Latest Diet Fad Or Beneficial Lifestyle Change?!
The latest craze on Netflix, I am sure you have either watched it or heard about someone who has! The Game Changers is a documentary looking at the benefits of a ‘plant based’ diet or is it?
This documentary is definitely not the first of its kind, but one thing’s for sure they really know their target market, after all there are only a few things men love more than meat. But is what this documentary promoting really the best diet for all of us?
It focuses mainly on athletes and in my view is slightly more targeted at men. The term ‘plant based’ is the terminology used throughout the film however the majority of people interviewed and the general tone of the documentary is a diet completely free from animal products and it is this that the viewer walks away implementing.
Some Good Take Homes
Overall the film promotes eating more vegetables which everyone could benefit from doing. It also briefly raises awareness to inflammatory foods including red meat, poultry, dairy and processed sugars. Of course it wouldn’t be a documentary about animals in our diet without highlighting the detrimental effects on the planet from our overconsumption of meat and, if everyone cut back on meat even just a little, the environmental benefits would be felt around the world. Lastly but certainly not least the animal rights and ethical principles associated with the killing of animals for our consumption.
Now I’m not sure whether its a pro or a con but you do have to applaud them tugging at the male heart strings so to speak by including a ‘non legitimate study’ on the effects of a plant based meal vs meat meal on erection which certainly grabbed the attention of a lot of men.
Mixed Messages & Not Enough Info
Whichever diet they are promoting and to me that wasn’t clear at all, they did not explain the complexities behind achieving a balanced diet when minimising or reducing animal products. They touched a little on that fact that plants do contain all our essential amino acids [EAA] however they did not mention that in order to get in all EAA you need to have a very well rounded diet everyday including specific groups of foods. Without this information people often end up increasing their intake of simple and processed carbohydrates which will end up leaving you depleted of nutrients.
It is a parent’s number one struggle with kids and eating… getting vegetables in! If your family struggles to get a wide variety of vegetables in, it’s probably not a nutritionally wise decision to completely restrict all animal products. Swapping out some of your animal meals and experimenting with plant based proteins is a healthier option and ensures your family is getting the nutrients they need while introducing them to a wider variety of nutrient dense foods.
The documentary focused on athletes who have very different lifestyle and nutrition demands to the everyday person. That’s not saying that the everyday person shouldn’t increase their vegetable intake, however, if a more sedentary person approaches an animal product restrictive diet without proper education as mentioned before they can end up consuming a higher amount of carbohydrates than is needed for their lifestyle. This may lead to undesirable effects on their health.
Things to Remember
There is no doubt that this documentary has had an effect on a lot of people! If the effect is that more people are eating and exploring more vegetables and plant proteins while reducing their meat consumption, I am all for it! However from what I have seen there are many people taking an extreme approach with little education. This is not sustainable, not the best way to approach food and eating and not personalized to individuals’ health considerations and needs.
If watching this documentary did inspire you to rethink the way you eat, make sure you seek professional advice tailored to your health and lifestyle needs whether it be in the form of a plant based or vegan diet. Proper education is key for understanding your health needs which leads to sustainable healthy living.
Please reach out if you have ANY questions at all about whether you think this might be right for you (or not)!
I hope you have enjoyed the read ☺️
Nichola Easton – Clinical Nutritionist
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