Documentaries

This Harrowing Documentary Might Change the Way You Eat for Good

"What the Health" exposes the malfeasance of pharmaceutical companies and agribusinesses.

Photo Credit: A.U.M. Films and Media

Have you ever wondered how America's leading health organizations influence food and drug policy? Then What the Health, the latest from the groundbreaking team behind Cowspiracy, is the documentary for you. 

According to filmmaker Kip Andersen, "Audiences will be shocked to learn the insidious roles played by pharmaceutical companies, agribusiness, and processed animal food companies in the nation’s health, especially in the most vulnerable communities, and will cheer at the transformation and recovery of those who took their lives into their own hands."

What the Health features critical care physician Milton Mills, public health lawyer Michele Simon, associate professor of medicine Neal Barnard, and nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, along with two-dozen other experts in medical practice and policy. The film examines topics such as the astounding cost of diabetes, good food myths and why the majority of deaths in America are lifestyle-related. 

Take, for instance, when the World Health Organization classified processed meats as carcinogenic in October 2015. 

"I had no idea that what we ate affected cancer rates," Andersen said, astonished. 

He didn't feel like he'd eaten a lot of processed meats until he realized they include hot dogs, bacon, sausage, salami, ham, pepperoni, cold cuts and deli slices.

"Basically everything I grew up eating," he said.

But while the WHO classifies processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen (the same as cigarettes and plutonium) and red meat as a Group 2 carcinogen, the American Cancer Society actually encourages eating these foods on its website. 

"Many of these studies have been around 50 years," Andersen noted. 

What the Health is now streaming on Vimeo. 

Watch an exclusive clip from What the Health

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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