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A Game Changer for The Game Changers

Bala Krishna Reddy
Bala Krishna Reddy
A lot of you are inspired to convert to a vegetarian/vegan after watching this latest Netflix documentary "The Game Changers". Here's a list of some statements they made along with my take on it
 

1. Gladiators are vegetarians.
Reference: https://archive.archaeology.org/0811/abstracts/gladiator.html

This is not a research but an article. There is no mention in the article that gladiators did not eat meat. It’s just that there might be large intakes of carbohydrates in their diet for their performance.
 

2. Plant eaters get enough protein and meat eaters get half of the protein from plants.
Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23988511

This is a cross sectional study which compared diets of 71,751 people. Many people who heard the above statement thought plants give more protein.

Let’s breakdown the statement

Second half of the statement: meat eaters get half of the protein from plants (of course, they got the rest half from meat, duh!). 
In this study the total protein intake of strict vegetarian was 70.7gms vs that of a non-vegetarian was 74.7gms.

First half of the statement: Plant eaters get enough protein. According to the person who wrote the script, the daily recommended protein intake is 50gms(which is too low)
 

3. Ingestion of Hass avocado could modulate the inflammatory response caused by one hamburger meal.
Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23196671

The problem with this pilot study
Subject size = 11(too low)
Measurement method: Are you comparing avocado flesh with Hamburger?? Really?
Funded by: guess who? “Hass Avocado Board”
 

4. Beet root juice can improve your bench press by 19%
Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29311764

This is not a study. This is an article looking for evidence. And they cited below study for the statement: improvement of 19% improvement in Bench Press
“Ingestion of a Nitric Oxide Enhancing Supplement Improves Resistance Exercise Performance.” Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27050244/

The problem here is there was no mention in the study that beet root group did not consume meat. It‘s a study where there was an improvement in Bench press performance by including beet root juice.
 

5. Switching to plant-based diet reduced inflammation by 29% in 3 weeks
Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25637150

Of course, vegetables and fruits are loaded with antioxidants and people who include them will see positive effects as per this study.
You will get all these benefits by including them in a non-vegetarian diet too.
 

6. Animal protein is bad for your heart health
Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24871675

This was always a hot topic and a go to statement made by some of the vegetarian diet supporters. And this is mainly pointed out because of high quantities of saturated fats.
But Saturated fats are high in red meat (not in all meats).

Here’s a meta-analysis which showed that replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats have no effect on Cardio vascular diseases.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28526025
 

7. Increased risk of death from most forms of cancer, prostate and breast colon cancer in animal protein consumers
Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24606898

They compared one group in a study to another to give you relative risk. This does not mean anything until the experiments are tested in the same group.
 

8. Vegetarian/Vegan men have more testosterone than Non-vegetarian men.
Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2400756

Multiple studies show that sex hormone-binding globulin was high in vegans, and since these globulins bind to testosterone, the total testosterone was high. 
However, the actual amount of free testosterone was equal in both non-vegetarians and vegans.
 

9. Muscle building ability is superior in Vegetarians
Reference: so many studies were displayed on screen.

Let me answer them in one go. Free testosterone is same in vegans and non-vegetarians. So as long as a calorie surplus is created, very high intake of protein given throughout the day and involved in resistance training. Both groups should see similar muscle growth. 

But this changes when just enough protein is given.
In fact Non-vegetarian protein sources are better in terms of protein quality (Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26224750) and can be more anabolic (Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28847314)
 

10. Risk of mortality and fractures by consuming milk
Reference: https://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g6015

Like really? You drink milk and you’ll fall down and have fractures. I’m not even going to break this down.