If you grew up in the U.S. then you know we are a little obsessed with meat. Backyard barbecues that feature multiple cuts of meat are a staple of the American summer. Multimedia advertisements tempt us with meat-heavy menu options that seem like otherworldly, carnal pleasures. Studies have even shown that on average, both American men and women consume nearly double the amount of the daily recommended intake of protein, with most of it coming from animal sources. Unfortunately, a diet heavy in meat can have adverse effects on our health, which is exactly what What the Health, a new documentary by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, the producers of Cowspiracy, and executive producer Joaquin Phoenix, seeks to explore.
While Cowspiracy explored the connection between industrial animal agriculture and environmental destruction, What the Health explores the connection between the effects that high meat consumption, and how the pharmaceutical industry profits from our poor health. The film also features segments with several doctors and health experts such as Michael Gregor, Neal Barnard, and Kim A. Williams, all of whom advocate for a plant-based diet for optimal health.
Is meat consumption really that bad for us? A recent study funded by the Intramural Research Program in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that eating meat may increase one’s risk of dying from nine different diseases: cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, and liver disease. In terms of our understanding of the link between meat and our health, this evidence is not really anything new. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that eating red meat increases one’s risk of cancer. Heart disease, the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, has also been linked to a diet high in animal protein by health experts.
Although experts have been talking about the connection between heavy meat consumption and poor health for decades, What the Health’s widespread distribution through Netflix can help get this message to a whole new audience.
You can catch it on the streaming service starting today. Watch the trailer below to get a sneak peek:
Lead image source: What the Health