OT: Really Good Movie/Documentary I Would Encourage People to Watch Related to Nutrition

Submitted by aiglick on March 3rd, 2012 at 1:08 AM

I know this is not Michigan sports related specifically, but at least tangentially this is related to athletics as this movie is related to nutrition which is very much linked to sports.

I just watched the movie "Forks Over Knifes" and it is fantastic. A lot of times it seems like the movie is full of common sense, yet our country and the world at large continues to become less healthy because we don't listen to the simple advice of this movie: eat less meat and try to move towards a more vegetable based diet.

I am not trying to be preachy as I am extremely obese and will find it hard to implement the suggestions laid out in the movie. I merely am passing this along because I think the movie was very interesting and important.

Hope everybody has a great weekend.

I hope to be celebrating a Big Ten Regular Season Championship come Sunday but am extremely proud of our team.



March 3rd, 2012 at 1:38 AM ^

I am a loose vegetarian (tried vegan for a few months). My wife read The China Study and got us involved in a local vegan group. They screened this movie in november (rented a theater) and had a pretty good response. Haven't seen it yet, but I try to only eat meat one to two meals a week so I already got the message.

What it comes down to is the people, themselves, choosing to eat healthier. Its not meat/dairy farmers or McDonalds who keep consuming this western "diet". The people get what they want, they just need to care about getting the right things.

Btw, mexican food is a staple for my diet. Protip: you can sub meat with beans in anything at taco bell.


March 3rd, 2012 at 1:53 AM ^

If you are, you should take a look at the link in my signature. My aunt owns and operates a service in Ann Arbor that delivers food/caters with ingredients mostly bought at the Farmers Market or ordered locally. You can pick from vegan, vegetarian, or meat included options.

Sorry to sound like an advertisement here, but it did seem relevant to this post especially and this thread in general. Even if you're across the country and can't ever order anything, maybe you could find some inspiration in a recipe or something. I've tried to emulate her cooking on more occasions than I'd like to recall, although I'm not a very good cook.


March 3rd, 2012 at 2:12 AM ^

A vegetarian diet is good, but you don't want to downgrade meat. The problem is that the animals that are raised to become meat are eating shit like corn syrup to get them nice and fat. If the animals you are eating aren't healthy, then you probably won't be very healthy by eating them. It's all about the profit margins and pounds of meat you can get off every animal. It's a sick world.

You are what you eat, and what you eat is what they ate.


March 3rd, 2012 at 2:26 AM ^

As I was never satisified, it soon turned into the Cookie Diet®, and at my diabetes checkup, I was off the scale.

I'm back to eating meat and healthier for it.


March 3rd, 2012 at 2:45 AM ^

I'll check it out. It's pretty much the consensus that there are a lot of problems with the way meat, particularly beef, pork and even fish are raised in this day and age, but if you're replacing those animal products with processed foods you're not going to be any healthier. Everyone should also check out The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

yossarians tree

March 3rd, 2012 at 1:13 PM ^

The Pollan book is extremely eye-opening and since reading it I have tried to eat less meat in general while spending the same amount due to the fact that good, local, grass-fed meat is more expensive but is also better for you, the environment, and the community. By buying locally-raised organic poultry, pork, and grass-fed beef you are ensuring that the meat you eat is more nutritious and safer. It also ensures that the animals are treated humanely, there are no fertilizers or hormones used in the process, and--best of all--your dollars are going to support a family farm in your own community. It's just a win-win-win all the way around.

And that's not coming from an ultra-liberal perspective. I'm actually fairly conservative, but most of my philosophy seeks to find what works best.

turbo cool

March 3rd, 2012 at 6:46 AM ^

This is acttually a very insightful movie. Usually if you decide to become vegetarian, the hardest part is by far and away the first few weeks. My advice for you is to do your homework prior and know how to prepare all types of veg meals because if you begin thinking that you can only eat apples and carrots you won't stand a chance. Buy a vegetarian recipee book!

Also, fyi, I noticed a huge difference in both the way I felt physically and mentally after adjusting my diet. It's funny (and frustrating) when I see my co-workers who constantly complain about feeling like crap or not having enough energy though they're drinking Dr. Pepper throughout the day, eating fast food at lunch, etc. It's simple, what you put into your body will directly result in the output you get from it.

