#84 The Game Changers Documentary Review - Fact vs. Fiction

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast


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"In The Game Changers Documentary there's the insinuation that decreasing total cholesterol is of benefit. That is, the lower we can get our total cholesterol, the better off we are. But there's so much research suggesting that's not actually the case; it's only when you break it down into your individual cholesterol markers. That's more what matters, like your HDL, your LDL, your triglycerides, not your total cholesterol."

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In Episode 84 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan share their views on The Game Changers Documentary and question is The Game Changers fact or fiction?

In this podcast we explore the myths and truths behind the popular documentary “The Game Changers”. We talk about all the things you’re wondering after watching the doco. Including:

  • Bias of the film, and was there an attempt to show both sides
  • The “experiments” in the film including the erection experiment and the “cloud blood” experiment. What does the science say about this?
  • Does fish and chicken cause Cancer?
  • The “healthy user bias” and how to understand the context of nutritional science experiments
  • Protein quality and quantity explained, including their peanut butter versus steak/egg reference
  • Food comparisons and misleading implications
  • Herbivores versus Humans – do we digest the same and how does this change things?
  • B12 explained and what you REALLY need to know here
  • Ethical concerns and the details not discussed
  • Environmental concerns and the miss representation of data
  • Fake meat – our health and the environmental impact
  • Chris Kresser’s and Joe Rogan longer analysis
  • Chris Kresser’s blog on the science (with research links)

Intro 0:00
Hello and welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, with your hosts Natalie K. Douglas, Thyroid Healer, and Kate Callaghan, The Holistic Nutritionist. Nat and Kate are degree-qualified dietitians and nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors. If you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers, and authentic heart-sharing, then we are your ladies! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and get ready for our latest tips on living your healthiest life possible.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:36
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode. Kate, hi!

Kate Callaghan
Hello, Nat!

Natalie K. Douglas
I’m excited because I haven’t got to record a podcast with you for a couple of weeks.

Kate Callaghan 0:47
I know. I know.

Natalie K. Douglas
It’s just like a little a little thing in our way.

Kate Callaghan
We just spoke last week didn’t we?

Natalie K. Douglas 0:58
Yeah, we did. We just we just had to catch up. That’s okay. So I feel like we need to also address again, the elephant in the room because so many people would be wondering how you’re going. So would you like to share just what’s you know, a bit of an update and what’s going on or refer people to where they can hear a more extensive update if they like?

Kate Callaghan 1:18
So mostly most of my stuff are on Instagram and Facebook until I go away. And I might switch off for a few weeks, I think it’d be wise. But I guess if we haven’t spoken for a couple of weeks, then people who only listened to the podcast might not know that a CT scan showed that my cancer had spread to my liver, which meant it was now stage four. And so when you get to stage four doctors are like, can’t really help you with much now, and they just kind offer palliative chemo and radiation for quality of life purposes. And that didn’t really suit well with me because my quality of life right now is okay. It’s not to say I want to do chemo ever but right now my plan of attack is I’m going to Mexico to an alternative healing clinic called Hope for Cancer on Sunday, this Sunday. And also taking some conventional bites, newer drugs, and approaches, drugs as in medications, it’s not like drugs, drugs.

Natalie K. Douglas
No judgments.

Kate Callaghan
Medication in combination with those alternative therapies. So really taking an integrative approach with with my treatment plan, because because I am stage four and so I need to be aggressive in a way tackling it from all angles. And for those of you who don’t know much about breast cancer and stage four, don’t Google it. I’m going to be okay, okay?

Natalie K. Douglas 2:44
Yeah, you are. We got you.

Kate Callaghan 2:48
Just don’t Google it.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:49
No, I know I made that mistake.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
It ended in tears. But yeah, I’m like fuck you, Google. I’m not reading you anymore.

Kate Callaghan 2:56
One of my friends spent three hours on Google before I got to it. Why don’t you told me not to go on Google?

Natalie K. Douglas 3:03
But you know, when you’re writing your story, don’t Google it. So many people would have been like, she said, don’t do it. So I’m gonna do it.

Kate Callaghan
I’m gonna do it.

Natalie K. Douglas
Because that’s how I felt. And I’d already googled it. And I’m like, I need to google it again. Do not need to Google anymore.

Kate Callaghan
No, you don’t.

Natalie K. Douglas
No, I really don’t. I’m looking up all the positive stories.

Kate Callaghan 3:23
So yeah, actually, for anyone who is going through cancer, any type of cancer and it’s as stage three, four, or whatever stage I would recommend the book Radical Remission by Kelly Turner. It’s awesome. And it gives so much hope for all stages of cancer. So if it’s you personally going through cancer or a family, or a family member or a friend, a loved one, get the book Radical Remission by Kelly Turner.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:52
Nice. I’ll pop it in the show notes.

Kate Callaghan
How are you?

Natalie K. Douglas
I am okay. I’ve had a rough month not as rough as you but just.

Kate Callaghan
It’s not a competition.

