CrossFit | David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

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ByCrossFit April 30, 2020

The Game Changers is a popular 2018 documentary that touts the health and fitness benefits of plant-based eating. On Dec. 15, 2019, experts from an array of medical and scientific fields gathered at CrossFit Headquarters to address the claims the film makes about nutrition and health. Here, David Diamond, who holds a doctorate in biology and has more than 40 years of experience as a neuroscientist, addresses the film’s evolutionary argument about vegetarianism and corrects its false assertions about cholesterol and heart disease.

First, Diamond refutes the argument that “we have no specialized genetic anatomical physiological adaptations which enable us to consume meat.” Scientists in the film claim our teeth are designed to crush vegetables and are ineffective at tearing through animal hides and meat. Diamond points out that we lack the chambered stomachs that are common in most herbivores, but more importantly, he argues, “We have this specialized organ. It’s our brain, and … it gives us cunning, it gives us weapons, and it gives us fire. … We have a brain that is an adaptation that enables us to eat meat.”

Second, Diamond addresses the suggestion that one should follow a vegan diet to lower their cholesterol and combat heart disease. He reviews several studies “that are really quite inconvenient” to proponents of lowering cholesterol by any means, including restrictive diets or statins. These studies demonstrate that for those in their 60s and 70s, “having high cholesterol  …  they have a normal rate of death from heart disease, and they have a significantly lower rate of death from infectious disease and cancer.” This is because “cholesterol is a part of our immune system,” Diamond explains.

“There is no link directly of cholesterol to heart disease,” Diamond claims. Instead, there is a preponderance of evidence demonstrating heart disease risk is related to coagulation: “What you find consistently is the subset of individuals that have heart disease are those that have more clotting factors,” he explains.

He argues a low-carbohydrate diet is the key to combating the adverse effects associated with clotting factors. “What there is a need to do is to reduce blood sugar,” he says. “And that reduction in blood sugar improves all of the risk factors.”

Exercise is a second way to improve the risk factors, he claims: “Older people who exercise do not have this increase in clotting factors.”

To read a complete transcript of the presentation, click here.


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Comments on David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

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Charles Allen
May 2nd, 2020 at 6:50 pm
Commented on: David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

First, I'm a proponent of the Paleo / Zone diet and meat. Let's put this into perspective please. Has anyone looked around at our population? Fuck the Covid 19 pandemic, we have a much more serious issue with an obsbesity epidemic. Are we really concerned that people are gonna watch the Game Changers and say, "well hell, I'm gonna become a vegan!"? That is the last thing i'm concerned about. But if a documentary comes out that inspires more people to eat more plant based foods, and workout hard, then that's a massive win? What else do you want? Otherwise most people have a hard time just cutting out soda, chips, candy, etc. There are much bigger battles to fight, than a single sided argument based on consuming a plant based diet for crying out loud. Plant-based diet or the standard American Diet (SAD)? I am so tired of listening to blow hard nerds making an argument against this documentary. Get a fucking life and move on for Christ sake. As I write this post, I see at least a dozen people within 30 feet of me that are morbidly obese. They could definitely stand to add more plant-based, real food to their diets. One step at a time people! And trust me, I'm willing to bet my paycheck for the next six months that they aren't going to become vegans. Enough already!

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Cor Oz
May 2nd, 2020 at 3:50 pm
Commented on: David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

Excellent response Dr. Diamond and CrossFit Health, thank you!

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Grant Shymske
May 1st, 2020 at 3:57 pm
Commented on: David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

"Eat: meat & vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar" coupled with CrossFit Health's subtitle "Let's Start With The Truth" says it all. Similar to what we see in debates with religious dogma, one side has the scientific method and objective measures and the other has nothing but feelings, beliefs, and attempts to disguise those things as fact (ala Game Changers).

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Alejandro Sarria
May 1st, 2020 at 4:44 pm

I get what your trying to say. You must have heard some terrible arguments by religious people. I get it. Yet, I have found that the greatest scientists that have changed the world for the better today have been religious. Science done rightly still requires faith.


https://youtu.be/6CulBuMCLg0

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Grant Shymske
May 1st, 2020 at 4:53 pm

That's great man, I'm all about it. Just promise me no more Crusades, Witch Trials, or Satanic Panics. Those are strikes one, two, and three as far as humanity is concerned.

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Cor Oz
May 2nd, 2020 at 3:44 pm

Truth is, there are far more strikes against a humanity without religion than with.

