Changing the game (Game changers review)
The game changes is a documentary on Netflix promoting a vegan diet for better health and performance. In this article I will attempt to break down and compare some of the misconceptions made in the film. Confirmation bias is a term used when people seek out information and studies to back up their claims, we have all been guilty of this at times.
The game changers is jam packed (excuse the pun) with celebrities promoting their choice of diet and pseudoscience to back up said claims which makes it harder for people without a science background to challenge the claims that have been made in the film.
Roman gladiators ate a vegan diet
Gladiators were slaves owned by Roman aristocrats for entertainment purposes. The life expectancy of a gladiator was approximately two years once becoming a slave. It has been said gladiators were fed a diet full of grains and legumes to not only pack on body fat which offered some protection from cuts and wounds in the arena but was also a cheaper source of calories to feed the slave labour.
Going vegan for ethical reasons
Very few people would argue against turning vegan for ethical reasons or that factory farming is good for the environment. On the other hand greenhouse gas emissions from farming makes up less than 5% of total carbon emissions where as cars public transport and electronic devices make up almost 90% of total carbon emissions. A recent 2016 study in Australia has also shown approximately 25 times more sentient beans are killed per kilo of consumable protein when including rodents, birds, insects and reptiles compare to only livestock production.
DIAAS (digestible indispensable amino acid score) is a scale which rankes the highest quality of proteins to consume based off the amino acid profile and bio availability of proteins. Beef along with eggs and fish are ranked amongst the highest quality protein sources where as peanut butter and wheats are ranked amongst the lowest bioavailable and indigestible protein sources. You would need to consume roughly 600 calories of peanut butter versus 200 calories of beef to get a similar protein intake. Leucine is the most important amino acid for muscle protein synthesis which is only found in tiny amounts in plant matter yet high amounts in animal products.
Going vegan for heart health (The ornish diet)
Context is everything. It’s been claimed over and over that a vegan or low-fat diet is the only diet that clinically reverses heart disease, yet the context matters!! When looking closer at the control groups it shows the study selected a baseline of people who were smokers, drinkers and who were already eating a diet of processed meats and fast food, so it’s no surprise their Health markers improved when switching to a low fat or vegan diet.
This is what is known as ‘the honeymoon period’ Where health markers improve in the short-term with a lifestyle change and long-term follow-up are still needed to check Iron and B12 levels. A clean plant based diet or low fat diet is going to improve the health markers in people who smoke, drink and eat processed food with little exercise just about every single time.
The Netflix documentary also made the claim that UFC fighter Nate Diaz beat opponent Connor McGregor due to his vegan diet. This claim is for many reasons over exaggerated. Let’s look at a few of the main reasons why: first off, Nate Diaz is a vegetarian who eats a diet including fish and eggs which covers the recommended daily intake of protein. Nate is also known for his high level of dirty boxing and jujitsu making the fight a stylistic nightmare for Connor McGregor. Finally, Connor McGregor Usually fights in a lighter weight division and took the fight on late notice after an injury to his original opponent and came up in weight.
1) James Cameron, the director owns a vegan protein company.
2) Cows have 4 stomachs to ferment cud and Plant matter into essential fatty acids.
3) Gorillas eat roughly 20kg of Plant material daily which includes tree bark, bugs and insects.
4) humans have longer small intestines where nutrient dense foods such as meat are digested. Whereas herbivores have longer large intestines where low calorie foods like fruits and plant materials are digested.
5) The quick growth of the human brain (in evolutionary terms) has been contributed to our human ancestors hunting and cooking of meats and eating bone marrow.
6)Bone collagen studies ranging from 13,000-30,000 yrs ago show Homo Sapiens and Neanderthal all ate a diet consisting mostly of meat.
7) Monkeys have been observed hunting and killing their own kind in the wild.
8) ‘Plant based’ implies a balanced whole foods diet including some meats.
9)Plant based meat burgers have withdrawn their claims that meat causes cancer.
10) A vegan diet lacks essential nutrients; B12, leucine, Iron & calcium along with other essential nutrients and will need to be supplemented to meet RDI’s.
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