed meat increases colorectal cancer risk 18%. Sounds scary right? He then goes on to assert that eating processed meat is as bad as smoking cigarettes, and that children should be forbidden from eating processed meats- quite the melodrama.

Well, Kip (like many other people including doctors and science writers) doesn’t understand the difference between relative and absolute risk or, for that matter, how relative risk is actually determined. To begin with the 18% number Kip cited is relative risk NOT absolute risk. And to get an idea of how absurd the comparison of risk is to smoking, the relative risk for smoking is 2300%. Meaning people who smoke have a 23 times greater chance of getting cancer than those that don’t (2). Relative risk is a ratio derived from comparing a group with a control group.  So for the relative risk in the case of processed meat, if you have one group of 100 people  who ate meat and another 100 who didn’t, 6 out of 100 that ate meat got colorectal cancer whereas only 5 people in the control group that didn’t eat meat got colorectal cancer (6/5 = 1.18 or 18% increase). The actual ABSOLUTE risk is less than half a percent (6% – 5% = 1.0%). Not so scary any more, is it?

Remember too that this is an ASSOCIATION based on observational studies that don’t really isolate confounding factors (variables). Association doesn’t equal causation especially when absolute risk is so small. For example, it’s quite possible that the high fructose corn syrup in hot dogs is what causes cancer rather the meat in hot dogs. Or, for that matter, the French fries fried in soybean oil that were consumed with the hot dog rather than the hot dog itself (3) that cause the cancer. Again epidemiology can’t make any such distinctions. Nutritional science, in general, is very vague and difficult to do. As Bertrand Russell noted, “The whole problem with the world today is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people are so full of doubts.”

Relying on observational studies and not understanding the difference between relative risk and absolute risk are reoccurring themes in this film. In general, these are reoccurring problems with media coverage of such studies, since stating relative risk is more sensational and generates more eyeballs and click throughs than actually understanding how the studies are done and whether or not the absolute risk warrants as much concern.

Moving on to diabetes, here Kip and his so-called experts proclaim that meat, not sugar, causes type 2 diabetes. To hammer this point, “diabetes expert” and PCRM doctor Neal Barnard (Board Certified in psychiatry  not in internal medicine nephrology or endocrinology) provides the free fatty acids [FFA] gunking up the insulin receptor site hypothesis that’s popular in the vegan community. Type 1 diabetes is caused by not having enough insulin whereas type 2 is caused by insulin résistance. The issue with type 2 is that the insulin isn’t working as well to get glucose into cells, so more and more insulin is needed to reduce blood glucose levels. The gunk up theory of insulin résistance is that free fatty acids block insulin receptor sites so glucose can’t get into the cells. The vegan argument is that all of these free fatty acids come from the saturated fats (meat) a person consumes.

Well, there are some major problems with this “gunking up receptor site” hypothesis. First is that high fat ketogenic diets have been shown to reduce triglyceride levels (4). So it is hard to have more free fatty acids with lower triglyceride levels since free fatty acids are fats detached from the their glyceride backbones. Or, in other words, lower triglycerides means lower free fatty acid levels. Additionally, there’s the whole issue of fatty acid synthesis (5) by one’s liver, a process called de novo lipogenesis [DNL].  The liver converts excess carbs to saturated fats (mainly palmitic and palmitolec fatty acids to be exact) (6). This DNL process occurs when the level of sugar (glucose and fructose) exceeds the glycogen storage capacity of the liver. Fructose is especially problematic for DNL since fructose can only be processed by the liver, whereas glucose can be utilized by cells throughout the body. So after DNL takes place, there are three sources of FFA’s that get into the bloodstream: From excess carbs converted to fats, from stored fat reserves (adipose tissue) and from food. Of the three, the third from food is the  least consequential. There is a postprandial (after eating) rise in fat levels in the blood, but the levels are lower in the fasting state.

(Note there’s a claim by Dr. Davis as well as an article by Dr. McDougall that sugar doesn’t easily convert to fat via DNL. This assertion is based mainly on  “a studywith only nine people. The only problem is that there have been better designed studies, including this one, that show the exact opposite namely: “..This study supports the hypothesis that hepatic DNL is one of the mechanisms by which low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets induce hypertriglyceridemia in human subjects. Furthermore, hepatic DNL may also be a determining factor in inducing hypertriglyceridemia in insulin-resistant subjects, irrespective of their diets…” But then again cherry picking data is used to confirm biases, and vegan doctors LOVE to cherry pick).