Cville Blue

March 3rd, 2012 at 7:11 AM ^

Make sure you do your homework before going veggie. It is important to know what you're doing. It its possible to be healthy or unhealthy as a meat eater or vegetarian. It is more important to eat unprocessed real food and I see too many vegetarians surviving off of veggie burgers and frozen garbage. You're better off eating high quality organic grass feed beef. That said, been veggie 15 years.


March 3rd, 2012 at 8:06 AM ^

We buy half a cow every year from a local farmer all grass fead, no hormones or steroids or antibiotics. Zip zero nadda. It tastes better then any store bought by far. All veggies come from the pop up market. Find resources locally is a great start. And it helps your neighbors stay viable Everything in moderation. Im not in great shape because im lazy, but im aware of the food cycle also.


March 3rd, 2012 at 8:08 AM ^

There are a lot of inaccuracies and manipulating data to support your preconceived conclusion. For example, during WWII, they cite a decrease in meat consumption led to a vast decrease in heart disease. The real data will show people were dying before they would had developed heart disease from acute infections (TB, influenza, pneumonia, etc). Additionally, their post death heart wasn't that much healthier. So yes, heart disease did decrease but not for the reason they claim, it's because people were dying sooner from other things before they would have developed heart disease in the first place.

Also, in the cancer studies with the mice: They say the data supports their conclusion that a veggie diet effectively cured cancer in mice. What the full study will show is that although the meat eating mice did develop liver cancer, the veggie eating mice actually all died sooner from their liver consuming itself. So yes, cancer free, but all died 100% sooner. And that is all aside from the fact that they were exposed to levels of carcinogens much higher than humans would ever be exposed to in their lifetimes. An alternate study was performed with moderate levels of carcinogens similar to what humans could be exposed to and the reverse was found true: mice with meat and dairy protein not only lived longer but were cancer free while the vegetarian fed mice died sooner from cancer related issues.

Lastly with the predominantly fish/rice eating Asian population coming to the US and adopting a "western diet" and dying sooner. The real data shows that they moved to coastal regions and their diet changed predominantly fom rice to bread without any addition of meat/dairy from what they were eating before. when the data didn't support their claim, they adopted a general term "western diet" to hide behind. The decrease in life expectancy could be correlated to bread intake perhaps. But it irked me that they mislead the viewers by claiming a "western diet" hoping that we all assume that is Big Macs and Nesquik.

These are just some of the problems I had with this documentary. It was interesting, but chock full of correlation = causation and questionable science as proof. In many instances, the studies they found supported the opposite conclusion but when you can handpick data and assume your viewership will not research your methods and full reaults, you can aell more DVDs. I agree with the message: eat better quality foods and do so in moderation. I disagree with the notion that the problems stem from eating meat/dairy.

Sorry for any formatting, I am via mobile.


March 3rd, 2012 at 8:22 AM ^

I agree 100%, correlation does not imply causation and supporters of the caveman diet can pretty much show how manipulated studies are showing meat is evil.  I am of the belief that meat and veggies are the two healthiest things you can eat.  It is not the meat that is making our nation obese but the processed breads and carbs that suck all the nutrients out.  

My brother actually tried the caveman diet out himself and while eating 3000 calories a day, he was losing weight.  His view was that carbs reduce your metabolism.  I don't really know a whole lot, but meat is not the issue in my opinion.  Beer, bread, sugar, carbs are.


March 3rd, 2012 at 9:06 AM ^

Gary Taubes' book linked below does a pretty good job of showing just why you shouldn't trust 90% of what food scientists say.  Even if you don't agree with his conclusions that carbs are the enemy, he does a very good job showing the inherent biases in food research and that you need to read more than just the newspaper artile but the actual journal article if you want to understand what a study really says.  He's a pretty decent author as well, so it's an easy read.



March 3rd, 2012 at 9:53 AM ^

That's an awfully long post, but you have no citations to support your statements. Neither does anyone else here, AFAICS, to be fair ...

One other thing: Why is that when someone is screaming CARBS(!!!) they rarely bother to distinguish between Wonder Bread and whole-wheat products (i.e., refined and unrefined carbs). Big difference, rarely acknowledged ...

While I'm on the soapbox, another difference that is rarely acknowledged by the PROTEIN(!!!) crowd is the difference between mystery meat (say, McNuggets) and freshly harvested meat (say, venison) that is free of the various "additives" from the meat industry. Again, big difference, rarely acknowledged ...


