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The Game Changers Debunked – 5 Top Facts

The Game Changers Debunked – 5 Top Facts

We are asked daily to comment on The Game Changers diet and documentary that is taking over the minds and souls of Netflix viewers. As a result, we thought it would be a great idea to write an article addressing all of your questions! For those who have yet to see the film, The Game Changers is a documentary with a strong push for plant-based eating.

While there are a few accurate points discussed in the documentary, we’re going to focus this post on The Game Changers debunked- clarifying the facts from some of the clearly slanted bias and providing 5 things you need to know right now before you put yourself on an eating regimen that may not be ideal for your health and performance.

While some individuals have reported their doctors are “having all their patients go on vegan diets.” Athletes and non-athletes alike have taken to this latest and greatest plant-based diet prescription.

You’ll notice how I said “plant-based”, which was used more often in the film than the more aggressive terms “vegan” or “vegetarian.”

But nonetheless, meat, eggs, dairy, and fish are all attacked, thus sending the message that animal protein should be eliminated from our diets and that its consumption, even in moderation, will slowly kill us!

Is this really the right direction for us all? Will it reduce inflammation, improve our blood markers, and lead to both better recovery from activities? Will it help us live a longer life? Well… maybe not. While a successful vegetarian or vegan diet can be done with meticulous attention and eating an abundance of plants is outstanding, eating ONLY plants may not be the best approach for everyone. Today we bring to you The Game Changers debunked with 5 key facts that every viewer should consider upon watching.

The Game Changers Criticism

The Game Changers criticism is centered around a few things:

  1. A lack of presenting quality research (yes, they do present an fair amount of research but the quality is less than optimal).
  2. A clear bias in presenting information and research considering that there is research supporting the consumption of animal protein in moderation. (i.e. Vegetarians have a 20% higher risk of stroke than meat-eaters.[1])
  3. The implication that a one-size-fits-all approach to diet, stating that every person would benefit from the same diet, is not credible.

The argument that a diet rich in plants enhances health and performance has been well-received by experts near and far. There is no doubt that a plant-rich diet vs one full of processed foods, refined sugars, etc. will do wonders for everything from diabetes to heart disease. Plants are chocked full of good stuff like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and various beneficial phytochemicals.

There is no doubt that eating a lot of plants should be the cornerstone of the human diet. No credible nutrition expert can argue.

The million-dollar question is whether a heavy plant-based diet inclusive of some high-quality animal protein is as good, or even better than a plant-based diet for some people.

Furthermore, does a plant-based diet, where the only sources of animal protein are from high-quality (i.e. grass-fed, wild-caught, pastured, etc.) deserve to be in the same category as a highly-processed, conventionally-raised animal protein that is characteristic of the Standard American Diet.

To answer these questions, more research, with more variables, and more comparisons, is needed. While The Game Changers discusses research, much of the research presented is weak, of low samples sizes, or missing the inclusion of randomized control trials, which are the gold standard of research.

Several times in the documentary, a sample size of 1 or 3-6 people is referenced. In the scientific community, many would say it is not possible to draw any definitive conclusions from such a small sample size. Does this mean the research should be ignored? No. All research has to start somewhere but we need larger, higher-quality studies before we start drawing any definitive conclusions for large groups of people.

The Game Changers vs The Blue Zones & Mediterranean Diet

In comparing high-quality research on diet, to provide perspective, a couple of good comparisons would be to compare the idea of a plant-only diet to the Mediterranean Diet (abbreviated as MD) and the diets of the healthiest and longest-living people in the world, The Blue Zones.

The Mediterranean Diet, arguably the most studied diet in the world because of its many research-substantiated benefits includes, “fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, lean proteins from fish and poultry; good fats from olive oil; and some dairy–while consuming sweets and red meats on occasion.”[2]

The high-quality research on the Mediterranean Diet states:

  • “Adherence to a MD is inversely associated with mortality in older adults.” [3] (review study)
  • “MD decreases inflammation and improves endothelial function.”[4] (systematic review and meta-analysis)
  • “The MD has beneficial effects in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and in the management of metabolic syndrome.”[5] (randomized control trial)

So, obviously there is really powerful, high-quality, clearly-defined research that you can eat meat in moderation and be incredibly healthy. But, lets look further…

Men from Sardinia, Italy which is a "Blue Zone" area where some of the longest living people live.
Elderly men aging gracefully in Sardinia, Italy.

