— TONIC (@dailytonic) August 22, 2017
Sometimes, it’s good to not trust the health claims certain food documentaries make.
Turns out that claims in Netflix’s trendy film What The Health are mostly grounded on invalid research. An investigative report by Tonic reveals that the health claims the movie makes nearly all stem from bad science.
The reason why the claims are invalid is their basis on epidemiological research. This questionnaire-style research generates hypotheses that scientists later research with valid scientific methods. Epidemiological research can only prove association, not causation, so while it indicates possibilities, it’s not an affirmative truth.
Furthermore, clinical trial studies utilized to justify claims did not study enough subjects. Generally, you want large samples for these experiments to best find conclusions. Most of the studies What The Health uses only have one or two test subjects, meaning their evidence is scientifically inconclusive.
Through these and other understandings, Tonic found that 96% of the film’s data could not validly support health claims made in the film. Thus, you should take everything that the film throws at you with a massive grain of salt.
Curiously, a recent documentary named Food Evolution took a stance against films like What The Health that broadcast unfounded claims in hopes of spreading fear. Understanding what true science really consists of is important for all of us in this day and age. It’s especially important when fear-mongering stories convert faulty evidence into acceptable “alternative facts.” While Food Evolution is a great film to watch to understand scientific basis, Netflix conspicuously refuses to bring the documentary onto their platform.
Regardless, in the future, I’d recommend avoiding fear-inspiring films like What The Health altogether. They’re just spreading false science.