March 3rd, 2012 at 11:24 AM ^

Not a problem.  My citations for some are those used by the scientists in the documentary actually:

For the mice: The Effect of Dietary Protein on Carcinogenesis of Alatoxin (linked here), which appeared in the Archives of Pathology in 1968.  In the publication, it does in fact state that the rats with a 20% casein protein (dairy protein) diet had liver tumors while the 5% casein protein did not.  However, all 30 of the high protein rats survived the whole year while only 12 of the 5% casein protein rats.  So yes, the low casien protein rats did in fact not have cancer, but they died at an alarmingly faster rate in large part to their liver cells essentially eating themselves.  I encourage you to read their "sources" to get the full picture instead of their handpicked data.

For the WWII diet: Well, in this journal, Barnes reviewed 70,000 Austrian autopsy protocols from the years 1930 to 1970, and found that cardiovascular disease mortality dropped significantly during World War II, which coincides with their claims that it was due to the decrease in livestock consumption due to the German confiscation of livestock to feed troops.  A segment from Pages 2 and 3: At Graz, heart attacks dropped 75 percent between 1939 and 1945, and it is true that people were not eating cholesterol foods during the war … Adult patients, dying from tuberculosis during the war, had a very severe degree of damage to the arteries of their hearts. … Two years later the conditions were reversed. The antibiotics against tuberculosis had become available, and deaths from this disease fell like a lead pipe. Immediately deaths from heart attacks started to rise. The autopsies gave us the answer: the adult dying from a heart attack had "healing" tuberculosis in his lungs.

Lastly, for the Japanese population moving to US "western diets", this article, Epidemiology of coronary heart disease and stroke in Japanese men living in Japan, Hawaii, and California: methodology for comparison of diet, published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 26, 177-184 (linked here) will actually show that in their diets, their flesh based meat consumption changed the least out of all dietary categories with the biggest changes coming from fish intake decreasing 32% and bread intake moving from non-existant (ate rice 2-3 times a day instead) to having bread 7+ times a week.  To be fair, there was also an increase in dairy consumption, so there is correlation there as well, though the study also includes margerine in that category which fogs "dairy" up a bit.

EDIT: and just as a disclaimer, I'm not on of those people screaming "PROTEIN!!!" like you say.  I actually eat meat quite rarely.  I do however consume a lot of fish and the meat I do eat is usually hormone free/free range chicken breast once a week.  I just don't like "documentaries" that pick data to support their conclusions, which is extra ironic given one of their sources (the mice) actually shows a higher death rate but "see?! no cancer! boo animal protein"  My fight is with irresponsible public manipulation, not vegetarians.  A vegetarian diet, just like an omnivore diet, can be very healthy if done properly and detrimental if done incorrectly, and I have no issues with supporting either.


March 3rd, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

Yeah, that's the biggest thing with the whole documentary actually.  There could be a multitude of reasons why or why not health increased or decreased.  I'm not saying their proposed nutritional diet is right or wrong (I have a friend that swears by it and is living very healthily), I'm just trying to do my part to draw awareness to not accepting what a movie says as fact and to really look into sources, academic journals, etc.

I mean, if curing cancer was just as easy as only eating vegetables, you'd think it would have caught on more by now.

Ultimately, I don't care that much about the debate between meat vs. veggies.  Just sharing some stuff I found when I took a serious look into becoming vegetarian and decided that lifestyle wasn't a good fit for me personally.  One of the biggest things I have found in my academic research is a correlation between eating fish and one's health.  I try and get as high quality of fish as possible and stay away from mercury risks (swordfish/shark/albacore tuna/etc.) and opt for fish caught humanely, etc.  And outside of that, unprocessed whole grains and natural vegetables.  In the end, my final thouht (because I'm taking up a ton of my time researching again in this thread, haha) is to do your own research, pick a nutrition plan that focuses on moderation, and make sure you're happy with your lifestyle choice whatever that may be.  That will be much healthier than torturing one's self on celery and baby carrots to lose a few pounds, etc.

Just my two cents while on my own soapbox.


March 3rd, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

Agreed.  That's tangentially my point.  Lack of heart disease can't be attributed to decrease in livestock consumption when there are so many other factors that should be taken into account during wartime.  Especially when people were dying at alarming rates from acute infections with autopsies showing clogged arteries (still). 

I know in Norway, heart disease decreased as well, though the infections likely played a part as well, but their diet saw a 200% increase in fish consumption, an increase in dairy, and odd things like seagulls.  Which, like, scavenge for whatever is edible when resources are scarce.