Since the source of FFA’s is from DNL and adipose tissue, not consumed saturated fats, even using this hypothetical mechanism of gunked up receptor sites, the cause of diabetes is still excess carbs, especially fructose, even though fructose doesn’t spike blood glucose levels- see non-alcoholic fatty liver disease [NAFLD]. If you look at the dietary protocols of many of the whole food plant based doctor’s diets like Greger, they also are reducing refined carbs (in addition to eliminating meat) while also increasing fiber. Fiber slows down the rate at which fructose is released to be processed by the liver. So bottom-line is eat less soda, processed foods with HFCS, highly refined carbs, and fruit juices. As diabetes doctors like kidney specialist Dr. Jason Fung have demonstrated (7), type 2 diabetes can also be reversed using ketogenic high fat diets. So it’s not the fats, it’s the sugars, especially fructose causing fatty liver disease, DNL and FFA’s into the blood stream. Cut these fast simple carbs, and you can reverse type 2 whether you eat meat or don’t eat meat.

Okay this is just the first twelve or so minutes of the film. The argument against  meat continues with the argument that meat causes cardiovascular disease [CVD]. This argument is based on the lipid hypothesis and diet-heart hypothesis. Ironically in this YouTube video, 40 Year Vegan Dies of a Heart Attack,   Greger himself argues that arteriosclerosis is due to inflammation from high Omega 6 to 3 ratios and oxidized polyunsaturated fats. In this video, while Greger grossly oversimplified the fatty acid profiles of the foods he cites, he still argued for the oxidative stress theory of arteriosclerosis rather than the lipid hypothesis. So CVD is caused by inflammation and not the consumption of fats. High anti-oxidants plants are good since these antioxidants help mitigate free radicals.  Note too since the 1960’s in the US that as consumption of saturated fats has gone down, consumption of highly processed polyunsaturated fatty acids have gone up way up as have the rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Yes, as recent animal studies have demonstrated, soybean oil is also obesogenic (8).  So as the late lipidologist Fred Kummerow noted, “Oxidized lipids contribute to heart disease both by increasing deposition of calcium on the arterial wall, a major hallmark of atherosclerosis, and by interrupting blood flow, a major contributor to heart attack and sudden death.”(9).

Rather than go on and on regarding the films many structural flaws and biases, let me just note a few further egregiously misinformed points the film gets wrong regarding the rice diet, B12 and human evolution.

Regarding the rice diet, as Dr. Jason Fong points out in this essay, Thoughts on the Kempner Rice Diet,  the effectiveness of the diet had little to do with it being low fat or high carb. The diet was low calorie so there were no excess carbs, and there especially wasn’t excess fructose in the form of high fructose corn syrup. So using this diet as a justification for sugar not causing diabetes, as Greger did, is more than a bit misguided. Note too Fung is a nephrologist (kidney specialist and Board Certified in internal medicine) with a clinical practice whereas Greger’s background is in zoonotic disease without any clinical practice (Greger is not Board Certified in anything related to internal medicine) .

Greger is equally misinformed on B12 (cobalamin) synthesis since this occurs when cobalt is converted to B12 by gut bacteria. Yes B12 is synthesized by anaerobic bacteria, but those bacteria reside in the microflora of animals rather than in the soil. Remember too that in the natural world the distinction between an animal’s gut flora and the soil’s rhizosphere isn’t as distinct as it is in urban environments with waste treatment facilities. Animals, including humans, poop out different bacteria so gut microbes end up in soil, and soil microbes end up being consumed. Human guts actually contain the bacteria to synthesize B12 (10), however since we’re hindgut fermenters, we poop out this B12. Gorillas and chimps get their B12 by eating their own poop (coprophagia – see gorilla eating his own poop video here)   With foregut fermenters like ruminants, the conversion happens in the four part stomach BEFORE the intestines, so the cobalamin is then absorbed in the intestines before being pooped out. As long as ruminants can get sufficient cobalt from their forages, they can make B12 in their guts which is then distributed to all their tissues. B12 is most bio-concentrated in the liver.