The Blue Zones study, which analyzed a select few areas in the world where the highest proportion of centenarians live, examined thousands and thousands of people across continents to determine what were the components of their lifestyle and diet that lead to their impressive longevity compared to the rest of the world. While some findings of the study were to be expected, such as the avoidance of overeating (AKA the 80% rule) and that a sense of community is important, there were also very surprising findings.

The most surprising? Individuals in all but one of the Blue Zones drank “alcohol moderately and regularly.  Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers.” (No, this is not a free pass to drink like a fish. The author goes further into detail on the type of alcohol and why it may be beneficial in The Blue Zones book. It is definitely worth a read!)

An interesting finding in the Blue Zones is terms of diet. The Blue Zones consists of 5 distinct areas and when they analyzed diet, they found that in four of the five areas the diet included, ” Meat—mostly pork—eaten on average only 5 times per month. Serving sizes are 3 to 4 oz, about the size of a deck of cards.”[6] Or as Kylene’s former boss referred to it: “Condi-meat”, suggesting that animal protein should be a little side-kick to a big meal of plants.

So, are there benefits to eating meat in moderation? Or, is it that having it in moderation provides little to no harm and those of us should simply feel guilt-free consuming it as long as we do it in moderation?

Would Quality of Protein Challenge The Game Changers Diet?

More time is needed to determine if the quality of the protein we consume really makes a long-term difference. What do we mean by this?

More research is necessary to examine the effect of including high-quality meat, fish, and poultry such as pastured chicken, grass-fed meats, and wild-caught fish vs farm-raised, grain-fed or conventionally-raised animal proteins into our diet. Plants and animal-protein are very much alike in terms of quality. Keep in mind the farming or sourcing of what we eat highly varies and this has a tremendous impact on the vitamin and mineral quality of these foods.

It just may be that much of the negative research on meat-eaters could be related to consuming excessive amounts of meat and/or excessive amounts of low-quality animal proteins void of nutrients. Remember, if you fill up on junk-quality food, whether that is meat or potato chips, you’re not going to have the room or even the desire to fit much of the vitamin and mineral-rich plants into your diet that are needed for balance. It is very likely that it all just needs to be balanced out- too many plants may lead to too low of protein, iron, choline, etc. from lack of meat consumption and too much meat may lead to lack of antioxidant and phytonutrient consumption.

Our lead dietitian spent years working in healthcare where her most sick patients were 100% plant-based (vegan). These were well-educated individuals who were NOT living on fries and Oreos. The fatigue, gray-colored skin, decline in athletic performance, inability to efficiently gain lean mass, skyrocket in autoimmune conditions, bowel obstructions and hospitalizations were impossible to ignore. Yet, at the same token, she always told us you can’t take a sample size of 200 and apply it to the rest of the world.

Genetics, quality of food, environment, health of the gut, and training demands all play a MAJOR role. One size should NEVER, EVER fit all when it comes to nutrition.

Lets provide a couple examples of how quality differs in animal-sourced products:

  • A study on farm vs wild-caught salmon in Denmark found the vitamin D3 of wild-caught salmon ranged from ~9.4-18.5 µg/100 g while the D3 of farm-raised salmon ranged from~2.9-9.5 µg/100 g.[7]
  • Pasture-raised cows produce dairy with higher calcium, lower cholesterol, higher conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), unsaturated fatty acids, and higher β-Carotene (the precursor to Vitamin A). Check out on The Best Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powders to read more about why grass-fed sourcing of meat, dairy, or protein powders really matters.

So, as we dive into the Game Changers documentary where James Wilks, a former MMA fighter and combative trainer who is the narrator/main character, let’s keep an open mind both to his explanation and that there are arguments against some of his claims. Is he a hero, a rebel, or just some guy talking about his personal journey and tremendous athletic success since switching from a meat-filled diet to veganism? Is The Game Changers documentary correct in all that it hypes? Is meat truly dangerous? Let’s dig into the facts…

What is The Game Changers Diet?

