The recent documentary What the Health has stirred up some controversy in the health and wellness field. For this reason, I wanted to put together a post on the movie highlights to give you a better idea as to what this movie is all about.
What the Health takes a look at the animal products that we consume in America. The film also looks at various major health organizations and attempts to dive deep into why many of them such as The American Diabetes Association suggests those who suffer from diabetes consume red meat products among other potentially harmful inflammatory products such as bacon right on their website. Despite many efforts, the film makers find it very difficult to get straight answers from these major health organizations and found that many of them have food sponsors such as KFC, and Yoplait to name a few providing them funding. Keep in mind that these food sponsors are selling foods that have been directly linked to causing issues such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
There was a ton of information covered in this documentary, and I am going to break down some of the highlights for you below.
- Processed meat has been linked to cancer: Things like hot dogs, bacon, salami, cold cuts. These are classified as group 1 carcinogens.
- 1 out of 4 deaths are linked to cancer.
- Leading source of sodium is chicken.
- There are carcinogens found in chicken.
- #1 source of cholesterol is chicken.
- There is mercury, pesticides, and herbicides in fish.
- Farmed fish are fed antibiotics since they get bacterial and fungal infections.
- Dioxin exposure through consuming animal products crosses the placenta and through breast milk.
- Eating organic may not prevent contaminants such as dioxin.
- Dairy and autoimmune diseases are linked.
- Most people in the world are lactose intolerant.
- Milk is packed with natural sex hormones whether it is conventional or organic dairy.
- Milk has not been found to build strong bones. Those who consume milk may actually have higher rates of hip fractures.
- Countries with the highest dairy consumption have the highest rate of osteoporosis.
- There are roughly 450 different drugs administered to animals.
- Consumers do not know what is in the product they are consuming.
- Large associations like the American Diabetes Association have sponsors from food companies selling foods that are linked to causing the disease itself.
The movie What the Health is very eye-opening, but keep in mind that they do not discuss some important topics such as consuming animal products that are grass-fed, pasture raised, or organic. While it is important to avoid processed, grain fed animal products there are other areas in the American diet that need to be taken into account. The movie focuses largely on fat as the culprit for causing things like diabetes and obesity and not sugar. They even go as far as saying that sugar is not really the problem at all. This would give viewers the impression that it is ok to consume as much sugar as one would like so long as they consume a vegan plant-based diet.
The movie also does not talk about some of the important benefits of consuming some grass-fed, pasture-raised animal products. Things like B-vitamins, and choline as well as omega-3 fatty acids are found in certain animal products that are not found as prevalent in an exclusively plant-based diet.
While this movie certainly gives us food for thought as to what types of animal products we should be avoiding and the dangers of consuming processed meat there are still areas in the diet that need to be addressed as well. It is never a bad thing to add more plant-based foods into your diet, but exclusively giving up meat does not give us a free pass to consume excess amounts of sugar or to not worry about the consequences of sugar in the American diet. The bottom line is that a well-balanced diet free from as many processed and artificial products is essential to achieving health. While a vegetarian or vegan diet is nothing to be frowned upon, adding some responsibly raised animal products into your diet along with lots of fresh fruits, and veggies and removing as much sugar as possible is a great way to balance health if you do choose to do so.