Being a healthy living blogger, health coach, health writer, and overall health nut, it shouldn’t come as a shock to you that I enjoy watching documentaries that focus on health. The most recent documentary that was recommended to me by multiple people is a Netflix film called What The Health.
Last weekend as my hubby and I watched the documentary, I experienced my usual feelings that creep up on me when I watch films that focus on the current state of American health: sadness, for all of the people out there slowly killing themselves through unhealthy lifestyle choices; anger, that there are such obviously conflicting money trails between big food biz and organizations that are supposed to be working to protect our health; and disgust, for all of the resources and lives that we waste on producing such mass quantities of meat.
What The Health critiques the health impact of meat and dairy products consumption, questions the practices of the leading health and pharmaceutical organizations, and advocates for a plant-based diet. The documentary has faced some criticism that it “cherry picked” research and facts (just Google the film and you’ll see what I’m talking about), and while I do have some questions about the validity of some of the things that the film brought up, I also found many of the points that they brought up to be very interesting.
So, today I wanted to share some of the film’s stats with you. Please note that I’ve cross-checked these facts, and found other sources that provided similar statistics to back up the documentary’s claims. Check these facts out, watch the documentary, and let me know what you think!
1.) 350 million people worldwide have diabetes.
2.) The World Health Organization has classified processed meat as a group 1 carcinogen – the same category as cigarettes in terms of cancer risk – due to the proven links between processed meat and colorectal cancer.
Here’s more info according to their website:
“This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. In other words, there is convincing evidence that the agent causes cancer. The evaluation is usually based on epidemiological studies showing the development of cancer in exposed humans.
In the case of processed meat, this classification is based on sufficient evidence from epidemiological studies that eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer.”
3.) 1 in 3 Medicare dollars goes towards caring for people with diabetes.
4.) While it’s commonly thought that a high carb & sugar diet causes diabetes, the film cites research that shows otherwise. 500,000 people were studied, and they found that carbohydrate consumption was actually inversely related to diabetes.
Side note: To me, the overall main thing to know is that type 2 diabetes is the vast, vast majority of diabetes cases in the U.S. – and it’s preventable. Insulin resistance can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight through daily exercise and eating a healthy balanced diet full of whole foods.
5.) 1 in 4 deaths in America is from cancer.
6.) 80% of all pharmaceutical drugs in the U.S. are given to animals.
What?! This stat blew my mind…. and so many of those antibiotics get into the tissues of animals that are slaughtered, and then eaten by humans.
7.) Sponsors of the American Cancer Association include Tyson, Velveeta, Dannon, Perdue and Pizza Hut.
This money trail is extremely disturbing, considering the, at the very least, questionable links between animal products and cancer. How can we trust the American Cancer Association’s recommendations on food and diet if they’re tied to big food biz? The sad truth: We can’t.
8.) The largest, strongest terrestrial animals on the planet are herbivores – including elephants and rhinos. Even our closest ancestors, apes, are largely plant-based eaters.
Case in point: Gorillas, who are insanely strong and jacked, eat lots of fruits, leaves, roots, etc. and only a small amount of insects.
I do want to add something from a holistic health coach standpoint. Nutrition is a complicated science, and a lot of people find it hard to know what the “right” things to eat are, but what everyone in the field agrees on is to focus on a diet full of real, whole foods in general.
I’m a vegetarian who eats vegan 90% of the time, and while it’s a powerful ethical and environmental issue for me, I also recognize that different diets enable people to feel their best. If you eat meat and dairy, the important thing is to 1.) be conscious about the quality of your food – where it comes from, if it’s organic, grass-fed, local, etc. and 2.) eat it in moderation. I don’t believe that eating eggs once a week will kill you, but I don’t advocate that you eat 4 eggs every morning either.
My advice? Eat foods that came from the earth. Focus on what’s natural. Practice moderation. Avoid an excess of toxins – whether that’s from processed foods, GMO crops, or antibiotics-filled meat. Consume foods that make you feel energized, not ones that bog you down. Food should be fuel that keeps you going strong. As Ann Wigmore said, “The food you eat can either be the safest & most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.”
My new smoothie recipe index
Lastly, before I go, I wanted to note that my blog has undergone some fun changes lately! You may notice that my site has a new look, and I also have updated my recipe pages to have image indexes – which I think makes it more visually appealing & easier to find recipes. Check out my recipe indexes & let me know what you think! I will also be updating my travel & workout pages to follow suite in the next couple of weeks.
Thoughts & feelings on What The Health and these stats? Please share!