Contrary to the assertions in the film, vegans tend also to be deficient in DHA, unless they supplement with algae pills, as well as fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K2. Certain essential amino acids too, since plant protein aren’t as complete or as concentrated as animal sources of proteins.  plus mineral absorption can be problematic  since plant oxalates may block uptake of iron, etc. Potential deficiencies also have a lot to do with genotype (SNP) differences meaning different people convert ALA to EPA to DHA and beta carotene to retinal and varying degrees of efficiency. Taste can come into play with K2 since plant based sources of K2 like natto aren’t very appealing to a lot of people. There are simply many more palatable options to get K2 from animal sources than plant sources, and no,  human K2  manufactured by gut bacteria isn’t accessible.  K2 must be obtained through food or supplementation. So, needless to say, some people are better suited to vegan diets than others. There is no one size fits all diet.

As for human evolution, it’s also pretty funny that the PCRM and ER doctor Milton Mills’ 1987 paper on comparative physiology has become the basis of the vegan argument that humans are frugivores instead of omnivores. This is so amusing because Mills is a creationist who doesn’t even believe in evolution. He’s also an emergency room doctor without any background whatsoever in paleoanthropology. The silly teeth meme bantered around social media and presented here in the film ignores the simple fact that humans and our hominid ancestors have used crude tools as far back as 2.6 million years to pre-process food (including meat and root vegetables) outside our mouths so we lost the need for large jaws, teeth, and claws. With smaller jaws, hominids were also able to develop more of an aptitude for speech. All of these fine points and many more are detailed in Harvard professor of paleoanthropology David Lieberman’s book The Story of the Human Body. Here too is a brief article noting how slicing meat made us humans, How Sliced Meat Drove Human Evolution. Hominids also later started cooking with fire which further tenderized meats and other foods including starches. So how many dogs, bears, and lions does one see using tools and cooking with fire? Sometimes vegan reasoning is just plain inane. And as for human guts, human digestive tracts are quite distinct as well. Humans do have stomachs with strong acids to break down proteins, Plus unlike other primates, humans have very short colons so humans can’t really digest or utilize cellulose like other apes do and thus get only a small portion (10% +/-) of energy from short chained fatty acids [SCFA]. Gorillas get around 60% of their energy from SCFA’s.

Needless to say, What the Health, is just more vegan propaganda from the creators of Cowspiracy. Kip is obviously too scientifically illiterate to understand any scientific studies he reads, and he is only really interested in finding so called ‘experts” who will reinforce his vegan beliefs. So just like with Cowspiracy, there’s no effort at balance as the fanatically foolish Kip  pursues his white whale.



(1) http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(15)00444-1/fulltext

(2) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/in-depth/cancer/art-20044092

(3) http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2017/06/07/ajcn.117.154872.abstract?papetoc

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2716748/

(5) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YV0bHzHAfw&t=15s

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3142722/

(7) https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/category/patient-testimonials/

(8) http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0132672

(9) https://news.illinois.edu/blog/view/6367/204873

(10) https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v283/n5749/abs/283781a0.html

25 thoughts on “What the Health, a [vegan] film review

  1. Reblogged this on Where The Wild Rose Grows and commented:
    I found this a thoughtful response to the recent “What the Health” stir. Ethically- and sustainably-sourced meat and other animal products play a very important role in supporting health and healing (as do a varied and broad selection of vegetables and fruits)!


    1. Precisely what about meat is required?

      Also: “Ethically- and sustainably” is basically impossible. You cannot ethically kill a sentient life form with no desire to die. And meat eating is basically unsustainable for a global population. It is one of the biggest contributors to climate change.


      1. Have you been on any ranches that are using cattle to regenerate land? Or are all your comments based on watching Cowspiracy or perusing vegan websites? Healthy soils are essential for sustainable food systems. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK7vXwIOlGk&t=47s Well managed livestock systems rebuild healthy soils…..Poorly managed livestock, like most forms of tilled and industrial cropping systems, undermine soil health. Though i doubt you have the capacity to differentiate between any system of food production whether that production is for plants or animals.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I haven’t seen it. Your source here is a claim made by someone on a video. Sounds just the format of Cowspiracy. Assuming I take her word for it, how exactly is this sustainable for a global population? To feed the global population the amount of beef Americans eat would requires a vast amount of land.


