I’ve put off watching “What the Health” and other food documentaries for a while because even though I’m interested in food and healthy eating I have to confess I was afraid I wouldn’t like what I saw. Until I thought to myself, stop being such a wimp! If it makes you change the way you think about meat then so be it. So I sat down and decided to watch What the Health.
What the Health follows Kip Anderson as he investigates why American health non-profit organisations are still promoting meat based diets despite growing evidence that it is in fact part of the problem and is causing diseases like diabetes and cancer. The Netflix description says:
“This film examines the link between diet and disease, and the billions of dollars at stake in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries”
Essentially what I took away from this documentary was that the filmmakers believe everyone should be eating a plant based diet as it is better for us. They prove this by following a few people who’s conditions are so severe that they are on many many different medications to manage the problem, these people then switch to a plant based diet and then within 2 weeks either have no need of the medication or have cut their medication in half.
Now this was the point at which I became very skeptical. Obviously there is a link between diet and diabetes but two weeks seems to be a very short time for a change of lifestyle to have such a drastic effect.
They throw facts at you like “if you eat meat your chance of getting diabetes is about 1 in 3” and “if you eat meat your chance of getting cancer if you’re a man 1 in 2, if you’re a woman 1 in 3”. Is this globally? Or is this just looking at American cases? Americans are well known for having a poor diet and while I realises that is a gross generalisation my point still stands. People from different countries have different diets, a meat eater from the UK might not eat the same diet as a meat eater from America or Australia.
Again staying on the topic of their factual evidence, they didn’t seem to include any negatives for eating a plant based diet and seemed to only give advantages and reasons why being vegan was logically the diet we should be eating. Conversely they didn’t cover any positives for eating a meat based diet.
Am I going to go vegan because of one documentary?
I think if anything it made me feel like cutting meat from my diet but not for health reasons, more for environmental reasons. While the primary focus of What the Health was “veganism is the cure for everything” there was a focus on the effect that raising animals for food can have on the environment. They focused on one area in particular and that was the Hog farming in North Carolina. Here again I approach this with a degree of skepticism as this is only one example and personally before I draw a sweeping conclusion I would like to see more proof. That being said the impact on the environment was clear and I definitely think that if I went looking for more examples of animal farming having a negative impact on the environment I would find them relatively easily.
There is no denying that some of the facts presented do give a new insight into the meat and dairy industry but it is clear that this documentary is biased from the offset and is presented in such a way to bring the viewer around to plant based life.
All in all I would say it was an interesting and informative documentary and I would watch it again HOWEVER I would recommend anyone watching it for the first time take everything with a pinch of salt.
Watch What the Health on Netflix: What the Health
Let me know what you think!