Dietitians all over the place launch a collective sigh each time Netflix releases a diet documentary, and with good motive: traditionally, these docs are stuffed with bias, dangerous information, and sensationalism…none of which truly helps anybody take change of their well being.
Like I all the time say, misinformation doesn’t empower anybody. Simply the other, truly.
After I heard that You Are What You Eat was directed by the identical one who directed The Sport Changers, I knew I wanted to look at and assessment it.
On this You Are What You Eat assessment, I check out Netflix’s newest diet documentary.
The doc focuses on the execution of the Stanford Twins Examine. This 8-week examine, which was simply printed on the finish of 2023, used 22 pairs of twins to find out the cardiometabolic results of a vegan food regimen versus an omnivore food regimen.
Twins are genetically an identical, which afforded researchers the uncommon alternative to realize priceless perception into how every food regimen could affect one twin versus the opposite. In keeping with Christopher Gardner, diet scientist and one of many examine’s investigators, people reply in another way to the identical meals, so getting people who find themselves genetically the identical eliminates this confounder.
Twins have the identical genetic make-up, making them the proper controls for each other.
Over the course of the 8 weeks, investigators will monitor indicators of cardiovascular well being, metabolic standing, and intestine microbiome by way of poop and blood samples.
They inform viewers that they’re trying peoples’ organic clock, physique composition, microbiome, and mind. The precise examine, which I discuss within the final a part of this assessment, doesn’t point out the microbiome, mind, or organic clock. I’m questioning if these components are upcoming.
You Are What You Eat Netflix Overview
In Episode One in all You Are What You Eat, we meet a number of the consultants that have been concerned within the examine, together with 4 units of the examine’s twins.
Within the first 4 weeks, every twin is randomized to both a vegan or omnivore food regimen. Every thing they eat is made for them and delivered, so there’s no guesswork, and researchers can management every part about every food regimen. Each diets have been deemed to be ‘wholesome’ by scientists.
After the primary 4 weeks, the twins stay on their assigned food regimen, however are left to prepare dinner their very own meals.
The twins even have a coach, who they work out commonly with.
It was simple to see the place this documentary was going when Dr. Michael Greger, physician and recognized promoter of a vegan food regimen, pops up on the display screen. He was additionally in The Sport Changers and What The Well being, each Netflix documentaries whose overarching message was selling a plant-based food regimen and mainly scaring folks about consuming animal merchandise.
I’ve talked about Dr. Greger in my writing earlier than, basically calling him out for twisting information and blowing up claims to swimsuit his agenda.
He rapidly does the identical factor in You Are What You Eat, telling viewers how an excessive amount of dairy will increase danger for Parkinson’s illness and prostate most cancers (with out citations or proof, naturally). He lets us know that ‘the #1 reason for dying within the US is the American Weight loss program’ (in keeping with the CDC it’s coronary heart illness, truly, however there are numerous components that contribute to this), and what we put in our mouth is extra vital than the rest.
That is traditional Greger, making claims which can be overblown and completely with out nuance.
Dr. Michael Greger
We additionally meet a ‘plant primarily based dairy innovator’ named Miyoko Schinner, who tells us that cheese is ‘biologically addicting,’ which is ridiculous and never factual. She follows up by trotting out the vegan calling card that ‘milk is for child cows, not people.’
She tells us that ‘most populations on the earth didn’t eat meat and dairy, besides in very small quantities if in any respect.’
Once more, we have now an ‘skilled’ who’s clearly biased to in the direction of a vegan food regimen. I’ve nothing in opposition to the vegan food regimen, after all, however in a documentary, it’s all the time good to signify each side of an argument.
I stored ready for somebody with out a plant-based agenda to be revealed as an skilled, however SPOILER: I used to be disillusioned.
Because the documentary progresses, we find out about meals deserts and concrete farms.
Tracye McQuirter, a Public Well being Nutritionist and self-proclaimed ‘vegan activist,’ explains easy methods to create a balanced vegan plate. whereas speaking about meals apartheid for African People in city centres.
It is a actually priceless lesson, and it’s correct – meals deserts do exist, particularly in racialized communities. They’re intimately linked with poor well being outcomes, and we most undoubtedly must do one thing to enhance entry to wholesome meals in North America.
One other good lesson we get is across the conflicts of curiosity among the many dietary pointers committee, and the way agricultural lobbyists affect the verbiage within the pointers. That is additionally an issue, and the explanation why Well being Canada refused to have meals trade on the desk when growing the most recent meals pointers.
The remainder of You Are What You Eat, sadly, looks like an advert for a vegan food regimen.
We study in regards to the animal agriculture trade. We’re taken inside manufacturing unit farms. We hear how soiled they’re, how the animals are injected with antibiotics, and the way hog feces and urine are sprayed throughout adjoining fields. We see just a little injured rooster and contaminated ponds.
Dr. Greger pops in to inform us that extra antibiotics are fed to cattle than are utilized in all of human medication to advertise development and forestall illness in a hectic, unhygienic setting. ‘Lifesaving, vital medicine are being squandered simply to make cheaper meat.’
Or, possibly there are much more animals than people, which accounts for these numbers?
And wait, as a result of in keeping with the WHO, antimicrobials will not be solely utilized in animal farming, but additionally vegetation as effectively. Conveniently, we don’t hear about that.
Ought to the common individual be involved?
I’m undecided, as a result of we have been solely introduced with one facet of the argument. The common individual will in all probability take that unchallenged facet as reality, which is problematic. I’d have favored to listen to from an unbiased farmer and scientist about this, and about, effectively, all the documentary.