      3. There you go again with your Cowspiracy level of knowledge using the land fallacy as presented in this film based on Ope’s book. You obviously haven’t a clue how cattle production is actually done here in the US or elsewhere around the globe. Here’s an excerpt from my review of Ope’s book where I deconstruct this land fallacy:

        “…Regardless Ope also seems to be under the false impression that all cattle globally is raised continuously on grains. On page 123 of his book, in his argument against grass fed “cows” purportedly after talking to thirty experts on stock densities, he states that there are currently (in 2012) one billion cattle raised in CAFO’s (confined animal operations). He then goes on to calculate all the land needed for all the 95 million “cows” needed in just the United States. Why Ope used the cattle inventory numbers from 2000 for a book published in 2012 is a bit puzzling. In 2014, there were approximately 88.5 million head [of cattle] total. Aside from not knowing that the word cow applies to only females that have already given birth, Ope seems oblivious to the fact that most of the United States cattle inventory is already on grass. Cows, calves, bulls and replacement heifers are continually on grass. That’s approximately 67 million animals. Yearlings being finished on grains in feedlots account for only approximately 14 mill head. Nine million dairy cows make up the balance. Globally most cattle is raised and finished on grass and never transferred to a feedlot (e.g. Brazil in 2013 only had capacity for 2.5 million head of cattle in feedlot operations), so needless to say all of Ope’s assertions and calculations are absurd. There is plenty of land to raise and finish all the cattle in the US on grasslands much of which is NOT suitable for growing crops. ..”

        You can read my full review here-

        Per the FAO’s latest paper on feed efficiency, only 13% of global inventory of cattle is currently in feedlots for finishing.

        Cattle can also be used in integrated systems on the SAME land where crops are grown. This has many benefits as my friend Dr. David Montgomery points out at the 24:15 minute mark in this discussion https://youtu.be/RhwwqySY3U4?t=24m14s

        But then again, I doubt you know anything about regenerative Ag or soil health, so here’s another good article for you to read https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/3-big-myths-about-modern-agriculture1/

        Without healthy soil , we’re more and more dependent upon petro chemical based fertilizers for yields of micro nutrient deficient plants that we eat directly and indirectly through livestock. This dependency is what’s truly unsustainable.


  2. Thank you very much for writing this article! I was concerned by much of what was said in that film, not least because it contradicted all of the diet and nutrition knowledge I have built up over the last decade. The film just felt too much like propaganda, especially with the evangelical proclamations of being healed by “just two weeks on a completely plant based diet” at the end of the film.

    Thank you for taking the time to collect a lot of good (and properly referenced and researched) evidence to disprove all the rhetoric in the film. And to reaffirm everything I know about modern food science.


  3. I really appreciate you putting time and thought into such an article. The quote on fools being certain about their beliefs while the wise are always doubtful sums up the climate of nutrition and health.

    Just a helpful note- The second to last paragraph has a typo
    @ “sometimes vegan reasoning is just plain inane”

    But thank you ever so much for the article


  4. I appreciate your work on this as someone who follows a veganish lifestyle. Thank you for this well written piece which is much needed especially for the many vegans who are advocating this without much thought.


  5. Oh my goodness I am so glad you researched this. I was not convinced watching the film. I recently have decided to go vegetarian so I thought this film would inform me but it felt way too bombastic, harsh and exaggerated. The host’s tone was also extremely hostile to anything arguing the other side which is a terrible way to make a documentary. To make a valid argument you must make concessions. It cannot be one sided. Also I was very concerned by those doctors and health specialist. Gregor never once mentioned that they’re degrees were not even related to the claims they were making. Thank you for making sense of all of this.


  6. Thank you so much for this thoughtful, intelligent (and well researched) review of the film. I will definitely be sharing this.


  7. Here’s what I don’t get about this review and others that seems to seek debunking that health documentary.

    Clearly if you look at America, we have a health epidemic of being overweight, diabetes and heart disease. Countless and I mean COUNTLESS research shows people who reduce and even eliminate fats and meats and eat more vegetables have way better outcomes on average than those who do not.

    The documentary comes from the point of people who live plant based diets so I expected some biases to be present. Like any debate you can pick these to discredit the premise but I’ve seen their approach work in countless people who changed their diets long before this documentary was thought of.

