By Hannah Thompson-Weeman
It’s the start of a new year, which means many people are trying to turn over a new leaf when it comes to health and fitness. Unfortunately, activist groups have resolved to spread more and more misinformation about meat’s role in a healthy, balanced diet, which may lead to some fitness enthusiasts wondering if going vegan is the only way to reach their goals.
After decades of pushing a simple “go vegan because we shouldn’t eat animals” message, animal rights activist groups realized it wasn’t working out for them. Over the past several years, they have adopted different tactics, such as focusing on the environmental impact of meat consumption or its impact on human health. By attacking meat, dairy, poultry and eggs from all angles, activist groups hope to make consumers second-guess putting them on their plates.
The latest activist-driven attempt to scare consumers into going plant-based is a “documentary” called “The Game Changers” which is now available to view on Netflix. The film is about athletes who gave gone vegan and urges everyone to do the same in order to be healthy. In addition to the film having HSUS-affiliated executive producers, pretty much all of the so-called “experts” that appear in the film are affiliated with vegan companies and clearly have something to gain from promoting veganism.
While the nutrition community has widely criticized the film for its shoddy science (such as an experiment on meat consumption and penis function) and exaggerated claims, it is very well-produced and hits the right notes of emotion and inspiration (not surprising given James Cameron’s involvement as director). Many consumers may choose to check it out as colder weather sends us to our couches looking for something to watch, leaving people more confused than ever about whether they should be eating meat.
It’s on all of us to take the time – especially this season of the year – to reassure our consumers and communities about the nutritional value of meat. A few great resources to refer to are hhttp://www.MeatPoultryNutrition.org and AnimalAgAlliance.org/Issues/Nutrition. I also highly recommend following science-based dietitians on social media such as @LeahMcGrathRD, @NRodriguezRDN, @RustNutrition and @AmyMyrdalMiller (to name just a few). Let’s all make a New Year’s resolution to remind people that meat matters!
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