Natalie K. Douglas
No, no, it’s not, you would win though. Just a lot of fields, particularly around hearing of your diagnosis and being shaken by that and then wanting to help and it’s hard when I’m so far away as well because all I want to do is sit with you and hug you because really, in a lot of these circumstances, you know, there’s nothing anyone can say so to speak, to make the thing less shitty. All you can do is ask people, what they want, what they need, help in practical ways, and also just sit with them and be with them and be like, this fucking sucks and I’m here for you. But as someone who’s quite a affectionate person, and that’s a lot of the time how and I do a lot of things on how I express my love. I’ve been like I’m coming to New Zealand, but then you’re leaving.

Kate Callaghan
I’m leaving for a few weeks.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan 5:10
I’ll be back but thanks. Thank you, I’m okay.

Natalie K. Douglas 5:14
Yes, well, we are all behind you. And today like the other side to what I’ve been feeling is so frustrated with this Game Changers documentary and all the conversations that I’ve been having around it and not necessarily violent, you know, in a voluntary way. I don’t know about you, well, that I could imagine but a lot of people when I’m just in social situations now are asking my opinion, or just having discussions around the table, or claiming I’m going vegan based on that film, and I have absolutely nothing against people going vegan but I have a lot against people going vegan of a documentary that was so shitty, and so poorly scientific, and so one-sided. And that’s what I really want to talk about today because I think that if people have only watched the documentary and not, and they don’t have a background in science, or nutrition, or haven’t done any research to look at, well, what’s the other side of the argument? How much truth is there to what they’re saying? Then, of course, I go gone vegan, if I just watched the documentary and didn’t know a lot of the stuff that I know, or didn’t make an effort to look into other things. And and that’s what bothers me is, is the misinformation because it’s clearly been a documentary or we kind of call it a documentary, because, like, it’s wrong definition but it’s been a film that has impacted and reached a lot of people. And, you know, big decisions around people’s health has been made purely off that. And so I just want to make sure we bring some awareness and balance to the conversation. And then people can if they draw the same conclusion, and they still want to be vegan, then that’s fine. But I think that yeah, some balance to the argument. What do you think, Kate?

Kate Callaghan 7:13
Yeah, I think you’re right. I mean, veganism, and vegetarianism, and what they’re promoting as a gift can definitely work for some people. So we’re not here to say don’t do it, because it’s never going to work for anybody. And we’re here to, as you said, provide that other thought of a balanced view, in a rational way, I guess, and not in a propaganda way.

Natalie K. Douglas 7:37
Yeah, exactly because I agree with you, I think that you can do a plant-based diet well, for some people, I would say like, purely looking at who I see, and the clients I’ve seen. I’d say, majority, large majority of the women I treat for thyroid issues, adrenal issues, hormonal imbalances, gut issues, do better, having some animal protein and that does not equate to, you need to eat, you know, steak every day, or have eggs and bacon for breakfast at all, it just means some animal protein in there in your diet and that can make a huge difference. And we’ll talk about a little bit more about why that is as we move through. But the first basic criticism I have, or yeah, I’m going to hold a criticism because it is is that all the doctors or experts interviewed in that documentary are plant-based, or, you know, a plant based-diet proponents and have plenty of books or products, etc, amongst them to be promoting. Now, that in itself isn’t bad, because of course, if they believe in something, you’re going to write a book about it or create product products around it. What I have a problem with is the lack of a balanced argument. So not one medical expert that had a differing opinion was brought in to present their argument which for me, I feel like that’s what a documentary should be is a presentation of the science and both sides of quote-unquote an argument and then you know, the listeners or watchers or viewers being able to draw their own conclusion from that. The other thing I had a problem with straight-up was just how many shit science experiments were done and and and then people are going around being like, oh my God, did you see that you have to be a vegan if you want more bonus, and I was like, I didn’t even like I laughed when I watched it because I go off, you know, how is this a thing but then having conversations with people who aren’t necessarily in this world, I was like, oh shit, yeah, of course people are going to look at that and be shocked by and believe it. So you know, I guess one of the big like, it was just one of the biggest things that bothered me because it’s completely taking advantage of the fact that we are visual beings and we respond to shark and that most people watching don’t understand how to determine a good study from a bad one. And knowing that is, is critical. And one thing to point out is science doesn’t become science, or fact, without being able to reproduce results more than once. There also has to be a certain size and structure to the way they do studies for them to become something that is solid. And I think it’s something like 80%, 80% of science experiments can actually be reproduced, which is why people have to reproduce them. And let’s start with the example that I gave in the film that everyone seems most excited about, at least in my friendship circles, which is the erection experiment where they got three men and put penis rings on them to the effects that five penis rings, she said penis rings and.

