For those of you who may not know about this film, it's a documentary that premiered on Netflix early this past spring. This documentary seems to be the latest trend in the food world. Many people are quick to believe the claims they see in these popular documentaries, and rush to change their diets because of them. Honestly, we can't blame them. So many of these documentaries seem to feature MD's, and why wouldn't we listen to a doctor? Unfortunately, many of these doctors are biased, with a perspective skewed by their financial interest.
Here, we will debunk some of the claims that are made in "What the Health", and provide some counterpoint.
Claim: Eating dairy may increase the risk for cancer, especially breast cancer.
Truth: Even the documentary's own website says that the evidence behind this claim is "blurry and partially contradictory and equivocal". The American Cancer institute has researched the subject, and was unable to conclude an increase risk in breast cancer from dairy consumption. While dairy may increase certain types of cancers, like prostate, it can also decrease the risk for colon cancer. Everything in moderation, right?
Claim: Eating 1 egg a day has the same detrimental effects as smoking 5 cigarettes a day.
Truth: This is a scary one!! Eggs are actually very nutrient dense, protein packed food that are inexpensive and a great option for so many people. The Journal of American Medicine, the National Institute of Health, and the Canadian Research Chair of Nutrition and Functional Medicine concluded that the consumption of up to 6 eggs per week was NOT associated with higher risk for heart attack, stroke, or mortality.
Claim: Meat and animal based diets prove an increased risk for diabetes and cancer.
Truth: Eating processed meat 7 days a week will greatly increase your risk for cancer and other diseases but eating a burger at a cookout every now and again, very unlikely to impact your cancer risk. This documentary even claims that carb consumption may DECREASE risk for diabetes!
Claim: There is a link between consumption of dairy and autoimmune disease.
Truth: The National Institute of health had something to say about this one!!! Their studies have shown virtually no correlation between dairy and type 1 diabetes. When it comes to Chrohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, results are inconclusive. Again, everything in moderation!!! Dairy is beneficial in probiotics, building strong bones, and more.
I think our point here is clear. Throughout this documentary, there is a lot of opinion and many unsubstantiated claims, misleading statements, and "alternative facts"! Just because someone has an MD after their name doesn't mean that everything coming out of their mouths is true/reliable. Many of the diseases discussed cannot be pinned on one main food group. These diseases are caused by multiple layers, and diet is only one factor. Before you cut out any one major food group, (which we don't recommend) make sure you do your research. The producers of this film were highly selective of the information they presented and interpreted. Please be educated before making any life changes!
Making people terrified of food is never a good way to get them to eat healthy!
Want to learn more about how to decipher all the trendy diets out there? Click here to set up some one-on-one time with Anne.