Entertainment Movies Experts debunk health documentary’s ‘outlandish’ claims

Experts debunk health documentary’s ‘outlandish’ claims

What The Health
The Netflix documentary promoting a plant-based diet has been accused of 'cherrypicking' scientific studies. Photo: What The Health
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A popular Netflix documentary which claims eating eggs is as bad for you as cigarettes has been criticised by medical experts for overstating the dangers of certain foods and cherrypicking scientific research.

The documentary, What The Health, which promotes the health benefits of a plant-based diet, has been described as “the film that health organisations don’t want you to see”.

It has gone viral since its March release.

And while experts suggest a vegan diet can be beneficial to one’s health, they also say the film’s “outlandish” claims aren’t justified by “any real evidence at all”.

The documentary states eating one egg daily is as bad for life expectancy as smoking five cigarettes a day.

It also claims that one serving of processed meat per day increases the risk of developing diabetes by 51 per cent.

“There’s no evidence to that, and that’s a dangerous thing to say, particularly for children, because an egg is like a giant vitamin-mineral pill for children,” University of Melbourne food science and nutrition professor Neil Mann told The New Daily.

“[It is] not a direct association at all, that’s crazy.

“For children the amount of protein and vitamins and minerals in an egg is very useful to their growth and development.

Watch the trailer to What The Health below:

“I think that’s nonsense, there’s no evidence that shows that [connection] whatsoever.

“They are just drawing their own conclusions from the little evidence there is. It’s overstating and cherrypicking scientific research.”

University of Newcastle professor in nutrition and dietetics Clare Collins echoed the comments, saying the film “missed the strongest evidence” in support of a plant-based diet and instead made false, headline-grabbing claims.

“That’s quite an extreme claim, the development of type 2 diabetes and smoking are world’s apart,” Professor Collins told The New Daily.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, a colorectal cancer study found red meat and processed meat had “convincing” links to cancer, increasing the risk by 18 per cent.

“It missed the strongest evidence which is the link between processed meat and colon cancer,” Professor Collins said.

“Cut down on as much processed meat as possible, I totally support that.”

The documentary, which explores the link between consuming animal products and disease, is created by Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn, the filmmakers behind the confronting 2014 Netflix movie Cowspiracy.

It also questions the practices of the meat industry and pharmaceutical companies, claiming the two have a vested interest in denouncing a plant-based diet.

Throughout the film it accuses the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society of improper practice, for encouraging the consumption of canned meats for a “healthy” staple diet, and featuring recipes such as “bacon-wrapped shrimp” on its websites.

One of Australia’s leading dieticians Susie Burrell backed these claims.

“They are massive conflicts of interest [between the food industry and pharmaceutical sponsorship]. Such associations breach the trust of both health professionals who work in their fields and the general public,” Ms Burrell told News Corp.

“It’s a massive wake-up call for governments to regulate such vested associations and financial relationships, but more importantly, adequately fund public health.”

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