“Forks Over Knives” (affiliate link) presents the case for a whole food, plant-based diet in a convincing and clear manner. Not only does it exhaustively explore the health issues related to the Western diet that has a heavy meat component, but it also explores the relationship between government regulators and the industry they are supposed to regulate and between meat and the destruction of the environment.
The largest part of the movie is devoted to pointing out dietary facts, including the countries that drink the most milk also have the highest number of cases of osteoporosis – the exact thing that milk is supposed to counteract. Countries that have a high intake of meat also have a high incidence of heart disease and cancer. These are all supported by studies done in populations in China and Norway as well as those done in lab animals in the United States.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), an advocate for farmers, is in charge of the dietary recommendations for the United States. The people who work there see no conflict of interest in working for farmers, for the food industry and the regulating of those industries. Common sense would say that the USDA would recommend whatever is best for the financial interests of farmers and in the interest of the businesses that they consult for. The response is that everyone wants to have the best scientists, so there isn’t any conflict of interest – don’t you want the best scientists consulting with these firms?
Raising meat takes about ten times more fossil fuel energy per calorie than raising plants. Not only does it cost that much in terms of fossil fuels, it also takes enough grain to feed 8.7 billion people on the planet.
Even though “Forks Over Knives” raises the concerns about the poor and those who do not have time to make meals, it does not address how people can make the shift from a cheap, meat-based diet to a more expensive, more time-consuming plant based diet. (This article was originally posted at examiner.com.)