    People will defend and justify their indulgences but the America diet is a travesty. High animal fats and proteins and low fiber is a recipe for the ills we suffer today. If you believe you’re ok continuing to do what you do, then by all means don’t stop. Regardless of whether you believe this documentary has a point or not, in the end the truth will definitely manifest itself in your health one way or the other.


    1. Though this may come as a shock to you in your binary black or white world, there are more than two dietary patterns that exist. So one need not simply choose between a whole food vegan diet, and a standard American diet. No, one can also eat various forms of vegan diets as well as various forms of omnivorous ones. And guess what? When you cut out all the processed food, industrial seed oils, refined carbs as well as eat a better balance of vegetables, fruits and well sourced pastured meats (not factory meat), you ALSO get tremendous health benefits (including plenty of fiber- microbe accessible carbohydrates). For example, just look at all the people reversing T2D with LCHF and ketogenic diets.

      The reality is with nutritional science and especially epidemiology, you can’t determine causation. There are too many confounders or variables. All you can do is generate associations. The reality is that many of the other items in standard American diets, including excessive amounts of sugar and easily oxidizable seed oils, are just as, if not more, likely to be the underlying cause of modern illness than the proteins, and fatty acids in meats.

      (As an aside fyi, the amino acids in “animal proteins” are just denser bioconcentrated and more complete versions of the amino acids in “plant proteins” plus the fatty acids in meats are different ratios of many of the same fatty acids in plants. For example pastured lard can contained up to 60% oleic acid whereas olive oil contains approx 70% oleic acid. Composition of animal fatty acids rely on what the animals were fed).

      So all fear or scaremongering revolving meat is just that…fear and scaremongering. When you actually understand the scientific methodology and the difference between relative and absolute risk, the science does NOT support the fear or scaremongering. See Nina Teicholz’s review for a detailed breakdown of the health “facts” presented in this mockumentary.

      But heck, if you want to eat a supplemented vegan diet, all the power to you. A whole food vegan diet is better than a standard American one. Just don’t lie and scaremonger to get everyone else to accept your personal morality. The ends don’t justify the deceitful means.

      Anyway, since your black or white thinking is a cognitive disorder (as is over-generalization), you might want to consider upping your DHA and B12 supplements plus seek some cognitive therapy.


      1. In spite of your insipid insults (which you really can keep to yourself), I believe in earnest dialog so I’ll respond in spite of them.

        First, I firmly believe the human body isn’t build to consume meats period. Our digestive systems are much different that that of carnivores.

        Secondly, while you point to studies to support your proof of “scaremongering” I can point you to some that says otherwise. (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/mar/04/animal-protein-diets-smoking-meat-eggs-dairy).

        Third, where is the demarc of moderation when eating meats, once a day, twice a week, three times? As a matter of practicality if you ate a meat based meal then ate a plant based meal, unquestionably you will feel much better after eating the latter.

        Furthermore, this article seeks as many do to point out incidents in which people whom are vegans die early sounds exactly like those who point out how their uncle smoked his entire life and died in his 90’s.

        No diet is a full proof prevention of disease but it surely cuts the odds when you treat any machine including the body with proper maintenance. This body we have require nutrients. Meats aren’t a better source than plants in delivering them period.

        I didn’t subscribe to everything in that doc but this article in my opinion seeks to discredit rather than debate. There are many motives for doing so because people will protect their vices.

        There are other issues not even raised in that film but I just it by its entirety. As a person who’s lived both ways, I can assure you I have a physical every year and have yet to be found nutrient deficient. In fact, my numbers are better now than they were then.

        Lastly, look at your neighbors, your coworkers, your family and friends. Look at yourself. If you think this is that way your body is supposed to respond to nutrition, then by all means continue doing what you do. Neither that film nor I am holding a gun to anyone’s head.


      2. Sorry it’s hard not to be dismissive when you write such silly absolutism that’s based in mythology and binarism. I’m busy with other work, so I’ll only deal with your first item where you note:

        “First, I firmly believe the human body isn’t build [sic] to consume meats period. Our digestive systems are much different that that of carnivores.”