So, first things first, what exactly is The Game Changers Diet?

In the late 20th century, we sucked the fat out of everything and pumped it with sugar and chemicals. Fast forward 30 years, ketogenic and animal-protein-heavy paleo diets are booming. ironically, at the same time as plant-based diets. These plant-based diets, such as those discussed in The Game Changers, encourages a diet inclusive of:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes (peas, beans, lentils)
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • Seeds (chia, flax, sunflower)
  • Grains
  • Dairy alternatives (coconut, cashew, soy, almond, rice, oat)
  • Vegetable oils (olive, avocado, coconut, canola, soybean,) 
  • Soy

And the complete elimination of:

  • Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, butter)
  • Meat (beef, pork, lamb, wild game)
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck)
  • Eggs

The Game Changers debunked any skepticism that eating plants may have the ability to improve health and performance. However, what is it being compared to?

Plant based athlete eating salad after working out.

It is widely accepted that consuming a diet high in refined sugar from soda and candy is not ideal for optimizing health and that consuming a diet rich in plant-based sources like fruits, vegetables, and legumes is advantageous for health. In fact, the CDC recently reported that only 1 in 10 adults get the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables each day and that 7 of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States are from chronic diseases.[8]

Is it possible that many see tremendous health benefits from committing to a plant-based diet simply be due to removing so many processed foods and sugars?

The risk for illnesses like heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes can be reduced by consuming a diet rich in nutrients and fiber that we find in plants. The literature has also demonstrated significant health benefits for reducing the intake of red meat, particularly processed meat. However, these benefits may likely be the result of adding plants to the diet, rather than from eliminating meat altogether.

As discussed previously, if you fill up on a half-pound hamburger, you aren’t likely to have much space for salad or a side of delicious sauteed Brussels sprouts (be sure to try the Brussels sprouts at Collision Bend or Stone Mad Pub if you’re ever in Cleveland. They’re unreal!).

So, keeping mind that, to date, there is little to no substantial evidence linking health implications with a diet that has a small amount of high-quality meat alongside many plants. 

The producers claim to have a case against this, but much of the research used to demonize meat was full of bias, poorly done, or simply misinterpreted and appeared misleading. Worse than that? Some of the “research” that flashed across the screen was, in fact, a magazine article.

The Game Changers Fact Check – 5 Crucial Facts 

The Game Changers criticism is so strong because filmmakers only presented one side of the facts and repeatedly referenced small, cherry-picked studies before going on to make grand extrapolations. Unfortunately, a lot of this documentary is pseudoscience, or “fake news” if you will.

Alright, so, here is The Game Changes debunked, 5 crucial facts you need to know:

1. Yes, Plants are Carbs, but Not All Carbs are Plants

Throughout the film, the filmmakers refer to plants as carbohydrates and carbohydrates as plants. Let’s consider this for a minute. Yes, your broccoli is actually a carbohydrate, but is your vegan cookie a plant? No sir. 

Also, carbohydrate amounts vary greatly among plants. Starchy plants like peas, potato, and squash have higher amounts of carbohydrates, but non-starchy plants are basically carb-less in terms of usable energy. For example, 1 cup of steamed cauliflower is equivalent to about 6 grams of carbs, but your cup of mashed potatoes is pushin’ upwards of 60 grams. Exhibit A of why plants and carbohydrates should not be used interchangeably since many people do not understand what a carbohydrate is and how these macronutrient breakdowns diverge. 

You may be wondering why this is problematic… Simultaneously using “carbohydrates” to describe plants may result in consuming less than ideal carb sources, which may drive insulin resistance and hormonal imbalance in susceptible individuals. On the other end of the spectrum, the synonymous use of plants and carbohydrates may affect a large majority of our readers today, that being athletes.

Athletes watching this documentary may feel inspired to adopt a “plant-based” diet to help performance, yet end up severely under-consuming usable carbohydrates that are needed for optimal performance and recovery. Think about it, your back-to-back double training days do not stand a chance when fueled by mounds of spaghetti squash and berries. Carbs have different roles when it comes to health vs. sport and using high-fiber, low carbohydrate-containing plants too frequently is a recipe for under fueling, poor performance, and less than ideal recovery.

