Shawn Baker’s Review On Vegan Propaganda Film Game Changers

Below is Shawn Baker’s review of the plant-based and vegan promoting documentary that is popular on Netflix. Notes below with more information on the references he makes.

Points that Shawn Baker makes in the review interpreted by myself:

  • They begin the film with a clear conflict of interest. James Cameron who produced the film is an investor in a plant-based protein company. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is James Cameron’s good friend is also in the film and an executive producer.
  • The film asserts that Gladiators were fed high-quality diets so audiences could be entertained better.

    Gladiators were fed mostly vegetarian diets. Grains. They were slaves that were fed poor people’s food or food for livestock. It also fattened them up so they had the protection of a layer of fat.
  • They show Conor and Nate Diaz. Describing Nate as a vegetarian. He actually eats eggs and fish and goes raw vegan before a fight. They show Conor talking about him being a meat-eater, insinuating that’s why he lost. Conor was and is one of the top fighters in the world. He also won the next fight with Diaz so using Conor as a “meat” eater and losing a fight is at best a very weak point to make.
  • Scott Jurek has been a vegan ultramarathon runner since 1997 and previously had the world record for the Appalachian trail run. Karel Sabbe smashed Scott’s record by 4-5 days and eats bacon and eggs.
  • They mention Tom Brady as a vegetarian. Tom Brady, in fact, eats more protein in fish and eggs than most Americans and also other sources of meat although he tries to limit it.
  • Carl Lewis, Olympian, and former world record holder for the 100M sprint went vegan. This was towards the end of his career though. After becoming a vegan his performance dropped in many other events he was dominant in and he eventually lost dominance in the 100M sprint. Basically, he has 1 good year as a vegan.
  • Dotsie Bausch, built up a great 14-year career using her regular diet. She went vegan 3 years prior to her silver medal win in 2012 then retired afterward.
  • The doctor in the film says you can get as many amino acids from plants. While true, the ratios are not ideal. You don’t get much leucine, lysine and you have to eat a lot of plants to get the amount you need.
  • On a vegan diet, you’re also missing many nutrients that we need or thrive off of (creatine, vitamin B12, zinc, iron etc..)
  • Kendrick Farris was an Olympic weightlifter that went vegan in 2014 and was previously a meat-eater. In 2016, he totaled a competition weight of 357 kilos as a middle heavyweight and ranked 11th in the competition. in 2008, before he was vegan, he totaled 362 kilos and ranked 8th, in a lower weight class. [source]
  • Morgan Mitchell is a top Australian sprinter. She went vegan in 2014, was a great sprinter in the 400 and did well into 2018. She seems to have lost some speed and as of 2019 is focused on the 800m run.
  • Bryant Jennings, a boxer who went vegan in 2015, when his boxing record started to decline.
  • The penis experiment. This experiment was obviously for cinematic effect as he even says its not an actual scientific “study”. Seriously, people pop pills for sexual function or dysfunction, it’s a billion-dollar industry. But, the film insinuates that eating a bean burrito or a burrito with some meat is the real game-changer.
    • In the past, Kelloggs, the cereal company promoted not eating meat due to aggressiveness and men being too sexual… What’s next?
  • A study in the film mentions, “Hass avocado modulates postprandial vascular reactivity and postprandial inflammatory responses to a hamburger meal in healthy volunteers”. The study was funded by the Haas Avacado board and only had 11 participants.
  • The documentary mentions a small study that shows beet juice improving strength 19 percent, much more than the impact steroids typically have. 😃
  • Most studies mentioned in the film were taken from epidemiological studies where tracking food habits and lifestyles are difficult. Despite this, most of the studies were still taken out of context and used for a dramatic effect in the form of a sound bite. Other articles talk about the studies much more than me or Shawn Baker’s video.
  • They basically cherry-pick facts and data. If you actually look at the studies they reference, some are not even studies or the conclusion is actually the opposite of what they conclude.
  • Anthropology – They make claims that we didn’t evolve to be meat-eaters despite science. Gut and physical adaptations, our link to hunting and meat-eating. Our teeth and evolution from primates and other links point to the oppositive of the film’s “facts”.
  • Dr. Mark Thomas claims the brain can only use glucose. This is scientifically untrue as the brain can use ketones which it prefers in many cases due to less oxidative stress.
  • They say B12 is found in dirt. So people were eating much more dirt back in the day so they didn’t need to eat meat. 🤔 I hope most realize that this is not the ideal way to get B12.
  • The film cites an Oxford that showed vegans had higher testosterone. When looking at the actual study, it shows vegans with lower “free testosterone” and higher levels of estrogen. They misrepresent and cherry-pick study after study in this film.
  • The film shows football players who eat vegan in the film. All of which are retired, injured, are have seen major drops in performance.
  • The film shows doctors who have taken millions from the food industry like David Katz.
  • On the environment. Shawn Baker mentions how they use misguided facts and statistics in their pitch to say that meat is causing major issues in the environment. There’s probably some truth to this although it can and has been well argued by people on both sides.
  • The film ends with Patrik Baboumian breaking a record for the heaviest yolk carry. Baker mentions that those in the Arnold Classic were carrying much heavier weights. Baker mentions how he thinks Baboumian could be on steroids although there isn’t any documented record of this. Either way, Baboumian’s diet of processed food, supplements and powders may be the way he maintains his strength.

Other Reviews of the Film

These are other reviews on the film that include a deeper dive into some of the data points mentioned.

My Thoughts on The Film

The vegan diet can potentially help improve some people’s health especially in those who are used to eating a standard American junk diet like fried chicken, hot dog, pizza and burgers. Most people don’t get the nutrients they should or overeat on a consistent basis. So if this film helps convert those people to eating healthier, then it’s a net positive to those people.

The problem I have is the cherry-picking of real scientific studies and the dramatic effect of non-scientific anecdotes aimed to mislead people who are less informed or don’t have the interest or time to research the facts themselves.

I understand that it’s a documentary so they will have their own agenda and goal they want to accomplish by the end of the film. I am OK with that. But this film, although well produced, definitely crosses over the propaganda line due to the sheer quantity of potentially misleading information.

Is the vegan argument so weak that they can’t make a film that presents research or data in an honest way and let people determine what path is the best for their needs? If anybody has a good example of a vegan documentary that does this, please let me know.

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