What The Health:
Language, imagery and ideology can be an incredibly dangerous tool when influencing approaches to health care. Healthcare is probably the most polemic subject, which rouses emotion like nothing else can. This is even more so the case when children are involved.
What The Health is a shameless attempt to fear monger, to take advantage of these emotions. The images of children eating cigarettes for breakfast, shots of hospital wards all draw on our deepest fears. There is so much wrong with the film that it is almost impossible to know where to begin and do justice on Instagram, but the elements that worried me the most were:
1. Reliance on worryingly poor studies that attempt to legitimise the film. Meta analyses is almost non existent in WHO study that the film creates its frame work on about meat causing cancer. If you dive into the studies used, there is a worrying reliance on epidemiological studies used, ie that correlation is interrogated but not causation. Anything can be linked with correlation.
2. Comparisons of eggs to cigarettes...need I say more? There is so much science backing the safety of fat sources, despite much debate.
3. Claims that humans were not intended to eat meat, but rather that we should eat plant based food only and supplement what we lose from meat. A complete contradiction.
4. If we want to look to correlations, red meat consumed in the USA has dropped, whilst obesity increased.
5. There is an attempt to claim that doses of vegan blood can kill cancer cells. This is not only hugely false scientifically,but entirely unethical.
6. Finally, the documentary lacks the inclusion of simple nutrition basics such as calorie requirements and the importance of surplus and deficits to lose and gain weight.
In sum, this film can actually be fully evaluated alongside religious extremism. Ideology takes place of reason and hard evidence in an attempt to scare people into belief. The film sits worryingly comfortably in the ever growing anti-science rhetoric.
If you wish to follow a plant based diet for ethical reasons then fine, but don't be put off animal products due to safety.