Don't let What the Health tell you different
As a society, we're constantly learning new things about how our bodies work, as well as what we should and shouldn't consume. And that's great—knowledge is power, after all. However, there are some details in a new documentary that should be taken with an entire shaker of salt, because frankly, they're absolute bullshit. Eggs are delicious, and they're nowhere near as cigarettes—even if Hollywood vegans want you to believe otherwise. That's right: a new feature-length documentary, What the Health, claims that eating an egg is as dangerous as smoking five cigarettes.
The documentary, backed by actor Joaquin Phoenix and filmed by the same creators of 2014 documentary Cowspiracy, is currently on Netflix and is receiving a lot of backlash from anyone who believes in science, due to its shockingly sensational claims that not only demonize eggs with cherry-picked studies, but claim that one serving of processed meat daily increases the risk of diabetes by 51%. Netflix claims the documentary analyzes "the link between diet and disease, and the billions of dollars at stake in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and food industries."
Alexandra Freeman, executive director of the Winton Center for Risk and Evidence Communication at Cambridge University, told The Times that the source behind the egg-cigarette debacle is "an extremely controversial paper."
Of course, veganism can be very healthy if done the right way, and there are plenty of reasons to go vegan if you so choose—but the scientific links between some of the claims made in What the Health are rickety at best. For example, as The Times notes, one of the papers used as a source doesn't even mention eggs at all—it simply looks at cholesterol. Another analyzed egg yolk and plaque in carotid arteries, which isn't the same as life expectancy.
“While it is true that diet plays an important role in diseases including cancer and diabetes, the claims in this film vastly overstate and misrepresent the scientific understanding,” cancer researcher Alice Howarth told The Times. “What the Health overwhelms the viewer with scaremongering ‘facts’ which do not hold up to scientific investigation.”
In other words: the only way eggs are as bad as five cigarettes is if you smoke five cigarettes while eating your scramble in the morning.