Game Changers?

By January 22, 2020Uncategorized
GAME CHANGERS

By Zach Columbia B.S. NASM, FPT

Is veganism game changing? You’ve probably heard a lot of hype recently around the Netflix Documentary, Game Changers. Perhaps you’ve watched the 2018 film for yourself and wondered if switching to veganism is really the healthier choice. Perhaps you watched and said to yourself, “that’s great and all, but I love steak too much!” Regardless of how you feel about the concept of veganism, the film was definitely… intriguing to say the least. Before jumping to any conclusions or making any dietary life changes, let’s take a deeper look.

The film Game Changers is careful about using the terms veganism or vegetarianism; rather, they use the term, “plant-based.” Saying plant-based instead of veganism was a wise move on the film makers part because it seemed to lower many of the viewers reluctancy towards veganism. It’s especially appealing to those in the athletic or fitness industries where sensitivities to Whey Protein (a milk-based protein) have become more and more prevalent.

The overall argument of the film is that there is a direct correlation between a vegan/plant-based diet and improved athletic performance. The story follows former UFC Fighter James Wilks as he interviews numerous plant-based athletes and pro-vegan nutrition professionals. The film highlights the athlete’s improvements in performance after transitioning to a plant-based diet, as well as their ability to recover from or prevent injuries. In addition, the film also presents several arguments against consuming any animal-based food products such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Stating that consuming these types of foods have a negative impact on everything from athletic and sexual performance, heart health, hormonal health, and can result in premature aging and death.

With all the information presented, the film has been met with extreme criticism from the professional community. Such criticism must have been expected, because one segment of the film seeks to demonstrate the power and corruption of the meat industry and their funding of studies to either hide the negative side effects of consuming meat or support only positive findings. Unfortunately, for the film, critics have been quick to point out the cherry-picked data, misinformation, pseudoscience, and strawman cases presented in the film.

For instance, Game Changers makes the strawman argument that many of the animals we eat have plant-based diet themselves and by consuming vegetables, humans are cutting out the unnecessary middleman. While that may be true on the surface, it’s not a reason to stop consuming animal products, nor does it eliminate the nutritional benefits of consuming animal products. An example of this is how the film states, “even iceberg lettuce has more antioxidants than salmon or eggs.” I’m not the only one who when watching this was like well duh… Comparing one nutrient in a food to another is a pretty silly way of making your point. That would be like me saying, “salmon has more omega 3 fatty acids than iceberg lettuce.”

In addition, the film also highlights a “study” that roman gladiators primarily had plant-based diets and consumed an occasional calcium supplement. In reality, this “study” was no study at all. It was an article written by and archeologist that had not been peer reviewed, nor scientifically studied. Obviously, the term, “occasional calcium supplement” is also misleading, considering dietary supplements did not exist at that time in history.

What then should be your takeaway from the film? Well really, it’s pretty simple and pretty obvious! In his response to the film, Brian St. Pierre., M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., Director of Performance Nutrition at Precision Nutrition states, “Ultimately, it’s not that getting people to eat plants is a bad thing. It’s generally a great thing. But you don’t have to do so by erroneously telling people that meat is killing them, and they need to go to an all-plant diet. That is a false dichotomy. Instead, teach them the benefits of adding more wholesome plant foods to their meat intake. And then teach them to eat higher-quality meat options.”

St Pierre points out what all mothers have been preaching for thousands of years, “Eat your vegetables! We know vegetables provide vital vitamins and minerals that play a role in overall health and human performance. Fibrous vegetables also provide quality carbohydrates that function as sustained fuel for the body.

In conclusion, my advice to you, before eliminating all animal-based products from your diet and going “plant-based,” or “vegan,” or “vegetarian,” or whatever you want to call it, maybe first start with increasing your vegetable intake and buying higher-quality meats. Eating a balanced diet maybe the game changer you’re looking for.

References:

https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a29067926/the-game-changers-movie-fact-check/

l for the body.
In conclusion, my advice to you, before eliminating all animal-based products from your diet and going “plant-based,” or “vegan,” or “vegetarian,” or whatever you want to call it, maybe first start with increasing your vegetable intake and buying higher-quality meats. Eating a balanced diet maybe the game changer you’re looking for.

References:

https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a29067926/the-game-changers-movie-fact-check/

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