Kate Callaghan 11:00
Well, a penis ring is also a sex toy.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, there you go. Well, maybe that’s why they got more erections.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas 11:10
Anyway, so they looked at the effects that different meals have on night time erection. So he feeds the I think they were NFL players. So he feeds the NFL players, burritos with meat in them, and then the same burritos but with plant proteins. And then he measures the strength, frequency, and duration of the erections. And he claims that the athletes had up to 500 up to 500%, more frequent erections, and also an increase in the strength of their erections. Oh my God, I have to say erection so many times. Anyway, there is so much wrong with this, A, it’s absolutely terrible science, there is no way like no way in hell, anyone with a scientific background would draw any conclusions from a study of three people with no control of any other variables performed one time, in one order, not blinded at all. Nothing noted down about how long they slept? Did they masturbate? What else did they eat that day? What was their stress rating before going to bed? Did they find the penis rings more uncomfortable? The first time they had them on while eating the meat-based burrito compared to the next night when they might have been a bit more used to it. And further to that, there is no other research to back this up. In fact, the research around is actually showing that a Mediterranean diet. I won that focus focuses quite a lot on quality and includes some animal protein decreases issues with erections. And we also know that zinc is one of the most important nutrients when it comes to male hormonal health. And like that is often low in a vegetarian or vegan diet. And if that’s not convincing enough, then there was also a recent study. It was a small study, but it was definitely better than their three people poorly designed study that found that vegan and vegetarian men had lowest sperm quality and count compared to those who included meat in their diet. And I know we don’t have a huge male listenership, you guys are mostly female but something that springs up for me is my concern around women adopting a vegan and diet and assuming that it will improve their hormonal health and fertility when we actually see the opposite in the research. And I would say I see this in clinic a fair bit too. And an example is a study that was done comparing a diet that included animal protein and a vegetarian diet, where they were looking at fertility markers between the two groups. And by the end of the study, Seven of Nine vegetarian women had stopped ovulating, there’s only one of the women who were including animal protein in their diet. And if you’ve listened to any of our previous podcasts on hormones, you will know how important ovulating is not just for fertility, but for your overall health as well. And yeah, I just think it’s it’s really important to be aware of what other research is out there. And that trial, although small, was actually a randomized control trial, which in science talk gets people excited because it’s very high quality. Kate, any further thoughts on that experiment in particular before I address the stupid cloudy blood experiment?

Kate Callaghan 14:25
Yeah, I think the thing that stood out to me with that, and it’s not science-based on what kind of bothered me was it was really targeting the male ego because if you think about, okay, how can we get men to do something? If you ask anyone straight, how can you get a man to do something it all comes back to the penis? It was a very emotive way to target, targeting men. And if you think about most of the documentaries that promoting veganism that have come out in the past, they’re very targeted at females and like herding the animals, and very graphic, and appealing to our need to nurture. Whereas game changers is a little bit different than it’s like men, you’re not gonna be able to get it up if you ate meat. And as you said, not looking at all of those other confounding factors like what what do they eat for the most part, in the months before? And that’s a big thing with with the game changers is they, the people that they do to experiments on. And so were they eating any plants before and you’ve just increased the plant material that they’re consuming and that’s going to have a positive effect on anyone, or were they already eating plant-based and now they’ve just cut out all animal products. Does that make sense?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, yeah.

Kate Callaghan
We don’t know. I have no doubt, I would have 100% agree that if you took someone who was just eating, you know, hotdogs and doughnuts, and bacon, and eggs and no veggies, and you put them on the same diet, well, similar animal protein, but good quality animal protein, so grass-fed meat, unprocessed meat products, unprocessed animal products, and as bumped up the vegetable intake, you would have some pretty significant health benefits there.

Natalie K. Douglas 16:20
Totally. And I think something that people often say to me is, oh, well, this person went vegan, and they felt so much better. And of course, you’re going to feel better in the initial period, if you’re going from eating more processed food to then including more plant-based foods and more vegetables, more fruits, more nuts, seeds, etc. Like, of course, and that’s what that is expected to happen but what I’m more interested in is what are the long-term effects after you get over that honeymoon phase, and that phase can last, you know, two different time amounts for different people. And I think that’s just something really important to to recognize. The next thing I wanted to talk about is the cloudy blood experiment, which yeah, I just, I felt this was really actually embarrassingly unscientific like to the point where I felt like it discredited the film. It was the one where the urologist feeds the NFL players, a meat-based burrito, and then a plant-based burrito and then looks at their blood. Firstly, it was again, not peer-reviewed, not a validated study at all, no controls, no accounting for any other variables nada. Secondly, he makes a claim that cloudy blood in a test tube means you have impaired blood vessel, blood vessel function, or endothelial function, basically, which again, has nothing to back it up like no, nothing, no science to back that up. And something completely normal is that when you ate a meal higher in fat, those fats will travel in your bloodstream to get to where they need to get. This is absolutely normal. And there’s, you know, there are no well-done studies linking a higher fat diet to poor endothelial function. In fact, I have read research on the opposite by low fat diet having a negative impact on endothelial function. It’s, you know, as dumb as a dentist saying, you’ve got a dirty mouth with food bits in it and drawing the conclusion that eating food is bad for you because it makes your mouth look unclean. It’s part of the process of food going through your system. And Chris Kresser actually made a great point on these two. He mentioned that when they’ve done studies looking at the lifespan of vegetarians or vegans, and people who are health-conscious, but include animal protein, there was no difference in terms of their lifespan, and logically speaking, if there was a difference, one would assume that we would see an increase in heart attacks and therefore poor endothelial function because they kind of go together. One is a mechanism of the other in the people who included animal proteins in their diet, but we don’t. And I think more realistically, the research shows when that when it comes to poor endothelial function or blood vessel function to kind of make it more easy to understand. High blood sugar is more of a concern than insulin resistance. And further to that, we know that low carb diets, which are often higher in fat and animal protein, actually reduce insulin resistance, not to say you need to follow that approach. It’s just to make the point that, you know, the experiment they did was completely unscientific, has no evidence to back it up, and was done in a way to again shock the audience and convince people who don’t understand how science experiments work, or how they have to be run, or you know, what your what is normal for your blood to look like? And then they just say, oh my god cloudy blood, and you know, I’m gonna die. I can’t have blood that looks like that. Any thoughts to add on that one, Kate? I need some Frankincense.

