I had a couple of people hit me up and ask if I saw the documentary “Game Changers” and what I thought about the underlined premise that veganism can lead to better performance outcomes. I watched it over the weekend. After watching it I would hardly say that it’s a documentary. It’s more of an infomercial for a couple of filmmakers that have a vested financial industry in veganism.
James Cameron dropped $140 million into a pea protein company named Verdiant Foods.
It’s no coincidence that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a co-producer, after all he and Cameron just finished a Terminator movie together. Anyone that can talk Arnold into doing ANOTHER shitty Terminator movie obviously has the ability to talk a former Mr. Universe into a vegan lifestyle. And don’t forget, Arnold has been on several videos over the years explaining how it is impossible to get huge without eating 1 gram of protein per day for every pound you weight.
On the positive side, it’s a good looking documentary, er infomercial. On the negative side it’s full of bullshit, cherry picked facts, and outright disinformation. I’ll go through just a couple of the one that jumped out at me, someone with slightly more knowledge on the subject of nutrition and sport performance than the average person. Some things literally made me laugh out loud. Then I’ll toss out a couple of resources where people a lot smarter than me on the subject debunk almost all of the larger points of the film.
First, gladiators were almost totally plant-based “athletes”. Gladiators were not athletes, they were slaves that were put into pits and forced to fight to the death. From the time they were enslaved, the best of the best lived an average of two years. What do you think slaves, who were going to be killed, were allowed to eat . . . the best food? Hell no, they eat the gruel . . . or left-over slop that could keep them alive at the lowest cost to their masters. Gladiators did not pick what they eat. They eat what was given to them.
Second, Scott Jurek is a hell of an ultra endurance athlete. I’ve follow his career for a long time. He’s also a vegan . . . that is religious about his nutrition and very, very, very knowledgeable about how to properly do a vegan diet. He would also probably be a very, very, very, VERY good athlete if he introduced some animal protein into his life. Another thing about ultra endurance athletes and veganism, is that it’s the sport discipline that lends itself to the diet the most. When I mean “ultra” athlete, that’s actual ultra athletes, like those that run 100+ miles or run for three days straight. Just because you think running 6 miles is impossible does not mean that a person running in a half-marathon is an “ultra athlete”. Ultra athletes can get away with primarily using their oxygen and fat burning energy pathway when they are out there for two days. And let’s talk about one part of Jurek’s training and nutrition plan that is not mentioned in the film. Just before an event he increases his simple carbs and protein intake. Hmmmm, wonder why he would do that? Again, he’s a freak. I’m sure he would be a top level endurance guy if he eat McDonald’s and Wendy’s everyday. Bottomline, Jurek’s diet is super complicated and he adheres to it. That’s why he is successful. Let me see that average person try to pull of his diet for just one week . . . tell me how many of the other things in your life get done.
Oh, the studies cited in the “doc” . . . oh, the studies. For the people out there not well-read on the subject of nutrition will probably watch it and say, “holy shit . . . I didn’t know that”. That’s because almost all of the “facts” they cite are cherry picked from a study, or the entire study is nothing more than an outlier from the majority of science on the subject. For example, animal protein and cancer for the thousandth time DOES NOT CAUSE CANCER. There has been a study here and there that have come to the conclusion that it does but, huge epidemiological studies, over huge periods of time, with thousands of participants, have failed to link cancer to meat when all other variables have been controlled for. When they do big studies that look at the results of all the other big studies, they come to the same conclusions. Time and time again. I know the news media loves to do this. They put out a headline that reads, “Bacon Causes Cancer”. When you read the study you will find that people that eat a shitload of bacon tend to have more cancer. Know why? Because they also tend to do a bunch of other shit that helps cause cancer . . . like drink, and smoke, and not exercise, and are over-weight, and have diabetes, and eat at on of refined sugar, and on and on. When those variables are controlled for in a study, that study finds no correlation between the two.
Next, Gorilla are strong. No shit. They also spending their entire day munching on plants, like to the tune of 30-40 pounds of it per day. Try doing that yourself. Spend 3/4 of everyday feeding yourself Let me know how it works for you. Also, gorilla’s are not strong only because of how much muscle they have. They are stronger that you and I because they have different connective tissue and muscle fascia that allow them to be that way. You know what happens to athletes that do a ton of steroids and grow huge muscles? They tear those muscles from the bone in huge numbers because our connective tissues is not strong enough to support the muscles. They are different. We are humans. They are apes.
Lastly, I laughed when they talked about plant protein being just as good as meat protein. It’s not . . . period. Where plant protein is higher in some nutrients than animal protein, animal protein in is both higher in almost all nutrients and has a larger spectrum of essential nutrients than does plant protein. Even the best plant protein is about half as efficient as the average animal protein in providing essential amino acids and nutrients. I loved the part about having a peanut butter sandwich instead of a steak. Someone do some research and then some math . . . if you wanted to get the same nutritional benefit as eating 2 ounces of steak, how much peanut butter would you have eat. It’s probably like 2 pounds of it. Enjoy that insulin spike afterwards. I’ll take the filet.
Those were just some of the things that made me laugh . . . then pissed me off as I was watching. But don’t listen to me. Listen to the smart people. Here are some of them debunking Game Changers:
Norton Layne, a nutritional scientist and elite power lifter, that has been equally critical of both the vegan and keto movements released a blog about his thoughts on the film. If you don’t think he bags on all the meat-eaters as much as he does the vegan community, check out his Twitter feed. He also did a video debunking it.
Joe Rogan had on his podcast Chris Kresser, an expert on ancestral health, Paleo nutrition, and functional and integrative medicine. Now, Rogan is a big meat guy that comes that this from a certain perspective. Kresser does not. He comes at it from science. Here is the podcast.
Those are just a few of those out there debunking it that aren’t some crazy keto, paleo or “all meat, all the time” person.
Watch doc on Netflix. It’s well done. It’s just a bunch of cherry pick crap or flat-out lies that, unfortunately, will do more harm to the stupid people that listen to it, than help.