2. A Vegan Diet Lowers Cholesterol

Throughout the documentary, there are anecdotal reports of vegans and vegetarians who have experienced significant biomarker improvements.

For example, a group of firefighters came on screen, many of which reported having elevated cholesterol. The group was brought in, lectured about the evils of meat and sent on their way to embark on a week of veganism. The firefighters waltz in a week later to report how amazing they feel AND drastically improved cholesterol readings. This narration paints the picture that a diet free of meat and full of plants improves cholesterol, but we haven’t considered the other lifestyle variables at play! What were they eating before they went vegan?

Was it McDonalds and Cheetos?

Maybe they increased their fruit and vegetable intake from 0 servings per day to 5-6! There would be no surprise they feel better!

They would likely have felt better and seen improvements in their labs moving from a diet full of garbage to a primarily plant-based diet with some high-quality animal protein also. But, they didn’t do any comparisons (pescetarian, Mediterannean Diet, etc.) and a different message was sent- eating plants and ONLY plants it the only way to achieve such results.

This is not substantial proof that meat, especially of high-quality in moderation, is bad. Confounding factors are consistently unacknowledged like this throughout the film, making our Game Changers debunking case strong.

Lastly, while leaning more towards a vegan diet can improve cholesterol, what about all of the other biomarkers such as insulin, blood sugar, and body composition (your lean mass to body fat ratio)? While certain markers often shift in the right direction, many others do not. We MUST take the entire human into effect!

3. Meat Increases Inflammation and Plants Improve Performance

“Inflammation is BAD!” Yes, people, inflammation in excess is bad, and most people have wayyyyyy too much and often are in a state of chronic inflammation. However, some level of inflammation is necessary for training adaptation and healing. Without inflammation, the body will not properly signal for muscle repair and synthesis, a process absolutely critical for substantial performance gains. The burrito experiment was one of many misconstrued efforts to paint the “meat causes inflammation” picture.   

The Burrito Experiment: 

During the documentary, cardiologist Dr. Robert Vogel is shown giving a blood test to athletes after they’ve eaten either meat-filled or plant-based burritos. The test tube of blood showed a “clearer” serum in the plant-based burrito compared to the “cloudy” meat-eaters serum. Wilks reports that, “seeing what a single meal could do to an athlete’s blood sealed the deal.” 

Test tubes of platelet rich plasma showing the difference between plasma taken between subject in The Game Changers Documentary after eating a plant-based meal or a meat-based meal.

There was no discussion about why the serum may have been cloudier.

Let’s take a quick trip back to nutritional biochemistry101 to remind us that fat is cloudy in appearance. Do we think the black beans or beef contained more fat? You got it, the beef! Which would make sense why the test tube was more opaque in color. It is well established that dietary fat does not directly impact the cellular mechanisms in the negative way that Dr. Vogel claimed. 

Again, there are other variables to consider. Did these athletes fast when they did the study? What was the macronutrient breakdown of their previous meals? We have no idea…and these are all variables that would have impacted the blood test results. These pictures falsely represent that meat causes inflammation and impairs endothelial function and vasodilation, yet viewers would hardly begin to recognize this misguidance. Also, plain and simple, we can’t just look at the appearance of test tubes and act as though this is legitimate research. (Although, what a powerful visual for the viewer!!)

So, as a simple reminder, we will recite that the VERY high-quality study (systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 trials and 2300 subjects) on the MD showed reduced inflammation and improved endothelial function including, increased flow-mediated dilation(AKA increased blood flow in our arteries artery through the release of nitric oxide by endothelial cells) and adiponectin, with decreased c-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and intracellular adhesion molecule-1, which are all related to inflammation.

Long story short, the MD helps reduce inflammation, improve endothelial function, and improve vasodilation as does a plant-based diet. The MD includes the consumption of meat in moderation. Conclusion- The Game Changers debunked. There is more than one way to climb a mountain.

Avocado vs Beef 

Next on deck is the presentation of a small pilot study comparing intakes of beef with and without the addition of avocado.