Kate Callaghan 20:21
Yeah, I mean, just on that topic of heart attacks. I know they said, there’s a quote that they used in there, as they said 67% of firefighters die of a heart attack. And then later on, they said heart attacks are a food-driven disease insinuating that eating animal products is the main driver of heart disease. And that’s that’s not true. The main driver of heart disease is stress.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
So, no, you’re wrong. And there’s also that insinuation that decreasing cholesterol is of benefit. So with the lower we can get our cholesterol, the better off we are. And there’s so much research suggesting that that’s not actually the case. I mean, I got my blood test results back last week, and I think they changed the markers again because I had a total cholesterol of 4.1. And that was marked as high. No, no, and it was when you break it down into your actual cholesterol markers. That’s more what matters, like your HDL, your LDL, your triglycerides, not your total cholesterol. But we’ve got to remember that we actually need cholesterol for healthy hormone function, we need cholesterol for healthy brain function, immune system for our cellular integrity. So to demonize cholesterol is, I think, a massive wrongdoing on their part.

Natalie K. Douglas 21:42
Yeah, totally. They’ve just cherry-picked what they need to confirm their bias, and they’re not really thought about backing it up properly. Anyway, so the next thing that bothered me was the way they made another claim about, they said cancer has been linked to other animal foods as well, research funded by the National Cancer Institute found that vegetarians who had one or more servings per week of white meat, like chicken or fish, more than tripled their risk of colon cancer. And the study he is referring to in that in that statement was one done back in the 70s. Looking at Seventh Day Adventists, which, in case no one is aware, this group is quite health-focused, and they are supposed to be, you know, vegetarian, they’re supposed to do a number of things, including not drinking alcohol, not smoking, not consuming caffeine, or illegal drugs, they supposed to exercise regularly, and they have quite a focus on, you know, community and connections. So one could assume that if they’re going against one of their rules, I mean they are eating animal-based proteins in this study, that perhaps some of the other things are being loosened up on, or not followed strictly and since this wasn’t actually controlled for, how can they say that it’s 100%, the meat that is the culprit and not the fact that they might be smoking, drinking, not exercising enough, feeling some guilt or shame around doing something that is, you know, against their religion, or their their beliefs or what they should be doing. And like, you just can’t and to further support this in, I think that was 2017, there was a big meta-analysis, which is like a study or summary of all of the different studies, basically. And it was performed on cancer risk in people who consumed chicken and fish, and it found no increased risk. And that included 2.4 million people. So I just, you know, compared to one study in the 70s, that was poorly designed, so again, poor-quality research, making, you know, huge sweeping claims and ignoring anything that is contrary to what’s convenient to present in the documentary. And I think this happens throughout the whole, like whole film, I think the other thing that is comes up again, which always comes up is that they, you know, the evidence that they presented against meat or animal products in the film is, you know, has no attention to quality. And I think that’s for good reason, because most people you asked, even with no scientific background or degree in nutrition, would assume that there is a difference in health between a sausage roll and a grass-fed steak, right?

Kate Callaghan
Stop it. Stop it.

Natalie K. Douglas
I know. I’m sorry to break it to you. So it’s true. But that’s not you know, that’s not how research has been performed for the most part. And there’s, you know, that whole healthy user bias concept. Kate, do you want to explain briefly what a healthy like what I mean by healthy user bias? I think we’ve mentioned it before but anyway.

Kate Callaghan 25:03
I don’t think we have, you can.

Natalie K. Douglas
Okay. So it’s basically.

Kate Callaghan
I just had a brain fog moment, alright?

