BUT STAY CRITICAL
So, you have seen The Game Changers and now plant-based is the only way to live?
First, let me say, that a plant-based diet and a vegetarian diet can be a very healthy diet.
This post is not to bash on these lifestyles. As a matter of fact, both a plant-based and an omnivorous diet can be a very healthy diet, just like both can be very unhealthy too.
Eating a lot of good quality whole foods vegetables, fruits and other plants (and taking care of supplementing what your diet is missing) is great. Eating a lot of these things and some quality animal products is great too. Only eating vegan processed food (Who here loves oreos?) or only eating bacon with cheddar is probably not so much.
Most professionals working in the field of nutrition have been telling people for a while now how eating whole foods and vegetables is quite important for their performance, body composition but more importantly for their overall health.
So here comes my problem with this movie. Actually, not with the movie but with the fact that it is being perceived as a reliable and unbiased nutrition documentary, which it is not.
One of the producers is a huge advocate of a vegan diet and an extremely successful and talented filmmaker at the same time. This does not qualify him or his team to give nutrition advice, it simply allows him to make an engaging movie about his dietary preferences. With today’s freedom of voice, you will hear a lot of personal (therefore biased) opinions, which is totally fine as long as you remember it is one opinion.
Any nutrition professional will probably agree if I say this movie is better for raising awareness and for entertainment purposes as opposed to giving unbiased nutrition advice.
Have you ever decided to google a ’’fact’’ and ended up finding EXACTLY what you were looking for? But then, if you were just a tiny bit critical (or you needed some arguments for an academic essay), you searched for something that disproves this fact....and voilá! Google found that as well!
What I am trying to say, is that you can find some sort of study, research, even proof of ANYTHING you want to find and then you can find all the same for the opposite of it. There is so much research on both the pro and con on every possible statement and many of these are most of the time true (, which usually only means that there are very convincing statistics on it). This just means, that everything is subjective, everyone is different and we humans know quite a bit, but still not enough.
There are a few things, that I felt were presented in a quite misleading way.
Carbohydrates (in this case plants) are shown as the newly discovered primary source of energy.
In the movie it appears as if for many many years athletes were advised to consume meat as their main energy source. I highly doubt that any qualified nutrition professional has referred to protein as a primary energy source. Almost all athletes they show are endurance athletes. It is pretty common knowledge (just Google it, I promise, you will find it) in the field of Sports Nutrition that endurance athletes need high amounts of carbohydrates moderate to small amounts of protein and fat in their diet to properly fuel their workouts. This is no news and definitely not a secret that the industry has been hiding from the public eye. Actually, all the information is hiding in plane sight and there is almost too much of it. The amount of information we have available today is overwhelming, but it is there for you if you dare to look at it.
Suggesting that the athletes mentioned increased their performance, only because of excluding meat (and animal products).
Another way of putting this could be, that athletes tremendously increased their performance after a considerable increase of fresh whole foods in their diet and a decrease in inflammatory foods such as dairy and hormone injected meat products. Because, this is most likely what happened.
Suggesting that only vegan athletes are performing their best.
The plant-based athletes mentioned clearly are amazing athletes, top of their field and found what works best for them. But this does not mean that the rest of elite athletes are not healthy or not performing their absolute best.
Suggesting that elite athletes and average (sorry guys) people should be eating the same in terms of macronutrient proportions.
Fueling an athlete, who’s job is to train insane hours every single day and aims to peak on game days is not to be compared to fueling someone who has a normal life with a rather a sedentary job, even if this person is fairly active among his or her group.
For this movie to be a very well-rounded informative movie on a plant-based diet, I am also missing information on all the incredible health benefits of a plant-based diet, the potential environmental benefits and suggestions on all the delicious meals one can eat. To me this was more of a propaganda movie on a plant-based lifestyle than anything else, but that is not to say anything against the lifestyle itself. I have tried it and I loved it.
If this movie is what will make people eat more vegetables, I will bow and say nothing more.
Stay critical and eat your vegetables.