The True and the False Church

What the Health: A Low-Fact Vegan Manifesto

What the Health – a new documentary from the folks who brought you Cowspiracy – is generating quite a buzz for veganism. If you’re on board with the manifesto, you might be cheering and expecting a new wave of vegans to join you. But if you’re fussy about facts, this flick will make you fume.

Wobbly Factoids

Director and writer Kip Anderson has fully embraced  the convenience of flexible facts. Here are just a few from this screen gem.

1. Processed Meats Are as Dangerous as Cigarettes. Yes, the World Health Organization says that eating a portion of processed processed meat every day can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by about 17%. But no, WHO did not conclude that processed meats are as dangerous as cigarettes.

2. Eggs Are as Dangerous as Cigarettes. This claim is false. Simply false. Smoking will kill two out of three smokers. Eggs most definitely do nothing comparable. In fact, the preponderance of evidence suggests that moderate consumption of eggs is both nourishing and safe. The cholesterol in eggs does not cause high cholesterol levels in your blood.

3. Drinking Milk Causes Cancer. Systematic reviews confirm no link between cancer and dairy consumption. In fact, some dairy products are associated with a reduced risk of weight gain, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

4. Fish Will Poison You. Moderation in consuming some fish, such as tuna, is wise. Eating too much will expose you to mercury. But other fish are clearly beneficial to health because they deliver important nutrients like omega-3 fats.

Science, Documentaries, and Propaganda

Science is a pursuit of objective truth about how the world works through systematic research. Documentaries provide factual reports in an entertaining format. And propaganda persuades a population with purposeful bias.

But when the lines between facts, presumptions, and opinions blur, science becomes political. Propaganda creeps into documentaries. And What the Health is more propaganda than documentary.

A vegan diet can be a perfectly healthy option. Eating less meat just might ease some of the pressure we’re putting on the earth. However, propaganda inevitably corrupts even a worthy cause. Truth matters.

Click here and here for more detailed reviews of the problems with What the Health.

The True and the False Church, engraving by Lucas Cranach the Younger / Wikipedia

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July 31, 2017

One Response to “What the Health: A Low-Fact Vegan Manifesto”

  1. July 31, 2017 at 8:09 am, TraciMalone said:

    Here is a good review of this documentary by a vegan dietitian Ginny Messina. Basically, she says “Repeated blunders and bad science make What the Health impossible to recommend”