A group of 11 subjects were randomly assigned to eat a burger (not grass-fed) with or without avocado on top. The study reported significant vasoconstriction when subjects at their hamburger without that were negated when eating with Hass avocado; thus demonstrating that avocado can improve blood flow.[9]

Interesting…but markers of inflammation including tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha and interleukin (IL)-6 were also measured, both of which reported no difference one, two, three, or five hours after the meal. We encourage you to take a look at the graphs in the study. There is literally little to no difference between the two in most of the biomarkers and actually no difference at all at the 5 hour mark. At four hours there was a slightly higher IL-6 concentration in the burger without the avocado, but this small finding was extrapolated to “reduce inflammation by 70%.”

This generalization is laughable when considering the extremely complex process of inflammation and the many intermediates involved. Not to mention, this study was funded by the Hass Avocado brand, receiving zero scrutinies for this clear bias. Ask any research, if you want you want to cherry-pick a few small data points to try to make a point you can, but no one will accept it since everyone in the scientific community knows that’s not an accurate representation of what is really going on. A sample size of 11 subjects and one random outlying data point is apparently what they’re going to broadcast to millions of people however.

Beetroot Juice and Bench Press

Don’t get me wrong, we are team beetroot juice All. The. Way.

This natural ergogenic aid is one of our top recommended pre-workout supplements and we both regularly consume and recommend Beet It Sport Shots as our top beetroot supplement to improve performance. Known to support blood flow and oxygen uptake for enhanced stamina, beetroot is an outstanding supplement for endurance athletes or anyone who needs to try and increase their stamina such as a basketball or soccer player.

However, the Game Changers made an outrageous claim that beetroot juice improves bench press strength by 19% and reduces inflammation by 29%. Any trained athlete or performance expert would turn their head at this statistic, knowing full well the unlikeliness of this impact. Can you imagine your 200 lb bench press going up to 238 lbs or your 300 lb bench press going up to 376 lbs. all in a day by simply consuming a supplement?

Then looking at the actual study that was cited, you’ll find that the researchers reported an increase in the endurance of high reps sets, not an increase in the overall amount of weight lifted.[10] Endurance and strength are not the same. We know beet juice is strongly supported by science to improve stamina in training but claiming that a single ingestion of this nutrient improved raw strength by this amount is again, extremely misleading. 

4. Protein is Protein, Regardless of the Source

At FWDfuel we are all for a clean plant-based protein powder for variety or when we suspect a patient is dealing with food sensitivities or unable to tolerate dairy. We regularly recommend and consume the Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant Based Protein Powder with BCAAs. However, the overarching message that protein is protein regardless of source is not entirely accurate.

The reason for this is because animal protein, unlike plant protein, contains all essential amino acids.

While it is 100% possible to meet protein dietary reference intakes (DRIs) and all essential amino acids by combining a variety of plant foods, it requires extreme attention to the diet due to the variability in bioavailability, absorption, and variability of essential amino acids.

For example, lentils are low in cysteine and methionine, pea protein is low in methionine, and most plants are low in leucine…A.K.A the mother of all branched-chain acids directly used by the muscle. So put 100 grams of lentils next to your 100 grams of beef, you’re looking at a difference of about 12 grams protein and less of the essential amino acids methionine and cysteine. Research has demonstrated that protein DRIs may be inadequate for vegetarians if low amounts of animal protein are consumed. Just take a look at the infographic below which shows you would have to consume 100g of hemp protein, 55g of soy protein, and 47g of pea protein to obtain the adequate amount of leucine and amino acids which are all achieved with consuming just 25g of whey protein. [11], [12]

Infographic comparing the amino acid content of plant protein vs animal protein.

Keeping the desired macronutrient breakdown can also be a challenge for those needing higher protein (up to 2.2 grams/kg of body weight). To meet these protein needs, one would need to consume a much greater quantity of carbohydrates, which might not align with their body composition or performance goals. Does this apply to every person? No. But neither does a vegan diet…

5. Comparing to a Gold Standard- Plants Only vs The Blue Zones & The Mediterranean Diet

To make definitive statements or claims, in addition to performing substantial research in large numbers with numerous variables, a comparison to the currently accepted highest standard is necessary. So, in this case, comparing a plant-only diet to other diets that have been heavily researched and substantiated by research is warranted.