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, that’s alright. That’s you, we will forgive you, you’ve had a big month. So basically, it’s when you know, if someone is, for example, following a vegetarian diet, one would assume that if they’re going to their effort to do that, they’re most likely going to be doing other things that are supportive of their health, if they have some interest in it. So they’re probably more likely to be exercising more, probably more likely not to be smoking or drinking excessively. And so you know, when you’re comparing that with people who eat animal protein, and we’re lumping the people who ate animal protein in there, based on like, no distinction between quality at all, you’re going to have a difference there. Because you know, meat and animal protein, and all that kind of stuff has been very much demonized for the last, I don’t know, 15 years or so. So anyone who is health-conscious generally may be less likely to eat, like to eat it. And so it’s just it comes back to yes, what we call the healthy user bias, but you can look it up and read more more examples of what that looks like because I want to make sure we move on because there’s more things to break down for you. The next one for me that came up was this protein quality confusion and the comparisons that that were done. So I think at the beginning of the film, it was they made the comparison or statement that quote-unquote, a peanut butter sandwich has about as much protein as three ounces of beef or three large eggs. So for those listening, that’s three ounces is about 85 grams, which is small, and for, for there to be like to get as much protein from a peanut butter sandwich just in terms of quantity, not speaking about quality, you’d have to have two slices of bread with a third of a cup of peanut butter or five tablespoons on that sandwich. And for those of you yeah, that’s, that’s a lot, I mean, you’d have to be going through a breakup or something like that to put a third of a cup of peanut butter on a sandwich. And for those of you into calories, that’s about so for a steak, that would be about 140 to 150 calories for that amount of steak versus 500 or so calories for the peanut butter sandwich. And I laughed at this comparison that Chris Kresser made about these being similar to claiming that you can get the same amount of calcium by eating 33 cups of baby spinach as you can from drinking a cup of milk. And again, it’s not to say like, you shouldn’t, you should have milk and not baby spinach, but it’s just like looking at it’s not just about.

Kate Callaghan
It’s not a one for one.

Natalie K. Douglas
No, it’s not. It’s so frustrating anyway, so they really don’t, or they also really don’t address accurately the protein quality. So for context, the quality of protein is determined by two things. One is the amino acid profile. So amino acids are what make up proteins and then the bioavailability, which is like how much can we actually access the protein that we are consuming. The way they now measure this is using a rating system called the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score, or the DIAAS, and basically the higher the number, the better quality the protein. So an example is eggs have a score 1.13, beef is 1.1, and peanut butter is 0.46. So more than half the quality that that number is like like compared to to beef or eggs. And I think oats are a similar score to peanut butter as well. Does that mean we shouldn’t eat oats and peanut butter? No, but it points out that it’s not just about the quantity of grams of protein in a given food but what we can access, and they made other dumb and misleading comparisons or statements like lettuce has more antioxidants than eggs or salmon, which is true. I know.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
Right. Fine. True. No, I’m saying don’t eat lettuce but how does that make like eggs and salmon bad. You’re choosing, you’re cherry-picking one component of a food. We know we eat a variety of foods so we can get a variety of nutrients. And you could equally come back and say that you can get your entire requirements of zinc met for the week by eating six oysters compared to I don’t know or something else. And I just think there’s, I mean, there is more to this protein-quality story that gets more complex. And if you want to read more about that or listen more about that. Chris Kresser and Joe Rogan did a very long but very amazing podcast on this and Chris goes into more detail around it. So go and have a listen there because I still have more things I want to get through. Kate, any thoughts on that, in particular?

Kate Callaghan 30:31
in regards to the protein, I agree 100% with you, but also backtracking to the cancer because I know some people have asked me about this, since my post on Instagram yesterday saying that I’m following a ketogenic mostly plant-based reduced animal meat diet, and they’re like, why? Have you been getting changes? Yes, that’s what I base my evidence on.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, you’re not alone.

Kate Callaghan 31:02
So, I want to clarify why I am eating a ketogenic diet, but also lower in animal foods, but not necessarily cutting them out. And I also want to emphasize, people, I have cancer. So this is not your awesome diet for everyone. This is what I’m doing. I wouldn’t be following this diet if I didn’t have cancer, because far out, I miss my carb.

Natalie K. Douglas
Because, you love carbs. I know.

Kate Callaghan
Oh, so good.

Natalie K. Douglas
I think I’ve been um, just like sympathy eating them for you to make out for.

Kate Callaghan 31:36
That’s why, like, can you just send me some suggestions to all my friends, all my friends, all my friends on Instagram, you’re all my friends. Um, okay, so there’s a couple of reasons. So obviously, abundance of plants is what I want to get in for antioxidants, polyphenols, fiber, all the things that are going to help support my body, decrease oxidative stress, decrease inflammation in my body, we know that an abundance of plant matter, of all different colors is hugely beneficial for decreasing oxidative stress and helping the body to function and getting rid of helping with detoxification, it helps with elimination with all the fiber. The lower animal protein one of the reasons is because of something called mTOR, which is a mechanistic target of rapamycin. So it’s, it’s an enzyme that regulates cell growth. And it can encourage tumor growth if you’ve got cancer of some sort. It can. It can but, and so meat consumption can increase mTOR a little bit but it to a certain degree is also mitigated by the fact that I’m eating some semi-plant materials. Does that make sense?

Natalie K. Douglas 32:54
Yeah, it does. And I think again like context is key.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
Which is what you’ve just pointed out, which is what is completely ignored most of the time can be.

Kate Callaghan 33:03
Yeah, and then and then as well, with any protein, any meat. So this is also something in Game Changers that they said that meat is not a source of glucose for the brain. Okay, so you don’t understand.

Natalie K. Douglas
Basic physiology.

