A documentary featuring world class athletes speaking about the pros of a plant-based diet claims eating meat could kill you.
The Game Changers focuses on the “truth in nutrition” and features the likes of Arnold Schwarzenneger talking about the benefits of veganism in sports training.
It also aims to debunk the theory that people need to consume meat to build muscle and claims eating meat can cause cancer and cardiovascular disease.
On the documentary’s website, it claims, citing a Harvard study, “avoiding animal products can reduce the risk for coronary heart disease by 55 per cent”.
Dr Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute, is also cited in the trailer stating eating plants can reverse diabetes and heart disease.
The doco also features interviews with Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, Australian Olympic sprinter Morgan Mitchell, and former NFL players Griff Whalen and Derrick Morgan.
It’s a false claim says nutrition expert
While the documentary calls on a number of scientific studies, it’s been criticised by some experts.
Brian St Pierre, Director of Performance Nutrition at Precision Nutrition, told Men’s Health while getting people to eat plants isn’t bad the documentary shouldn’t be telling people meat will kill them.
“That is a false dichotomy,” Mr St Pierre said.
“Instead, teach them the benefits of adding more wholesome plant foods to their meat intake and then teach them to eat higher-quality meat options.”
He added another alternative could be telling people to swap some meat for plant-based protein and find “a happy middle ground”.
UK men’s news site Joe.co.uk also criticised the documentary with health writer Alex Roberts writing “it’s a huge generalisation” to claim all meat has the same risk.
“High levels of saturated fat are linked to conditions such as atherosclerosis, true,” Roberts wrote.
“But a very lean cut of turkey is not as harmful as a fatty, rib eye steak, for instance.”
Vegan mixed martial arts fighter James Wilks who was heavily involved in the documentary rebukes the criticism, saying the documentary never makes the claim that all meat carries the same risk.
Writing to Yahoo News Australia after publication he said the above criticism “suggests that dietary fat is the only issue ... It's far more complicated than that, with meat containing other inflammatory mediators, concentrated pesticides, toxic heavy metals etc.”
He also pointed to the raft of experts featured in the film, and claimed the documentary had been accredited by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine as well as the US Defense Health Agency.
The Game Changers premieres in Australian cinemas on Wednesday.
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