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The other day, my significant other wanted to watch this abortion on Netflix. Since I was scrolling through my phone and had completely missed what she said, I nodded. Huge mistake. Now we’re vegan. I don’t get a choice, she buys all the food. We’re vegan.
While I can’t save myself, maybe I can help one of you poor bastards out there whose girlfriend sees the documentary about how meat gives you cancer trending on Facebook and suddenly wants to watch it, too. If I can give you some ammunition, some counterpoints at crucial moments of the film, maybe you can avoid my fate and that makes it all worth it.
Here’s a direct and evidence-based response to the main bogus claims made in the documentary (and there are a lot of them). I’m not an expert here, but some of these big claims I was able to dispute with nothing more than a semester of college physiology and simple research.
Here we go.
1. Claim: Processed Meat Causes Colon Cancer
A family friend is a gastroenterologist and has talked about this (and poop) at the dinner table many a time. Sadly, it’s true that the meat and carb heavy “western diet” is correlated with more colon cancer than say, Japan. But actual studies put the real risk at 6 percent for heavy red meat eaters, which is only 1 percent higher than the background rate of 5 percent for the whole population. So no, eating red meat is not “as dangerous as smoking cigarettes”. Also, colon cancer is the most preventable of all cancers. Just get a damn colonoscopy on an every few year basis.
2. Claim: Sugar Isn’t Linked To Diabetes, Red Meat Causes Diabetes
Do a quick google search of “sugar linked to diabetes.” Go on, I’ll wait. There are about 50 million studies about how strongly correlated this link is. I couldn’t find a single reference to the study they talk about in the movie. This information is shocking, especially when they have one of the vegan doctors (every doctor interviewed for the movie is a vegan activist BTW) say that sugar is not harmful, does not cause inflammation, can be stored in the body as glycogen.
Yeah, if you’re exercising and building muscle. Sugar is largely made up of sucrose, a mixture of fructose and glucose which are carbohydrates. Do you know what glycolysis (the process in the body that breaks down carbs for energy) does when you don’t need to build muscle? Bingo! It makes freaking fatty acids. A build up of excess fatty acids is one of the things that leads to insulin resistance and obesity. And when we’re talking about sugar in the American diet, we’re most often actually talking about high fructose corn syrup, which like table sugar contains fructose, a carb that enters glycolysis just after a key regulatory step that would tell the body to stop making fatty acids (giving you the squirts I guess?). Fructose and sugar have a much more obvious link to diabetes and obesity than red meat. Plus fructose has been shown to create an inflammatory response in mammal epithelial (gut) cells. So yeah, sugar is super harmful and it does cause inflammation. The diabetes claim is some Grade A horse poop.
3. Claim: Red Meat Causes Diabetes And Chicken/Lean Meat Causes Cancer
What kind of meat can I eat then?
The study they use to show red meat is linked to diabetes shows no correlation in diabetes risk for Chicken/lean meat/unprocessed meat. RW explains the red meat part is pretty bogus too, because it was done through a cohort study and food questionnaire rather than an actual random trial. Furthermore, when they talk about the dangers of sodium in the movie, there’s no consensus on whether high amounts of sodium are actually linked to disease, as shown here.
And when they say chicken causes cancer, they’re talking about the formation of heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. For those of you that speak English, that’s freaking BBQ char. And I looked that shit up myself while watching the movie because I’m like “I know I’ve heard this before.” If you cook at lower temperatures, broil, boil, or marinade with antioxidants those HCAs won’t even form. So no, they’re not just in chicken waiting to give you cancer. Also, there’s evidence that a healthy gut biome will convert these things to harmless metabolites.
4. Observation: Kip (Filmmaker) Just Acts Like a Pretentious Asshole A Lot Of The Time
I want to take a break from shooting down vegan propaganda with science to just comment on what a freaking tool Kip (The Man in the Stupid Hat) is for most of the movie. First, he calls the front desk or help lines of these big health organizations and yells at the (surely minimum waged) operators in the call centers like he’s discovered they’re hiding a cure for cancer. Then he acts super smug and uses it as proof when he can’t get an answer to his questions. These are people at the bottom of the totem pole, and you’re just harassing them. Also, I think many of the “gotcha” interviews in the movie were set up under false pretenses, and I feel bad the ADA guy cracked so hard, because he should have just kicked Kip out of his office the second he went “vegan crusade” instead of getting played on camera. I personally know it’s really difficult to produce counter evidence when there is a militant dickhole screaming in your face.
Finally, I will go on record that the confrontation with the hospital media relations person looks staged. I have family in the hospital system and have been around hospitals academically for many years. I’ve never met anyone who would say in public or private that they encourage people to be sick for personal profit. That’s freaking abominable, and also it’s more horse poop. Rich sick people can drive up hospital bottom lines, but poor people and Medicare demolish them. It is by far in the hospital’s best interest to engage in preventative care and keep people healthy both economically and morally. Hospital employees just don’t think the way this woman in the video talks. Also, they would be met by security, not a lone hospital employee. Not buying it for a second.
5. Claim: Veganism Is Magic And Will Heal All Your Diseases
This is the shit that really pisses me off beyond all else. The last part of the movie shows a bunch of people talking about how going vegan healed all their illnesses. While there’s probably a fair bit of placebo going on here, and eating more vegetables is ostensibly healthier than eating processed crap, it should be freaking illegal to have someone come on and say “eating vegetables cured my thyroid cancer.” Misinformation like that kills people. Freaking period. End of story.
There is no scientific evidence that switching to an all vegan diet will heal cancer. There is some evidence of reducing the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes by changing diet, but not like the magic pill they show in the movie.
So please share this with every sorority girl that watched the movie and took it as gospel. This was nothing more than vegan propaganda based off little to no facts and y’all got got..