Kate Callaghan
Gluconeogenesis, glycogenolysis, so what can happen when we have an excess of protein? So yes, it gets broken down into amino acids, they get reincorporated into proteins in our body if we have excess protein that can actually be made into glucose by a process of called gluconeogenesis.

Natalie K. Douglas 33:39
And very well documented, non-processed.

Kate Callaghan 33:43
Very well. So for me, I want to decrease that because I want to decrease any insulin will not any any insulin, but excess insulin being released, any source of glucose for the cancer. I essentially want to starve the cancer for me right now.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
But comes to the game changers they’re like, you can’t get glucose from me. It’s like oh, you can.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, I know. Didn’t even know what to say to that. I was like, wait, what? Like, do you have a textbook on physiology because I’m pretty sure it’s in every single one I’ve ever read.

Kate Callaghan 34:16
I mean, there were other really dumb statements as well at the start, there was, have you ever seen an ox eating meat?

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, that was so dumb.

Kate Callaghan
And my my response, have you ever seen what an ox’s digestive system looks like?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, it’s just so bloody actually, to that point.

Kate Callaghan 34:32
A gorilla will flux you up in two minutes.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
What does a gorilla eat? Go and have a look at the gorilla’s digestive system.

Natalie K. Douglas
I know.

Kate Callaghan
And understand the different physiology and Anatomy of both the ox and the gorilla to humans.

Natalie K. Douglas 34:46
Yes, I, so agree. And that was the next thing I wanted to address because, like there’s so many, as you said, so many comparisons to other animals that are herbivores and saying or like things like and I quote, as you said, this whole fantasy that we need to need meat to get our protein. It’s actually bullshit. I mean, look at a gorilla, a gorilla will fuck you up in two seconds. What does a gorilla eat? I just do the same things as these big gray things out here that we’re trying to protect elephants and Rhino. I have a problem with this for two reasons. One, they’re morally trying to equate inhumane elephant slaughter for their task to eating any form of animal protein.

Kate Callaghan
I know. I know. When I saw the rhinos, and like, where are they going with this?

Natalie K. Douglas
I know. Oh, yeah, let’s just like pop this in for a good effect. Anyway, and secondly, as you mentioned, gorillas have different digestive systems to us. The largest part of their digestive tract is the is their large intestine, which is ideal for breaking down plant food. Whereas our largest part is your small intestine, which is more geared towards digesting more nutrient-dense omnivores food. And secondly, gorillas have to eat for over half their waking hours to get enough food. And I mean, some days that might sound like fun, but can you imagine eating for over half your waking hours every single day, like that what else would you be able to get done? Not at all. Unless you were like a food critic, then maybe that would work out for you.

Kate Callaghan 36:12
I would love to do that right now.

Natalie K. Douglas 36:21
Yeah. You’ll be restricted over there aren’t you? The next one was the B12 information that I thought was really, completely incomplete. So I want to address this for a few reasons. So with B12 basically, there’s just this argument that comes up over and over and over. And honestly, I think it’s just people in echo chambers, like hearing someone say, and then repeating it. So let’s understand B12. You cannot, I repeat, cannot get B12 from plant-based sources, nor can you get it nor did we ever get it from eating soil. Yes, it is true that bacteria are the smart little guys that create B12, but it happens in their gut not in our gut. So the process roughly is B12 is made by bacteria that the animals consume, and then it enters the animals gut and because ruminants are poor gut fermenters, which may, which just means that their fermentation happened before actual digestion in the stomach. And this is what actually allows the ruminants to absorb the B12, which is which still comes in as an unusable form from the grass, which is known as cobalt. And then it gets converted by gut bacteria into B12 that they can, like absorb. And we don’t have the same digestive setup, and therefore can’t get it from anything other than eating animal protein and there is zero evidence to suggest otherwise, I know because I went looking for it. So it’s really important that if you are vegan, and perhaps a vegetarian, depending on your diet and what you know what’s going on for you that you do, in fact, take B12 supplements because you could go out and cut the grass with your teeth and hook up the green juice drip to your arm, and you’ll still be B12 deficient and it’s not something that will happen straight away. And if you become B12, like deficient, the effects are irreversible. And that’s a huge concern. You can’t just be like, whoops, B12 deficient, let’s just reverse that. No, like, once effects happen you can’t reverse it. Kate, anything else on that because I know it coming up to when you need to jump off?

Kate Callaghan 38:36
That was a bit of a mic drop moment. You summed that up very well. Very well. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 38:43
I, well, I think we can pause there. And I might.

Kate Callaghan 38:52
But there’s one more, there’s one more thing. To the credit at the end. They did say one thing and the whole hour and a half was like yeah, okay, that makes sense. And they just didn’t extrapolate to the rest of it. So they said a plant food predominant diet. That’s what studies show to be the most beneficial diet, plant food predominant then mostly plants. And this, I would agree with. So if we, if we look at our plate, most of it should be plants. And then we add in a little bit of good quality protein. And I really want to emphasize good quality because we’re you know, we’re talking about how animal foods are not the health concerns that the Game Changers have made them out to be but we do need to emphasize that we’re talking about good quality meat, we’re not talking about your hot dogs, your hamburgers, your really highly processed bacon, and sausages all the time. We’re talking grass-fed organic, so it doesn’t have those hormones in it, wild-caught fish, high quality raised appropriately and humanely because you can’t get health from a sick animal.