The Blue Zones

So, once again, enter in the Bue Zones and MD. The Blue Zone locations include Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California. All of the people in the Blue Zones consume a diet rich in plant sources like beans, lentils, fruit, and veggies. In fact, these foods are the cornerstone of their diets, but small 3-4 oz servings of high-quality meat is eaten on average 5 times per month is also a staple in all of the Blue Zones except for Loma Linda, California which is plant-based.[13]

The Mediterranean diet

Though we already mentioned it several times and could write an entire post reviewing published data on MD, there is no doubt it deserves considerable mention when debunking The Game Changers, The MD which includes weekly intake of fish, poultry and limited intake of red meat is notably the healthiest and most studied diet in the world. It has been proven to increase longevity, reduce heart disease, and improve overall health.[14] Once again, there may be more than one road to very healthy living.

The Game Changers Scientific Review: A Few Key Concepts to Keep in Mind 

The Game Changer’s scientific review was well-received by many viewers because the makers flashed screens full of research articles throughout the duration of the film. Research is research, right? Not necessarily…

The Game Changers are Working on Flawed Data

Viewers of the documentary are most likely untrained to gather, appraise, and evaluate the research presented, Many don’t understand the limitations of nutrition research, which makes all the difference in convincing viewers of your claims.  

Discussion Articles Also do not Replace Scientific Research

Wilks opens up the documentary sharing his discovery of a study on the Roman gladiators who did not eat meat. In total Game Changers fashion, this “study” is flashed across the screen as the first of many warnings that your days of meat-eating are gone. Except wait…it’s, not a research study! A narrative published from the Archaeological Institute of America tells a story about how the Roman Gladiators ate a vegetarian diet full of grains, beans, and other plants.[15]

However, when looking at the underlying study by Lösch et al is suggestive of a mixed diet where “gladiators probably migrated from another geographical region or consumed different foods.” Thus, they were likely not eating plants exclusively, rather their diets were exceptionally high in these sources.[16] 

Cross-sectionals are not the Gold-standard of Scientific Research 

As we have mentioned, nutrition is so challenging to study due to the many confounding factors that impact health outcomes. For example, studies showing, “meat is associated with morbidity, all-cause mortality, high cholesterol, and heart disease” is often derived from cross-sectional studies, where people are basically asked to fill out a survey that reports the number of days per week that meat is consumed. I mean, can you quickly recall what you ate for breakfast two days ago?

From data such as this, the relationship between meat intake and disease risk/health outcomes in a particular setting is then measured. What’s often neglected is the type of meat eaten and what else accompanies the meat. Whether these individuals are eating fast food cold cuts or grass-fed bison and broccoli, there is an enormous difference between the two, yet these behaviors are lumped together as meat consumption.  

Anecdotes do not Replace Scientific Research!

Anecdotal reports from vegan athletes paints the picture that raw strength and power and a chiseled physique is merely a result of diet. Again, no discussion about other variables like stress, hydration, substance use, sleep, genetics, and emotional wellbeing are mentioned. Diet plays a huge part in the equation, but it is not the entire equation despite this fallacy painted by The Game Changers.

For example, Conor McGregor eats steak and Nate Diaz doesn’t, so that’s obviously why Conor was defeated by Diaz… This is the message that is sent. But how about the fact that there was zero discussion about their backgrounds, training regimens, body composition, recent illnesses the list goes on… Could it be that the two fighters’ skill sets were highly polarized and that McGregor was fighting a losing battle against the Brazzilian jiu jitsu master from the beginning? Could his immune system have been run down leading him to be fatigued? Who knows?

Next, an NFL team goes from eating a Standard American Diet to a beautiful whole foods diet that just happens to be plant-based. How do we know that a high-quality whole foods diet with some wild-caught salmon, pastured chicken, and grass-fed lamb would not have had a similar impact? We don’t. 

Pseudoscience

Science does not discriminate between studies, so when certain data are left out of the critique, we have pseudoscience!

It doesn’t take an astronaut to understand that one published study does not prove causation between two variables. Heck, we are half a decade and dozens of studies in looking at data on high vs low carb diets, and the jury is still out! Too many studies continue to conflict each other.

