What the Health: propaganda or truth?


If veganism was not already the latest fad, it certainly gained a new light after the documentary What the Health was released on Netflix. The film’s host, Kip Anderson, sets out to discover the truth about how eating meat affects human health..

Throughout the documentary, Anderson attempts to find compelling evidence that supports his newly erected stance on how the consumption of meat and dairy is unhealthy.

According to the documentary, consuming meat and dairy exposes individuals to higher risks of cancer and diabetes. To support his claims, Anderson interviews multiple physicians who he knows share the same perspective.

The physicians that Anderson interviews support the hypothesis that meat and dairy are unnecessary for human survival. And, contrary to popular belief, eating meat is not necessarily the only good source of protein. The documentary explains that only plants are able to take nitrogen from the air and convert it into amino acids. Since amino acids are the building blocks for protein, eating plants is said to be sufficient enough nutrition. Anderson claims that animals eat plants, and humans eat animals; therefore, humans technically are only eating animal byproduct. What the Health attempts to prove that there is no biological need for meat.

What the Health states numerous times that sugar and carbs are not the sources of Type-2 Diabetes, although many scientists believe these are primary causes. Type-2 Diabetes is caused from the build-up from fat, which comes from the overconsumption of meat, fish, and dairy. Additionally, consuming fish that contains mercury or eggs embedded in dioxin is causing an uptick in cancer rates.

The documentary attempts to expose large health associations like the American Diabetes Association and Susan G. Komen. Anderson calls these large companies and asks the receptionists why they would promote eating meat and drinking milk when they lead to cancer and diabetes. The receptionists are caught off guard and are unable to answer Anderson’s questions. This tactic is supposed to make the audience believe that because these companies cannot answer his questions, they don’t want the world to know the truth behind meat and dairy products.

Although the documentary provides a compelling argument about why society should go vegan, it presents its argument with extreme bias.

With an increasing concern regarding the obesity epidemic in the US, getting fit and healthy is becoming a common goal. Many people will watch this documentary and use it as a primary source of information.Without further research, everything in What the Health sounds scarily convincing. Various sites provide explanations on what is exaggerated or falsified. Consuming fish, eggs, and dairy is not as bad as the documentary makes it seem. As is stated in an article published by Vox, “eating processed meat… does increase the risk of colorectal cancer, but the health effects are not nearly as large as Anderson suggests.”

Yes, eating more vegetables rarely hurts anybody, but, contrary to what What the Health would have audiences believe, eggs are simply not as carcenogenic as a pack of cigarettes.

Veganism is a diet that works for some, but it may not be the right diet for all. What the Health is less likely to turn society vegan than it is to create a society who has a negative and misinformed relationship with their food. 

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