Natalie K. Douglas
Hmm, exactly. And I think, um, I do want to address the ethical and environmental side of things, which I might do after that I totally agree with that. I think no one’s saying that we shouldn’t eat a plant-based as in that forms the majority of our of our diet and of our plate but I just think that yeah, I’m very concerned about people thinking that the only way to be healthy, to be ethical, to be environmentally friendly, is to avoid all animal protein. I just, I can’t see the evidence in that. And I have I have tried to be as you know, objective in it as possible. And looking at everything, both sides of the argument and their side just doesn’t hold up on a number of fronts. So I might actually go into the ethical and environmental thing just after you pop off Kate, so we can, I can round out the conversation. Okay, so Kate had to run off but I didn’t want to leave without addressing some of the ethical and environmental concerns and also the fake meat that was talked about in the film as well because it’s two things I’m really passionate about. So the ethical argument is something that I continue to feel myself as, you know, a deeply spiritual person who love animals, and just wants to do my best, you know, buy the planet and everything that inhabits it. And honestly, I wish it was as simple as don’t eat animal, any animal protein, and no death occurs, but it’s just not. And I want to say that I absolutely do not for a minute support factory farming or inhumanely raised animals. And I think we should all be continuing to band together to vote with our dollar and get this out, you know, for both ethical reasons and environmental reasons. However, when it comes to eating a plant-based diet, death still occurs to animals and to biodiversity and to the planet at large. I’m not going to pretend I am an expert in environmental science, just like you guys, I had to do my own research and then listen to and looked at both sides of the argument and into the actual research. And I’m going to give my thoughts in a nutshell because Chris Kresser does a much more in-depth dive on this on his podcast, and quite frankly, I’m getting tired of this, but monocropping kills more life total than cattle farming. And that is life loss from things like mouse or rodents, rabbits, and you know, smaller animals, insects, etc. And who are we to say that one life matters more than the other based on size? Is it better to consume less of a larger animal that has been humanely raised and is very nutrient-dense or is it better to kill lots of smaller animals that don’t? The fact is, you can’t sustainably consume food period without some impact. It’s the circle of life and so we need to continue looking for the best solution possible. I think it comes back to regenerative farming, eating nutrient-dense foods so we can get what we need from less, taking only what we need, consciously and gratefully, being an advocate for animals and our planet, continuing to look at how we restore and regenerate soil, which we know needs animals to help us and stop just trying to attach on to the solution that requires the least discomfort and complexity, complexity and the least change for us in multiple areas of our life. I think regenerative farming actually has a net positive impact on gas emissions as it actually sequestered or traps carbon back into the soil and not in the air. And what’s frustrating is that in the film when they quote about the greenhouse gas emissions from cattle versus transport, they aren’t comparing apples with apples again, the figure they give for cattle is 14.5%. And it’s looking at the whole complete full cycle of what it takes to produce cattle. So the carbon needed for the transport of the cattle, their feed for processing the cattle, not just the gas produced from cattle themselves in the form of methane gas, for example. And then they compare these two transportation emissions and say it’s the same but when they do this, they aren’t using the same method for transport emissions, they are only taking into account the actual emissions from transport I, what is coming out the pipe home, basically, so to speak, and not the whole story or the full cycle, which would include emissions in manufacturing the vehicles, making the fuel, distributing the fuel, and then the final actual use of the fuel. And if we actually do an apples with apples comparison, it works out to be 5% for cattle and 14% for transport and goes back to the devil being in the detail. And it’s frustrating, because how much easier is it to just take things at face value and offer a simple solution that we like, and, you know, ignore basically, all of the stuff that we’ve really screwed up and, you know, ignore the fact that stuff needs to change globally across the board in how we do so many things. And I just think there is common ground here, we all want to save the planet, be healthy, and look after animals, but it’s not going to be solved by not eating animals. Another common argument is that we could use land where cattle are for crops, but most of the land that we use for livestock actually is not conducive to growing crops. It’s conducive to grazing. And cattle that are farmed on pastures don’t displace natural vegetation or kill wildlife. In fact, they do the opposite, the opposite, they stimulate growth and regeneration of the soil, as I mentioned before, and I think it’s really important that if you’re interested in this argument, understanding that more because again, I am not an expert in this, I’ve just read up on it from both points of view but Joel Salatin is a really good person to look up and look into around this. I think he’s done a TED Talk, and he definitely has information out there. The next thing I wanted to talk about is that there’s a claim made in the film, and on so many vegan blogs that it takes 2400 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef, which is like a bit over 9000 liters. This isn’t true in the way they are presenting it again. So 94% of the water used to produce beef even when not being farmed using regenerative farming, which is what I support but let’s just, okay, let’s just go with it for a moment. So 94% is green water, which is basically rainfall. Then the remaining 6% is what we call greywater, which is water from the surface or blue water, which is groundwater sources. The percent is even less when looking at grass-fed animals, which is only 3% from grey and blue water. And this equates to 280 gallons or just over 1000 liters of blue water per pound. Which as Chris Kresser pointed out in his analysis is less than the amount required to produce a pound of almonds, avocados, rice, or