We hear a rooster farmer who clearly hates what he does, discuss how disgusting the odor and filth of the rooster barn is. That birds are bred to have such giant breasts, that their organs and skeletal system can’t sustain. The birds scratch one another, leaving wounds which can be infested with micro organism.
We see an environmental activist lawyer speaking about antibiotics in meat, and Pat Brown, the Founding father of Inconceivable Meals, who tells us that ‘each time you eat a steak, just a little puff of smoke goes up within the Amazon. That smoke is the ‘second hand smoke out of your burger.’
George Monbiot, an writer, journalist and environmental activist tells us how the meat trade is mainly killing the planet. ‘the agricultural trade is likely one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases on earth.’
We’re proven a graphic that states that greenhouse gases from the agricultural sector are 31%, versus 14% for the transportation sector.
I assumed these quantity appeared a bit bizarre, so I went in search of the stats.
Transferring from the horrible risks of meat to what’s terrible about farmed fish, we’re launched to extra activists, one being Don Staniford, who campaigns in opposition to salmon farms. He tells us that ‘if folks realized the complete horrors of salmon farming they’d keep away from it just like the proverbial plague.’
Hyperbole appears to be one in all You Are What You Eat’s nice strengths.
We see Don telling the twins how corporations dye their fish pink to cover the truth that it’s farmed. He says that this synthetic colour has been ‘linked to human well being issues,’ though we don’t get any particulars about which issues.
He talks about how farmed salmon is much fattier than pizza and bacon. And, lest you consider that farmed salmon comprises wholesome fat, he offers us the rubbish take of ‘these aren’t good oils, they’re omega 6s.’
Please Don, cease speaking. The twins choose up on his concern mongering, calling the farmed salmon ‘diseased meals’ and throwing it into the precise rubbish.
We’ve gone from speaking about meals deserts and entry to nourishing meals, to throwing a wonderfully good piece of fish into the rubbish. Disgusting.
Alexandra Morton, Biologist and activist, tells us that tons of waste is ‘pouring out of those farms’ and exhibits us disturbing pictures of diseased fish. She claims that greater than 98% of the samples fish she purchased in supermarkets and sushi eating places have been contaminated with a salmon blood virus, though she admits that there’s no analysis on how these pathogens affect people.
I’m not going to say that these points the activists are speaking about are false, however with none counterbalance, all of it comes off as folks pushing an agenda. As somebody with vital pondering expertise, this makes me very suspicious of their information.
As just a little sidebar, Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York, talks about how food regimen reversed his diabetes with Entire Meals Plant Based mostly food regimen. He tells us that his endocrinologist didn’t find out about food regimen and diabetes in medical faculty, so he took issues into his personal palms.
I discover the ‘medical doctors don’t know in regards to the worth of food regimen’ tactic to be a extremely disappointing, lazy solution to flip folks in opposition to standard medication and proposals.
What did the Stanford Twins examine discover?
After the entire effort, did the Twins examine end result favor a vegan food regimen?
It did, in some methods.
As you possibly can see within the graphic beneath, the vegan twins had a higher discount in LDL-C, the ‘dangerous’ ldl cholesterol. However, their HDL or ‘good’ ldl cholesterol additionally went down greater than the omnivores,’ and the vegans’ triglycerides ended up far larger than the omnivores’.
In truth, the one metrics that have been important between the 2 teams have been LDL-C, insulin, and weight, though each teams misplaced weight.
The vegan twins misplaced extra muscle mass than the omnivorous twins, which is regarding.
It’s vital to notice that the examine was brief and small, and the themes have been predominantly girls. The second week was not managed, so theoretically, every group may have strayed from their diets in weeks 5-8, confounding the outcomes. We additionally haven’t any longer-term follow-up.
Within the examine conclusions, did admit that the vegan food regimen fed to the twins was restrictive, and that “clinicians ought to enable sufferers to make knowledgeable decisions that help them to decide on which dietary strategy is best suited for them.
At a inhabitants stage, wider adoption of a culturally applicable dietary sample that’s larger in plant meals and decrease in animal meals can promote well being and environmental advantages.”
As a dietitian, my suggestions gained’t change due to this documentary. Eat as many vegetation as you possibly can. Purchase what you possibly can afford. Watch out for concern mongering ‘consultants’ who clearly have an agenda. Know that Netflix diet documentaries are low-bar and deceptive.
Apparently, Actuality Blurred uncovered the doc as ‘a documentary directed by a vegan, primarily based on a examine executed by a vegan (who directs a program funded by Past Meat, whose CEO is featured on this film)…and completely none of that is disclosed.’
You Are What You Eat assessment, briefly:
You Are What You Eat is a traditional Netflix diet documentary, flawed from the start with clearly biased ‘consultants’ and activists going unchallenged all through the movie.
Whereas I do help a plant-forward food regimen, I feel it’s insulting and weak to not give a balanced perspective. Why not give viewers ALL of the data earlier than permitting them to make their very own choice? Isn’t that what a documentary ought to be about? It’s too dangerous, as a result of ‘eat extra vegetation’ is a good message. I don’t assume it must be supported with misinformation and hyperbole.
The one a part of You Are What you Eat that I assumed was easy, was the messaging round meals fairness. Till all sides are represented and all information are certified by a mixture of consultants, You Are What You Eat is sensationalized vegan propaganda at its very most interesting.