I, like you I assume from your post, think it's irresponsible for a documentary to make that claim when there are a ridiculous number of reasons why or why not heart disease mortality decreased during WWII.

swan flu

March 3rd, 2012 at 8:38 AM ^

Never seen the documentary, I'm sure they make a lot of leaps that shouldn't be made... but that's a big part of pop science. In order to get people to watch something, you have to make some ludicrous suggestions.


That said, I have my degree in biology and chemistry (so im knowledgeable on the matter) and my fiance is a doctor and we eat meat once or twice a week, tops.  Not because of any cancer risks but for these reasons


1) Its cheaper.  We get our protein from beans (sprouted and unsprouted), nuts, brown rice, and seeds.

2) Animal meat (specifically red meat) leads to higher blood pressure, a risk that exists in both of our families.

3) Meat comes with a lot of fat, and we both lead active lives.

4) Eating secondary consumers is less energy efficient than eating primary consumers and primary producers. (Boom, ecology terms)... basically all energy on earth comes from the sun, is converted to food by plants, and then the food chain.  The closer the organism is to the sun in the chain, the more efficient you can get energy from the food.


All that said, we are big proponents of live and let live.  so all you meat and potatoes eaters, enjoy your food!

Fuzzy Navel

March 3rd, 2012 at 9:34 AM ^

I don't hold degrees in chemistry or biology; however, you're failing to take animal consumption of food humans cannot digest into account. For example, we cannot get any nutrition from sent corn, but this is not the case for certain animals. By consuming animals that primarily consume foods we cannot digest we actually make food production more efficient.

swan flu

March 3rd, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

Exactly.  You took ONE example.  And a poor one at that.  Im assuming you think humans cant digest corn because when you eat it, you invariably see it in your poop.  But you do, in fact, get a lot of vitamins and fiber from eating corn.


Even if your body didn't take full nutritional advantage of corn, there are tons and tons of other vegetables and grains that contain the same vitamins, proteins, carbs, and healthy fats found in corn. 


The inability to digest ONE vegetable does not make eating meat more efficient.  That is a conclusion that pop science would make.  And pop science is a bunch of mularky.

Fuzzy Navel

March 3rd, 2012 at 1:53 PM ^

I was actually referring to dent corn which, correct me if I'm wrong, cannot be properly digested by humans.

I see your point and wasn't trying to start an agrument. Rather, I was trying to posit an alternative point of view wherein there are actually certain foods humans cannot process and within that paradigm it does in fact become adventageous to have animals consume them and then have humans consume the animals.

But again, like I said I don't have degrees in biology or chemistry.


March 3rd, 2012 at 9:03 AM ^

The "epidemic of obesity" is not caused by meat it is caused by consuming too many calories and especially too many calories from carbohydrates. There is no mystery why people are fat, they consume too many calories during the course of a day and this is enhanced by the manufactured foods which never create a sense of being full as animal based proteins do. The scientific data has proven over and over again that animal protein diets lower the glycemic index, lower blood pressure, revitilize the body and create lastng heart health. See any post or any of the books from Dr Michael Eades. or read "The Vegetarian Myth."

In the entire human existence we ate meat, now, people want to change biological processes, it simply won't work. I can appreciate that people are against cruelty and the farm factories that treat animals inhumanely, I'm with them there but they should lobby to change those farming practices, not try to convince people we can thrive on a plant based diet. That goes against the entire history of man.




March 3rd, 2012 at 9:10 AM ^

I started cutting out most processed carbs (breads, pastas, chips, cookies, breakfast cereals) and some natural bad carbs (potatoes) about 18 months ago.  I replaced these carbs with fruits (mostly strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries) and vegetables found in salads.  I replaced my breakfast cereal with one that was very low in sugar and total carbohydrates and high in protien.  Whenever I started to get hungry in between meals, I would consume a ZonePerfect protien bar.  I was eating 3 meals and sometimes 1-2 snacks a day depending on whether I was hungry between my 3 meals.  I would say that I consumed meat in 2 of my 3 meals daily.  I never really worried about how much fat I was eating.  I like lots of dressing on my salads.  I did try to make sure I was consuming some healthy fats too like (almonds, walnuts, and fish oil).  I lost 50 lbs. within the first 12 months (235 down to 185) and have been between 178-188 in the 6 months since.  I still drink beer when I want to.  I still eat some fast food and sweets when I feel like it.  If you want to eat vegetarian, I think you have to make sure you get enough protein and healthy fat if you want to be feeling your best.


March 3rd, 2012 at 9:19 AM ^

Honestly I'm tired of people trying to change the world with these types of documentarys. 

