Photo by Rustic Vegan on Unsplash
The last few weeks I have been bombarded with questions about the documentary Game Changers. In this documentary the benefits of eating plant-based foods are highlighted as well as the dangers of eating meat. Viewers, many of them athletes, are alarmed by some of the messages, scientists are telling us how dangerous eating meat is and how great eating vegetables is for your health and performance. Have they missed something? Should they now switch to a plant only diet? The documentary that pretends to search for the truth… but does it?
Before we look into the evidence a bit more, let me first start with saying that I have no problem with vegetarian eating, with vegetarians or vegans, and I think everyone should make their own decisions when it comes to food intake. If you want to eat paleo that is your choice, if you want to eat ketogenic, that is your choice, if you want to be a vegetarian or vegan this is absolutely fine. My daughter is a vegetarian, even though she doesn’t like vegetables… It is her choice. But although I don’t have a problem with people’s individual food choices, I do have a serious problem with people who want everyone else to eat their way, or people that claim that their way is the only way. I have a problem with information that is confusing, misinforming or even misleading. I also have a problem with bad science and when claims are made that scientific methods are used when they clearly are not. I also have a problem with scare mongering: if you eat meat you will die!
Well, Game Changers seems to do all of these things that I have a problem with. Game Changers ticks almost all the boxes of pseudoscience, and none of the boxes of science (Below we will go through some examples and discuss what pseudoscience is and what science is).
Game Changers ticks almost all the boxes of pseudoscience, and none of the boxes of science
Are you confused by all these diets we have been bombarded with in the media? We had paleo a little while ago. We had to eat like our ancestors otherwise we would develop diseases and die. Then we had keto, we need to go keto otherwise you will get diabetes and die. Avoid carbohydrate! Now we can’t be keto and definitely not paleo, we need to avoid meat! We have seen three massive trends in the space of a few years. Believe me, scientific insights haven’t changed in this short period of time! Science doesn’t move that fast…. However, different interpretations and especially opinions do change fast… Unfortunately, these are not always based on science or evidence, even thought they may pretend that they do.
There are some conclusions and statements in the documentary I personally agree with and the scientific community in general agrees with as well. The main point of agreement being that we should eat more fruit and vegetables. I think there is a lot of evidence that this can help our health. But this is also a general recommendation we are given, anyway! Haven’t we been bombarded with this message? Haven’t we bombarded with the 5 a day message? This doesn’t mean you have to become vegetarian or vegan, you just need to eat more fruit and vegetables. If this is the takeaway from the documentary or the effect of it than that is great.
A closer look
I watched the documentary 3 times. The second and third time I specifically paid attention to how the arguments were built, what evidence was used and also what evidence was NOT u