Before going into the facts of this documentary, I want to state that I completely get the benefits of being vegan and plant-based. I also get that for some, the reason why they are vegan comes from a higher source than just "performance." I would also like to state that I recently battled cancer for the past 2 years so I do not like it when documentaries use blanket statements and the "C" to scare people. That is why I went into a deep dive on each point in this entertaining yet somewhat false documentary.
Carbs Build Muscle More Efficiently
It really bothers, no, confuses me that the assumption is made constantly in this film - that low carb diet means high animal protein but lets run with it. The use of this study was used to claim that normal carb consumption outperforms lower carbs. The problem is that the study did not follow plant-based diets against meat-heavy diets. It actually compared high keto diets compared to normal diets but the protein sources were not controlled. They basically manipulated the findings to make it seem that the high animal protein was worse when in fact it is the lack of carbs that caused less muscle building.
Gladiators Were Vegan
They picked a group of gladiators that geographically used plant-based diets. That is all. Overall, gladiators were not plant-based. Remember, Gladiators were as close to slaves as possible so they ate whatever was given to them. If they were located near water, the owners would feed them fish. Argument over.
Protein Limits Performance
We know over countless studies that protein does not help with endurance, but more muscle building. So if you take a protein-heavy diet and compare it to a carb-based diet, the carb diet is more effecient...at endurance. That does not mean that protein limits performance. Correlation but not fact.
Cut Out the Middle (Meat) Man - Just Eat the Plants
I love this one because it is so forced and makes no sense - I would also look at the animal comparison section to get even more insight into why this makes no sense. In business, I couldn't agree with this theory more - go direct to the consumer and save them money. Shout out to Casper, Warby Parker and all the other incredible companies that use this model.
There are countless studies showing the higher bioavailability of whey protein powder compared to Plant Protein sources. This means the body can absorb more nutrients and more amino acids for building muscle. Also, for you to get enough amino acid nutrients from plants, you would need to eat significantly more and based on history, we know plant-based dieters do not. Really what this documentary is doing is comparing apples to oranges but trying to keep things consistent with the protein source. That simply is just not the case in any of these arguments.
I completely get where this correlation comes from and smart that they did this. What it does show me is that you can still live a normal competitive life if you go vegan BUT it does not show that it is superior in the Strongman competition.
**Also it is very important that you know that the Strongman competition does not test for PEDs or Steroids so we have no idea if just switching to vegan was the reason why his body transformed.
Now, let's focus on all these athletes - are they the GOATs? Are they at least the best in their respective sports currently? No, they are all very competitive but by no means superior to their competition. This just shows once again that you can compete being vegan but it does not make you better.
We all love pre-workout right? I mean it makes you lift more and look better in the gym. This is where I was excited to learn all about the powers of Beet Root because I know we can add it to a product like FUEL. The movie claims that Beet Root will bump up your strength by 20%!!
I am in - going vegan...peace!
Oh crap, I looked into the study and it was overall repetitions, not strength...but why didn't the movie tell us that?
Well, there goes that...going back to being a carnivore.
I will be looking into how Beet Root does affect fatigue though!
So this is similar to all the other trials showing how “bad” animal protein is for you. It becomes redundant because the people telling you this information convey it as an absolute but it is more there interpretation of the facts. They use the correlation fallacy (I made this word up because they use correlation as fact when they are clearly not linked) where when things correlate, we interpret them as conjoined rather than separate facts. You are basically saying that if two things are rising at once they are connected: like spending and car accidents. If they are both going up over the years of the survey are they connected or separate facts?
With that being said, we already know that Plant-Based Dieters engage in healthier lifestyles and consume fewer calories than us carnivores. So keeping that in mind and remembering the correlation fallacy, is it red meat or calories that are the connection to inflammation. This study has never been done so we just do not know.
We also have seen in other studies that vegan cheese causes more inflammation issues for the body than REAL cheese. Why? This is because vegan cheese is heavily processed to “taste” like cheese.
Animal Protein Causes Cancer
This one bothers me when they claim that animal protein causes heart disease along with cancer. Documentaries use these scare tactics and bold statements to create conversation and I would like to get the record straight. When it comes to the link between heart issues and meat-eaters, it has nothing to do with plant vs. animal protein. It really comes down to calories and plant eaters have fewer calories on average than other diets due to low fats. This is where obesity is the issue of excess caloric intake but not the actual protein source.
Another poor correlation is that because meat can increase LDL cholesterol that it is linked to heart disease. What I never understand is that fats coming from meats and fish also increase HDL which is good for overall cholesterol. This then leads to lowered cardiovascular disease...something the movie clearly does not mention.
Then the movie uses the “C” word to scare us saying that the amino acids in meat cause cancer. Amino Acids are universal and NEEDED to build muscle. If you are saying they cause cancer, then you are also saying that plant-sourced proteins will cause that same cancer. [need to preface how untrue this is before continuing]
They claim that Leucine is the biggest issue with the inflammation that causes cancer and that simply does not make sense. You will be getting Leucine regardless of your protein source because it is needed to build and maintain muscle.
Also, exercise reduces inflammation and creates the use of Leucine for the body. That is why people who exercise have lower rates of all forms of cancer.
But what about all the studies linking red meat to cancer? I get how it makes sense but if you compare the lifestyles of plant-based dieters to meat-eaters, it is vastly different. I mean there are memes to show how vegans look at life compared to us normal meat-eaters.
Let's simplify it which a study cannot - meat eaters have more calories, eat fewer greens/veggies, partake in poorer behaviors and eat less “good stuff.” That is the main reason why plant-based diets come across as superior.
It really comes down to lifestyle > protein source.
Gorillas Are Bigger than Humans and they only eat grass
The whole point of going to a zoo is to look at majestic animals and appreciate them for all their beauty. When it comes to Gorilla’s, we all think of Harambe. When I think of Gorilla’s, I just see how massive they are and start to think about what they could bench if that was possible.
I get the easy connection that they are massive and only eat grass but that simply isn't the truth...or let's say, the whole truth. They consume a lot of protein in the wild but that is not the biggest issue with the pseudoscience presented here. When it comes to animals, we HAVE to keep in mind evolution and what makes them A-N-I-M-A-L-S. For example, a Gorilla or a Cow have special digestive tracts to use their diet and extract amino acids that humans would not be able to. Also, they forget to put into perspective that a Gorilla eats close to 50lbs of food per day.
Meat Kills our Planet
Finally, something where I feel we can agree upon here. This is the only part of the documentary that I did not feel was too far off base. The keywords here are “too far” because of the way they portray the information, it seems that meat production is the majority of the issue. The real issue is point A to B or should I say transportation, which makes up the majority of our greenhouse admissions.
In summary, being plant-based does have tremendous benefits. It is constantly proven that being plant-based leads to longer life, fewer health complications, but do not confuse that with making the assumption that animal-based diets are worse. If you eat animal protein, continue your life but at the same time, add healthy lifestyle choices in the mix. Make sure you are not overeating, put the Juul down and just be conscious of healthy lifestyle choices.