What the Health, a documentary released earlier this year, has been increasingly buzzing in the social media world.
Unfortunately, it mixes facts with half-truths with outright inaccuracies. Its message isn’t scientifically or medically sound.
Even more unfortunately, it’s too complicated and lengthy to explain why in a blog post or other brief format.
This the heart of the problem when it comes to health information.
As is often the case with these types of exposés, the documentary is certainly captivating, with dramatic reenactments and snazzy editing. But there’s simply too much scientific literature on the topics to present them in any real way in 90 minutes. Plus, doing so would make the film less dramatic and therefore less marketable.
Take, for instance, the film’s crusade against eggs.
The notion that eggs are incredibly unhealthy due to their cholesterol content has been debunked. Our recent dietary guidelines reflect this. And the supposed deleterious effects of saturated fat found in eggs is also under debate among health care professionals.
This is based upon years of scientific and medical research and an unbelievable amount of data that most people aren’t terribly interested in.
What people are actually interested in is that eggs are no longer considered harmful to health, and are actually very nutritious.
The truth is that there are countless ways to eat -- and eat well -- and the major pitfall of this documentary is that it ignores that fact, essentially telling us that there is one best way to eat.
Labels like “meat-eater” or “vegan” don’t speak much as to what a person actually eats, and often times, the benefits of a healthy diet are due to the inclusion of nutrient-dense foods versus the exclusion of foods deemed “unhealthy.”
So what does What the Health truly teach us?
Question the source. Health trends will come and go, and it can be tempting to believe any headline containing the words “research says.” But if you do have legitimate health or diet concerns, reach out to a qualified professional trained in their respective field.