        First humans are omnivores, not carnivores, and we evolved eating meat. Any paleoanthropology 101 course will inform you that the homo genus and its ancestors have eaten meat for approx 2.6 to 2.8 million years. So our digestive tracts are quite adapted to eating meat especially since we have acidic stomachs, enzymes to break down proteins, and short colons. With our short colons, unlike chimps or gorillas, we’re very inefficient hindgut fermentors. So microbe accessible carbs pass through our colons too quickly for fermentation. Chimps and gorillas with longer colons ferment this cellulose more effectively and derive 60%+ of their energy from the resulting short chained fatty acids like formate, acetate, propionate and butyrate. Thus chimps and gorillas despite eating plants, primarily live off of fats.

        You may want to take a basic paleoanthropology course rather than believe in the comparative physiology mythology promulgated in the vegan cybersphere. Like I wrote above, it is just hard to take anything you write seriously when you adhere religiously to such nonsense. Period.

        Your other points are also easy to debunk, but you’re obviously a zealot, and as always there isn’t much point in arguing with zealots. Plus again, there are more than two (or “both”) ways to eat. You definitely have serious cognitive disorders. Frankly, it’s impossible to have a sane rational conversation with someone who is completely unaware, as you are, that you have these disorders.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Well said! I have not seen this film but have heard much about it through my vegan friend, who has very extreme views. I have a PhD in food safety and nutrition and find a lot of the information that has been discussed in the film very controversial. Regarding its promotion of eating a rice diet, they have failed to recognise the many scientific studies showing that rice contains high levels of arsenic which is linked to cancer. Also, they mention that meat is linked to cancer, while eating a plant based reduces the risk. Again, this isn’t necessarily accurate as fruit and vegetables contain some levels of pesticides (even organic foods which many people are not aware of) and many of these are also linked to cancer risk.

    What I also notice is that when people refer to scientific journal articles, they are cherry picking through articles that are telling them what they want to hear. I would like to know the impact factor of the journals that these articles are featured in (as that will tell us the quality of the journal), and when these articles were published, and where the research was conducted.

    As a scientist, it offends me that people can watch a silly documentary on Netflix and think that they are some kind of expert, knowing more than people who have studied hard for a career in nutrition.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “type 1 carcinogen (along with sunshine) ” Is that a joke? Never heard of skin cancer? I feel like you are trying to denigrate the classification and are failing miserably.


    1. Yes, but sunshine is also essential along with cholesterol for vitamin D synthesis. So how much sunshine one receives is the actual issue. Some is essential….too much, can be harmful. Plus in general, WHO’s classifications aren’t based on the amount of risk, and an 18% associated relative risk based on a few epidemiological studies is negligible. Watch- https://youtu.be/xDgzgDSInt0


      1. Yes something like 15min to 30min of direct sunlight on arms and face is needed for Vitamin D synthesis, I guess assuming you don’t get it from meat. I think at this point this is common knowledge and it is also known that you should wear SPF cream if exposed to sunlight for reasonably long periods.

        However I still don’t see why you bothered to mention sunshine in your statement. My point still stands that this was just to undermine WHO’s classification.


      2. In many climates, solar insolation isn’t intense enough during many times of the year to get enough D in those 15 to 30 minutes, so exposure times need to be longer. Many places also have inclement weather during long periods of the year where the sun is blocked, so Vit D has to be gotten through food. Always much better to get through real food than fortifications or supplements. More real animal food sources of vitamin D than plants ones, and you need fat in your diet to better utilize fat soluble vitamins

        As for heme, that’s a possible mechanism (theory). Per this theory , heme breaks down into carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds in the digestive tract. Though here’s an article discussing WHO/IARC’s analysis
        http://www.diagnosisdiet.com/meat-and-cancer/ which notes:

        “..Problem with theory 1: This study’s authors point out that when rats are fed a bacon-based diet, which is high in N-nitroso compounds, they DO NOT develop signs of cancer. 5) [This “bacon doesn’t cause cancer in rats” study was not included in the WHO report]….”

        Regardless, an ASSOCIATED R/R of 1.18 is still very very low. And since based on epidemiology, this doesn’t account for confounding factors of which there are many. So, this goes back to the fact that the risks within a classification aren’t equal which What The Health falsely claimed with its comparisons between eating bacon (18% relative risk) and smoking (2300% relative risk). Here’s a good article on knowing risks https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/03/upshot/know-your-risks-but-meat-still-isnt-the-enemy.html

        You do understand the difference between relative and absolute risk, don’t you?

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s