Point being that science is uncertain, and we still find limitations in the highest quality research that challenge the researcher’s conclusions. All types of research, regardless of the outcomes must be scrutinised by experts to objectively draw conclusions over time. Overall, the Game Changers scientific review is very misleading, because the data comes from small studies of lower quality journals and is unrepresentative of all available data on eating animal products. 

Bias 

Would the president of the United States appoint a Supreme Court Judice with opposing views? Sure, if he intended to get nothing accomplished…The same applies to filmmakers of The Game Changers that only reported studies aligning with their plant-based agenda. Not to mention, director James Cameron has noteworthy investments in the pea-protein industry, for what it’s worth…

The Bottomline on The Game Changers Debunked…

Hopefully, we have enlightened you to better understand the importance of critically analyzing health claims and research. Its important to always be skeptical of research or any claims which appear as one-size-fits-all OR one-aboslute-truth and everything else is wrong.

By understanding how and why The Game Changers was debunked, you have the power to consider whether following a vegan or vegetarian diet is practical for YOU. At the end of the day, we have to look at the big picture when going vegan. When one does not have the time, attention, and finances needed to follow the diet correctly, the results are not good. Maybe cholesterol improves as a result of more fruits and vegetables, but what about body composition? What about micronutrient deficiencies? Maybe you drop 10 pounds in 2 weeks from being in a calorie deficit, but where has your stamina, speed, strength, and power gone? 

We see these outcomes too frequently. Instead of homemade meals that are balanced and made of whole foods, people end up living off salads and french fries, or rely on genetically modified, processed imitation meat like the Impossible Burger, which are some of the top causes of inflammation. Becoming under-fueled or malnourished from inconsistent supplementation or consuming a diet full of processed vegan products may not be worth the stress. 

At the end of the day, a lot can be achieved by eating high-quality meat, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, and limited starch and sugar. We LOVE eating plants and encourage everyone to make them the cornerstone of their diet along with completely eliminating processed foods and added sugar.

Could some people benefit from a plant-only diet? Sure. Is it the end-all, be-all diet that everyone should be on? Nope. Is it the only diet that will provide you with slow aging and a long life? No. Is it the only diet that will allow you to achieve your full athletic potential? Definitely not.

We believe it is imperative to shed light on the very biased propaganda used to mimic scientific research in this film and highlight the importance of looking at scientific research with a critical eye. Nutrition is not and never will be black and white in the way The Game Changers claims.  We all have different blood types, varying degrees of stress and gut integrity, DNA, activity levels, and so on. Diet should be individualized to you and there will never be one diet that fills all.

And when someone tries to tell you otherwise, please run for the hills!

References:

  1. https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l4897
  2. https://www.themediterraneandish.com/7-ways-follow-mediterranean-diet/
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236689144_Association_Between_Dietary_Quality_and_Mortality_in_Older_Adults_A_Review_of_the_Epidemiological_Evidence
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0939475314001094
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31817731
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6125071/pdf/10.1177_1559827616637066.pdf
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566758/#B18-nutrients-11-00982
  8. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html
  9. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/FO/C2FO30226H#!divAbstract
  10. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2016/12000/Ingestion_of_a_Nitric_Oxide_Enhancing_Supplement.30.aspx 
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0899900710003059?via%3Dihub
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6245118/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6125071/ 
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19720479
  15. https://archive.archaeology.org/0811/abstracts/gladiator.html
  16. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0110489&type=printable

About The Author

Abby Vichill

Abby is a functionally trained Registered Dietitian. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Dayton and completed her Master of Science in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University, where she is an adjunct instructor. Abby has been an athlete her entire life, but never truly discovered her potential until she dialed in her nutrition from a whole-foods approach. As a high school athlete and into her college career often experienced fatigue, discomfort, and nagging injuries that held her back from excelling despite trying to eat properly. Throughout her functional nutrition education and competitive involvement in the sport of Crossfit, Abby began a more holistic lifestyle, which has significantly improved her performance and overall well-being. Abby enjoys sharing her knowledge of functional sports nutrition to help improve the lives of active individuals.

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