The film follows director Kip Andersen as he interviews several physicians with whom many of us are familiar–Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, and others.
Andersen also interviews (or tries to) several representatives of various health organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Unfortunately, he is shut down before getting answers to his questions about the links between diet and health.
You can listen to our podcast where we discuss the film or read on for a quick summary.
What the Health, Controversy
One of the biggest points of controversy deals with the root cause of diabetes. There are doctors who say that diabetes is caused by fat in the blood, rather than sugar or carbohydrates as is typically cited. Sugar is introduced into cells via insulin. These doctors claim that fat in the blood and muscle fibers interferes with insulin, preventing sugar from getting into the cells and causing sugar to build up in the bloodstream (diabetes). Diabetes then, according to some, results from fat toxicity in our organs. While sugar can certainly exacerbate diabetes it’s not solely responsible for causing it.
Given this and numerous studies linking the consumption of meat and animal byproducts to major health issues such as diabetes, Andersen is puzzled as to why non-profit organizations such as the American Diabetes Association would include recipes containing meat in their recommended diets. This is where things get ugly. Andersen was chewed out by Robert Ratner, then Chief Scientific & Medical Officer for the American Diabetes Association (Ratner left the ADA in 2017, the same year
When Andersen did further research, he discovered that many of these organizations are sponsored by factory farming industries including dairy and meat, and by corporations such as Dannon and Tyson. One particularly heart-stopping revelation was that the American Heart Association receives support from the Texas Beef Council! Additionally, these organizations also receive money from the pharmaceutical industry.
Another alarming fact is that the government organizations that create the US Dietary Guidelines–Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA)–are filled with members who receive money from corporations.
It really should come as no surprise that critics of the film have accused Andersen and Kuhn of cherry-picking facts and case studies to support the film’s claims. It’s been called propaganda that has the goal of pushing a vegan agenda by exaggerating the risks of eating animal products. Something I heard in another video offers an excellent explanation for this type of criticism–“We love finding good excuses for our bad behaviors.”
What the Health Fact Check
Critics of the film say that the producers are engaging in fear-mongering behavior by “cherry-picking” certain facts to coerce people into adopting a vegan diet. Ironically, one critical article I read was titled “Debunking
Most sources that claim to “debunk”
Let’s put the science aside since this seems to be the point of so much contention. The mere fact that so many of the non-profit organizations and government agencies we entrust with our health are sponsored by big business should give us cause for alarm.
We hope this review has given you some insight into
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