Forks Over Knives

Did “Forks Over Knives” Get it Right?

I recently watched the documentary Forks Over Knives in an effort to understand why so many have shunned meat and animal products in favor of a “plant based diet” after watching this film. While I commend these filmmakers for encouraging the use of a healthy diet to prevent and treat many of today’s common health issues; overall I found this documentary to be extremely misleading.

Not All Meats are Created Equal

My biggest qualm with this movie is the way in which ALL animal products are carelessly grouped together and labeled as “dangerous”. Since when did wild-caught salmon and grass-fed beef become comparable to Big Macs, ice cream, cheese pizza and hot dogs? While salmon and hot dogs are certainly both high in fat, the
healthy fats in salmon have been linked to numerous health benefits while the trans fats (and other additives) in processed meats can be linked to numerous health issues. How can this movie possibly group these products together and claim
that they have similar effects on one’s health? Likewise, cheese and organic chicken cannot be fairly placed into the same category- dairy and poultry are two very different products and should be treated as such. I do believe that dairy should be limited in a healthy diet and that the majority of people would honestly feel better eating none at all; however I whole-heartedly disagree with cutting out all “animal products”

Gluten, Grains, and GMOs

Next on my list of grievances is the evidence promoting the benefits of a purely plant based diet. While I strongly believe that plants should make up the core of every healthy diet, the idea that they should make up our entire diet opens the door to an entire new realm of health issues (hello pesticides, super grains, and GMOs!). Considering the fact an estimated 1 in 100 Americans are living (most undiagnosed) with Celiac Disease and the staggering link this autoimmune disease has with heart disease and cancer, I find it downright dangerous that that this film encourages Americans to consume even more of this grain as they shun all animal products.

“…an estimated 1 in 100 Americans are living (most undiagnosed) with Celiac Disease…”

With that said, I agree that replacing the mass amounts of processed foods, chemicals and artificial junk consumed on a daily basis, with whole foods,
fruits, and vegetables could help vast majority in losing weight and improving overall health. That’s just common sense! However, the movie doesn’t address the question of what would happen if we replaced the processed junk with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and organic/wild eggs, meat, and fish? Instead, they simply throw all animal products and processed foods into one category marked “bad” and throw all plant based
products into another marked “good”. I firmly believe those with the fruits, vegetables, and organic animal products would surpass the vegetarian group in weight loss and overall improved health in addition to experiencing fewer nutritional deficiencies, increased lean mass (thus more efficient metabolisms) and would feel more satiated with fewer cravings.

High Protein vs Low Protein

Lastly, I have to address the mouse study which Dr. T Colin Campbell uses to “prove” that high protein diets actually “turn on” cancer while low protein diets turn it off. For the study, a group of experimental mice were given aflatoxin, (a powerful carcinogen) then split into two groups to determine the role of diet in cancer prevention and treatment. One group (the HP or high protein group) was fed a diet of 20% protein in the form of casein (found in dairy) while the other was fed only 5% (the LP or low protein group) protein. In this study, the HP mice were shown to have an increased risk of liver cancer while the LP group experienced a decreased risk. However, one very essential detail that the movie didn’t discuss (but rather showed it on an article snippit about 16 minutes into the film) is the fact that that while the HP group had higher rates of cancer, 30 of the HP mice survived for more than a year while only 12 of the LP mice survived. I can’t help but wonder if those poor LP mice simply didn’t survive long enough to develop liver cancer?

Sadly I’ve only skimmed the surface of the many falsifications presented in this Forks Over Knives documentary. If you or somebody you know is considering swearing off all animal products after watching this film, I strongly suggest additional research before making such drastic lifestyle changes.

 

When Hippocrates stated “Let food be thy medicine.” I’m pretty sure he said it with a drumstick in his hand and a turkey on the table.

-Jason M. Kremer, DC, CCSP, CSCS

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