sugar, yet no documentaries are being made trying to get everyone to eat less avocados. So again, like details matter. Knowing the context, the whole story is so important and this is why watching documentaries on health is fine but not taking the information at face value and actually looking into well what what are their sources and what’s the balance to this conversation. Now the final thing that I want to address as you can tell I could go on forever but I’m just trying to hit some of the main points that I know you guys care about is just this fake meat situation. So I think that these plant-based burgers that they advocate for. So I think they mentioned beyond burger or show beyond burger are impossible burger and I have so many concerns around this. Firstly, from a health perspective, the main ingredient in impossible burger is genetically modified soy, vegetable oils, and natural flavors, and there is a little bit of coconut oil in there. And in the beyond meat burger, it has canola oil, refined coconut oil, and pea protein concentrate. And secondly, in impossible burger they have this ingredient in there called soy leghemoglobin or SLH, which is basically a protein additive that is supposed to taste, look, and be colored like meat. And it’s, it’s what we call a bioengineered protein product, basically. So it doesn’t even meet the FDA and America’s generally recognized as safe status, because it’s not even a bloody food or a food ingredient and that’s not and when they looked at it, they actually found 46, or up to 46 unexpected additional proteins, that they have no idea about the safety around. Could they be fine? Yes, perhaps maybe, but do we know? No. And I think that it’s just concerning that these are being promoted. And there is this claim that plant-based meat is the way of the future from an environmental standpoint. And it’s also completely misinformed, misinformed, and misrepresented in the film. So there was actually a third party full cycle analysis done by a company called Quantas International, not the airplanes, a different one. And it was done on both a regenerative cattle farm and done for impossible foods burger. And they found that the regenerative farm actually sequestered carbon not emitted it when looking at the full cycle, which means it’s good for the environment versus impossible burger lifecycle analysis, which performed more poorly than the former one. Now, it did perform better than feedlot beef, but not better than regenerative farming and doesn’t take into the consideration how much carbon is emitted from making GMO soy, which is one of the main ingredients. So, again, details matter. And I think it’s just really important to continue coming back to the fact that there’s always more to know and to look into than just getting your information from a documentary. And I get that it like, I do think that as we mentioned earlier, when Kate was here, that it is really important that for most people, plant-based as in plants forming, the majority of your diet is the way to go and is healthy but I also think, as small amounts of animal protein is, is important and is good for your health. And again, that is not to say that you cannot be healthy on a vegan or vegetarian diet. And there’s plenty of people that are, but there’s also plenty of people that aren’t. And that’s my concern is people just pushing through this, even though it isn’t good for their health, it isn’t necessarily better for the environment, and it isn’t necessarily more ethical but you know, vegan, veganism and being a vegetarian is sexy these days, it’s and I think there’s also this need for us to feel like we belong and attached to somewhere and we search for, you know, I guess even diet to make us feel like we have a sense of identity and belonging and I think that there’s there’s danger in that in so many levels. So I really hope that you have gotten something out of today’s podcast, we didn’t cover every bit of the documentary, because it was impossible to do so because there was just so much in it and so much to address. For example, we didn’t cover the athlete side of things, but not many of you were looking at becoming high-level athletes, which is why I chose to leave that part out, I tried to focus on the things that I feel like matter to you the most or would be coming up in conversation. If you do want to hear a more in-depth analysis and one that does go into the athletic side of things in relation to yeah, being a vegan athlete and all that sort of stuff. There’s so much wrong with how they presented that in the film as well. And so many details missed out but I’m not going into that, Chris Kresser and Joe Rogan do on their podcast on the Joe Rogan Experience. I will pop a link to that in the show notes. Please, please share this podcast with your friends and your family, not because I think everyone needs to think the way that I do or draw the same conclusions but I feel like too many people are being misinformed and confused by what was essentially just good filmmaking, not good science representation. So I will leave it there and I look forward to any follow-up questions you guys have. Have a beautiful day.

Outro 14:52
Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, just submit them to [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friend. And if you’re looking for more info about how we can accelerate your journey to your optimal health, you can find me, Nat, over at NatalieKDouglas.com, and Kate, at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time!


The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast - with Natalie K. Douglas and Kate Callaghan

Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast!

If a professional, polished, well-edited podcast is what you’re after…then we’re not for you!

But if you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers and authentic heart sharing then we are your ladies.

We also have the most practical tips on holistic and alternative health care too 😉

Have a question that you want answered on the podcast or want to be interviewed? Get in touch!


Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas ("Nat") is a Holistic Dietitian and Nutritionist dedicated to Thyroid, gut and hormone healing.

Nat shows stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed women how to value their worth again, change their mindset habits, prioritize healing, and reclaim their vitality. Guaranteed.

Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.

She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.

She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.


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