Friday, May 13, 2011
Forks Over Knives
"You are what you eat" can be taken literally in America. Over 40%
Americans are obese. The medical spending is skyrocketing. Getting an
open heart surgery is no longer an earth shaking event for the person
under a knife. The poor diet and health of the American public have
reached to a level of crisis, all because Americans eat too much fatty
fast food and they like to drive in circles in a parking lot hoping to
find a closer spot to the front door.
These are the main issues (except the part of driving in a parking lot part) that are addressed in director Lee Fulkerson's unconvincing documentary "Forks Over Knives" (USA 2010 | 90 min.). However, they are not the film's focus. The film's true intention is to persuade the viewers to become a vegan, which is believed to be the solution to American's health problems.
The film's two main voices are Professor T. Colin Campbell in nutritional biochemistry and physician Caldwell Esselstyn. Both of them advocate plant based whole food diet, which excludes meant and dairy products. Based on interviews with their patients and chosen few experts, they claim that the plant based diet not only can reduce your risk of heart attack, diabetes, and cancer, the diet can actually reverse the damage from these life threatening diseases. Sometimes the evidences are quite amusing, such as the Nazis reduced the Norwegian's death from heart attack because they take away Norwegian's meat during the invasion in World War II.
No one can dispute that fact that vegetarian diet has great benefits to human health, just like regular exercise. However, in order to claim that vegetarian diet can actually reverse the cancer growth and repair damaged arteries, it requires real scientific data and a sound statistical analysis by somebody with a Ph.D. in statistics, like me.
Unfortunately, when the film only shows the exhilarated patients whose health dramatically improved by the vegan diet, it only makes the film looks like a pro-longed infomercial—it doesn't matter if you have cancer or diabetes or heart attack, just quit eating meat, then you will be fine and the trouble will all go away. Wouldn't that be wonderful if it were true?
As pointed out by the film, seeking pleasure is human instinct, including satisfied by eating hearty foods. Many people seek that instant gratification even they understand that it might jeopardize their health and shorten their life span. What is shown in this film is not enough for them to give up the pleasure in food in order to live longer and healthier.
If you are craving for tender, juicy, glazed pork spareribs with garlic and basil right now, I think you still want those ribs after watching this film, even the film shows plenty gruesome looking meat products and skips the mouth watering pictures of the ribs you are looking for.