More On the Movie “What The Health” : Has It Really Been Debunked?
Today I was at Google headquarters in Mountainview for a series called Talks at Google. This is like a TED talk series but it goes for 60 minutes not 18. I was invited to participate in a debate on the viral movie What The Health (WTH) and I prepared some notes. I was joined by director Kip Anderson for the green team. At the last minute the format changed to a more collegial discussion amongst participants with different viewpoints but these notes were created. I hope these selected bullet points are of value. The debate will be on the You Tube site for this lecture series within a week or so.
The Science Behind the Top 10 Claims from WTH…..
Points of Agreement between opposing sides
1) Some meats not even good enough to be considered food.
2) Carcinogens in every chicken sample in fast food restaurants
3) Processed meats compared to cigarettes, “I tend to agree with him”
4) Sugar messes with your hormones
5) Sugar is addictive
6) Sugar causes inflammation (so does meat)
7) CAFO’s (factory farmed animals) harm animals, pollute earth, create antibiotic resistance, sicken people living near them
The Opponent Says These Are Lies in WTH:
The opponent wrote in a blog that documentaries like WTH suggest “you should consume your vegetables in liquid from and eat soy burgers for the rest of your life” Where did WTH say that? In addition, it was claimed that the following points were made in the movie and are false. Read on.
1) “Meat is as dangerous as cigarettes”
As above, agreement that some processed red meats are as bad for health as smoking. Furthermore, the science in a “comparative risk study” showed that 1 egg a day over 15 years was same risk for heart disease as smoking 5 cigarettes a day.
2) “Fat causes type 2 diabetes not sugar”
My prior article on WTH addressed this but more points can be made. The fact that short term studies show ketogenic diet can reverse type 2 diabetes does not prove anything about sugar CAUSING diabetes. A recent Chinese study of fruit intake showed it to prevent the development of diabetes type A large analysis in May 2017 of the relationship of specific sugars in sweetened beverages demonstrated no relationship between the sugars and the onset of diabetes type 2. In the Womens Health Study reported in 2003, sugar intake had no relationship to the onset of diabetes type 2. This was also the finding in the large EPIC study reported in 2014.
3) “Sugar is Harmless”
No one said sugar is harmless. No one in the movie recommends eating more sugar containing foods other than whole fruit which can prevent diabetes type 2.
4) “Carbohydrate Overload Does Not Cause Disease”
Who said that in WTH? Noone promoted eating more sugar.
5) “The Only Way to Reverse Disease is to Stop Eating Animals”
Studies have shown that plant diets can reverse the number 1 killer in the Western world, coronary artery disease. There is NO data that diets containing animal foods can reverse established atherosclerosis. Also, only plant diets have been shown to reverse prostate cancer. There is no evidence that low carbohydrate, high fat diets stimulating ketogenesis do the same.
6) “Eating one egg is equal to 5 cigarettes”
David Jenkins, M.D., a highly esteemed senior researcher in nutriton, did show this exact finding in a peer-reviewed research study published in 2012.
What about the debate that eggs are fantastic nutrition? Eggs eaten by diabetic patients increase the risk of stroke. Increased egg consumption was associated with an increased risk of mortality (death) in a huge study of evaluating over 100,000 deaths.
7) “Meat is bad for environment”
Indeed it is. In a new report filling 127 pages from researchers affiliated iwth Oxford University, grass fed meat contribued as many greenhouse gases as factory farmed meats.
8) “Humans aren’t built to eat meat”
This point was argued by Dr. Milton Mills in WTH the health but has also been presented for decades by the world’s leading cardiac pathologist, William C. Roberts, M.D. of Baylor University.
9) “Health Organizations are hiding something”
It is pretty clear that the health organizations called out in WTH were not presenting dietary suggestions consistent with disease prevention and reversal and their conflicted funding is in question. It was implied that PETA funded the movie WTH when, in fact, no monies were accepted from PETA at any stage.
The debate did not happen as planned and the panel discussion can be viewed by all soon. The 9 health claims listed here were to be the focus of the presentation at Google headquarters today and are still important to consider as to their accuracy. It is my opinion that they have sufficient scientific support to indicate the the movie was accurate in its statements, has not been debunked, and represents the future of a compassionate, holistic, and harmonious dietary pattern.