Dietitians in all places launch a collective sigh each time Netflix releases a vitamin documentary, and with good purpose: traditionally, these docs are filled 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. Just the alternative, truly.
When I heard that You Are What You Eat was directed by the identical one that directed The Game Changers, I knew I wanted to observe and evaluate it.
In this You Are What You Eat evaluate, I check out Netflix’s newest vitamin documentary.
The doc focuses on the execution of the Stanford Twins Study. This 8-week research, which was simply revealed on the finish of 2023, used 22 pairs of twins to find out the cardiometabolic results of a vegan food plan versus an omnivore food plan.
Twins are genetically an identical, which afforded researchers the uncommon alternative to achieve useful perception into how every food plan might affect one twin versus the opposite. According to Christopher Gardner, vitamin scientist and one of many research’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 research, which I speak about within the final a part of this evaluate, doesn’t point out the microbiome, mind, or organic clock. I’m questioning if these components are upcoming.
You Are What You Eat Netflix Review
In Episode One of You Are What You Eat, we meet a few of the consultants that have been concerned within the research, together with 4 units of the research’s twins.
In the primary 4 weeks, every twin is randomized to both a vegan or omnivore food plan. Everything they eat is made for them and delivered, so there’s no guesswork, and researchers can management the whole lot about every food plan. Both diets have been deemed to be ‘healthy’ by scientists.
After the primary 4 weeks, the twins stay on their assigned food plan, however are left to cook dinner their very own meals.
The twins even have a coach, who they work out usually with.
It was simple to see the place this documentary was going when Dr. Michael Greger, physician and identified promoter of a vegan food plan, pops up on the display screen. He was additionally in The Game Changers and What The Health, each Netflix documentaries whose overarching message was selling a plant-based food plan and mainly scaring individuals about consuming animal merchandise.
I’ve talked about Dr. Greger in my writing earlier than, primarily calling him out for twisting info and blowing up claims to go well with his agenda.
He shortly 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 cause of death in the US is the American Diet’ (according to the CDC it’s coronary heart illness, truly, however there are lots of elements that contribute to this), and what we put in our mouth is extra vital than the rest.
This is basic Greger, making claims which can be overblown and completely with out nuance.
Dr. Michael Greger
We additionally meet a ‘plant 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 baby cows, not humans.’
She tells us that ‘most populations in the world didn’t eat meat and dairy, besides in very small quantities if in any respect.’
Again, we’ve got an ‘expert’ who’s clearly biased to in the direction of a vegan food plan. I’ve nothing in opposition to the vegan food plan, after all, however in a documentary, it’s all the time good to signify either side of an argument.
I saved ready for somebody with out a plant-based agenda to be revealed as an knowledgeable, however SPOILER: I used to be disillusioned.
As the documentary progresses, we study meals deserts and concrete farms.
Tracye McQuirter, a Public Health Nutritionist and self-proclaimed ‘vegan activist,’ explains easy methods to create a balanced vegan plate. whereas speaking about meals apartheid for African Americans in city centres.
This is a extremely useful lesson, and it’s correct – meals deserts do exist, particularly in radicalized communities. They are intimately linked with poor well being outcomes, and we most positively have to do one thing to enhance entry to wholesome meals in North America.
Another 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. This can be an issue, and the rationale why Health Canada refused to have meals business on the desk when growing the most recent meals pointers.
The remainder of You Are What You Eat, sadly, looks as if an advert for a vegan food plan.
We be taught concerning the animal agriculture business. 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 a little bit injured hen and contaminated ponds.
Dr. Greger pops in to inform us that extra antibiotics are fed to cattle than are utilized in all of human drugs to advertise progress and forestall illness in a demanding, unhygienic surroundings. ‘Lifesaving, critical drugs are being squandered just to make cheaper meat.’
Or, possibly there are much more animals than people, which accounts for these numbers?
Should the typical particular person be involved?
I’m unsure, as a result of we have been solely offered with one aspect of the argument. The common particular person will in all probability take that unchallenged aspect as truth, which is problematic. I might have preferred to listen to from an unbiased farmer and scientist about this, and about, effectively, the complete documentary.
We hear a hen farmer who clearly hates what he does, speak about how disgusting the odor and filth of the hen 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 Founder of Impossible Foods, who tells us that ‘every time you eat a steak, a little puff of smoke goes up in the Amazon. That smoke is the ‘second hand smoke from your burger.’
George Monbiot, an creator, journalist and environmental activist tells us how the meat business is mainly killing the planet. ‘the agricultural industry is one of the greatest 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 believed these quantity appeared a bit bizarre, so I went searching for the stats.
Turns out, the EPA has some totally different numbers:
Moving 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 people realized the full horrors of salmon farming they’d keep away from it just like the proverbial plague.’
Hyperbole appears to be one in every of 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 shade has been ‘linked to human health problems,’ 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 imagine that farmed salmon comprises wholesome fat, he provides us the rubbish take of ‘those aren’t good oils, they’re omega 6s.’
Please Don, cease speaking. The twins decide up on his concern mongering, calling the farmed salmon ‘diseased food’ and throwing it into the precise rubbish.
We’ve gone from speaking about meals deserts and entry to nourishing meals, to throwing a superbly good piece of fish into the rubbish. Disgusting.
Alexandra Morton, Biologist and activist, tells us that tons of waste is ‘pouring out of these 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 individuals pushing an agenda. As somebody with important considering abilities, this makes me very suspicious of their info.
As a little bit sidebar, Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York, talks about how food plan reversed his diabetes with Whole Food Plant Based food plan. He tells us that his endocrinologist didn’t study food plan and diabetes in medical college, so he took issues into his personal palms.
I discover the ‘doctors don’t know concerning the worth of food plan’ tactic to be a extremely disappointing, lazy option to flip individuals in opposition to standard drugs and suggestions.
What did the Stanford Twins research discover?
After all the effort, did the Twins research consequence favor a vegan food plan?
It did, in some methods.
As you may see within the graphic beneath, the vegan twins had a larger discount in LDL-C, the ‘bad’ ldl cholesterol. But, 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 vital between the 2 teams have been LDL-C, insulin, and weight, though each teams misplaced weight.
It’s vital to notice that the research was quick and small, and the themes have been predominantly ladies. The second week was not managed, so theoretically, every group might have strayed from their diets in weeks 5-8, confounding the outcomes. We additionally haven’t any longer-term follow-up.
In the research conclusions, did admit that the vegan food plan fed to the twins was restrictive, and that “clinicians ought to permit sufferers to make knowledgeable selections that assist 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 received’t change due to this documentary. Eat as many vegetation as you may. Buy what you may afford. Beware of concern mongering ‘experts’ who clearly have an agenda. Know that Netflix vitamin documentaries are low-bar and deceptive.
You Are What You Eat evaluate, briefly:
You Are What You Eat is a basic Netflix vitamin documentary, flawed from the start with clearly biased ‘experts’ and activists going unchallenged all through the movie.
While I do assist a plant-forward food plan, I believe 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 determination? Isn’t that what a documentary ought to be about?
The solely a part of You Are What you Eat that I believed was simple, was the messaging round meals fairness. Until all sides are represented and all info are certified by a mixture of consultants, You Are What You Eat is sensationalized vegan propaganda at its very best.