Every single person on this planet is different and unique in their own ways ie people who smoke 10 packs a day and live to be 90 vs the work out freak who dies of a brain aneurysm at 50. 

The only fact here is that you must be responsible for what you eat.  You cannot eat McD's every day and expect not to suffer from it ok? Being Vegan though has huge sideaffects too which sees you having to take many supplements to keep your bodys iron/calcium etc levels in line. 

I love meat, my wife not so much and loves to eat "organic" food stuffs yet she believes its inhumane for me to go hunt Whitetail which is about as fresh and organic as you can get because we live in 2012 and we shouldnt have to hunt things to survive anymore. 

We also purchase a quarter of a cow from a local farmer every year.  I know where my meat comes from and in the case of the venison I even process it myself. 

The problem doesnt lie within our diets (its always about moderation anyways) but the perception of how our food gets on the table.  Way to many people dont think twice that just because its sold at Wally World that must mean its good it for them.


March 3rd, 2012 at 9:40 AM ^

Please be cautious of health food craze. All their health claims are not backed by science. Call me old fashion, but I like to support my arguments with data. Also suppliments are not regulated by the FDA. They don't have the purity standards of a piece of cheese. You literally don't know what you are getting in it. It doesnt even have to be what they advertise on the box. Please just be careful.

I'm sorry but that garbage makes me furious. I'm a medical student. 4 years of undergrad at u of m. Soon to be done with 4 years of med school followed by 4 more years of residency (god willing back at big blue) and people think they suddenly know what's best because they googled it. Trust your docs. We put a lot of time into learning what is best and why. Every therapy they pick with you is in your best interest and backed by data tha will help save you life. Its not well wishing, smiles, and b.s like this movie is trying to sell you.


March 3rd, 2012 at 10:11 AM ^

Yes, diet is important, yes eating too much processed foods isn't good.  But, to me the biggest problem with our health and heart disease particularly is our culture of laziness, entitlement, and the lack of patience and stress reduction.  There was a time when we took our time, weren't always on a a phone, a computer, or in front of a television, when we walked places, didn't drive crazy and cut people off to get to our destination one minute sooner.  There was a time when we understood that the work comes first and the results come later, when we were motivated to work harder to make a better life for ourselves versus enjoy the comfort that other people have provided for us.  It seems today that many of that is gone.  We have no patience.  We want everything now.  Technology has much to do with that.  The internet, smart phones, email, television, fast food, stores at every corner, etc. have given us almost instant access to anything we want immediately.  Many have enjoyed a life of comfort without every having to work for it.  This has made us incredibly complacent, entitled, and sedentary.  And that to me has the biggest influence on our health. It's human nature to try and take the path of least resistance.  That's survival....consume the most calories with the last work. What has the most calories, saturated fats & sugars.  That's what tastes great...snack food, candy, soda, fast food.  And, so many of our jobs require that we sit all day long.  We just don't move enough.  And, by the time we figure out how bad we are it's so diffucult to change a lifetime of of unhealthy habits.  IMO it's really the lack of physical activity, stress control, etc of our culture that is the biggest problem.  It's amazing how after you've been really active you have a genuine desire to eat good foods.  But, after sitting on the couch or in front of the computer or busy at work at a desk you just wanna veg out on what is tasty.  We need to postpone the instant gratification of all this stuff (food, texting, whatever) and realize the long term success & health feels much better if we can simply control ourselves long enough for it to work.  We have to get moving to get healthy, change our attitudes and approach, slow down and take our time, unplug from the media, internet, and TV, turn off our cell phones, be active for a significant portion of the day, and get a good nights sleep.  Do, that and you'll probably be better equipped to make good food choices.  Sorry for the rant.


March 3rd, 2012 at 11:35 AM ^

Not sure if you ski, but a GREAT skiing app is Alpine Replay.  It has tons of mountains and trail maps, etc. and uses GPS to track your avg sustained speeds, total distance skied, max speed, calories burned, etc.  You can even "race" friends and see how your stats stack up against other people on the same mountain as you that day or all-time.  I know, random post...you'd think I was a creator or something.  Alas, I am not that tech savvy.

Doc Brown

March 3rd, 2012 at 1:19 PM ^

I go skiing and snowboarding a lot. Thanks for that suggestion. I will have to check it out. Have you heard of the ZombieRun app? It is an app that will be released soon. It plays a zombie story over the head phones and uses your speed and distance covered as a achievements to collect tools to fight zombies.