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Pedro Castro
May 1st, 2020 at 12:35 pm
Commented on: David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

If Crossfit is for everyone, it's a community, why can't we all be whatever we want to be and get along?

We live in the stupid era of 'acceptance' and being vegan is not accepted? I'm plant-based and wouldn't change it for anything, but I'm not one to preach about it or attack meat eaters and, like others, we're always being 'attacked' for our choice... Now I even have meat eaters attacking me for not doing direct plant-based activism... Like, wtf??

People always need someone to stuff information through their mouths without doing their own research, so that they feel better with being in negation mode....

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Deanna Sassorossi
May 1st, 2020 at 12:49 pm

I completely agree with you. I've been plant based for 4 years and crossfitting for 3. I never talk about being plant-based at the gym unless someone asks me directly. I'm not one to tell others what to do, but I am getting tired of CF putting out so much anti plant based content. CrossFit is for everybody!

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Severine Brunner
May 1st, 2020 at 1:01 pm

Completly agree and even hope one day CrossFIt will be plant based... So far are my convictions :)

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Bennett Novak
May 1st, 2020 at 1:27 pm

I think you guys are missing the point. This isn’t about being anti-vegan (assholes on the internet and in your gym are a separate issue), it’s about debunking a couple myths about human biology that were put forth to say that (per the film) a vegan diet is “better” and “more natural” for humans.


Ya’ll do you, and spread the good word of how a vegan diet has helped, but do it in a way that is factual... saying humans are herbivores and that cholesterol is bad are scientifically false, and promoting those impacts the credibility when you do have valid points.

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Tyler Hass
May 2nd, 2020 at 3:51 pm

One of the things I respect most about CrossFit is that it is broad and inclusive, but doesn't try to be all things to all people. If CrossFit were to start embracing vegan diets, then why not weight machines? And jogging on alternate days. Maybe team up with Gwyneth Paltrow on some recovery supplements?

My inclination is that CrossFit will back whichever diet provides optimal health and performance and leave room for people to tune it to their individual needs. If that fine tuning moves away from health and performance and towards political or ethical beliefs, it's no longer CrossFit.

I do respect people who are ethical Vegans and are willing to put the lives of others ahead of their own. There are many in the CrossFit community with that same mindset, but they don't necessarily see a plant-based diet as the best way to save the world.

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Nathan Hutcheson
May 1st, 2020 at 12:19 pm
Commented on: David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

Maybe main guys post their workout comments on here? I think the main post spot isn't working.

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Chris Johnston
May 1st, 2020 at 8:24 am
Commented on: David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

CF, when can we expect your experts from the other side to do their rebuttal? More and more crossfitters are going plant based and have benefited in more than one way. Why are you trying to persuade people towards the meat diet? Please consider supporting a plant based diet as well. Thank you

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david morrison
May 1st, 2020 at 9:22 am

Agree

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Nathan Hutcheson
May 1st, 2020 at 12:16 pm

I think taking a meat reduction approach may be a good approach here, as the increasing global population will not allow for all members of the global community to eat meat everyday. I think research supports that it is necessary to eat meat every day for optimal health. Possibly just a meat 1X/day or every other day as a way of getting the valuable nutrients from meat but while maintaining global food sustainability. UCLA is a big proponent of meat reduction approaches to health.


And, from an evolution perspective, our ancestors evolved eating a varied diet, likely made up of different compositions depending on the local availability of fruits, veggies, and dairy/eggs/meat.

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Deanna Sassorossi
May 1st, 2020 at 12:51 pm

I agree with you Chris. Not sure why CF is pushing a meat centered diet so much. There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein.

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Josse Berckmans
May 3rd, 2020 at 11:32 pm

probably because CF is sponsored by the meat and dairy industry...

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Colby Buswell
May 4th, 2020 at 3:32 pm

Agree. Despite the points Diamond is making there are benefits to vegan and vegetarian diets. Explore it all and let us decide.

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Tyler Hass
May 1st, 2020 at 3:20 am
Commented on: David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

Dr. Diamond completely dismantles the comparative anatomy argument often employed by vegans. Humans might not have teeth like a typical carnivore. Thankfully, we don’t need them. We’ve been using tools and fires for millions of years. We have more dietary flexibility than any other species thanks to this.

Humans are essentially the result of an evolutionary experiment that tested whether a large brain could compensate for smaller muscles, claws and teeth. We have no built-in weapons, unlike other predators. Nonetheless, it’s those predators who are living in zoos and not the other way around. The human brain is the most effective evolutionary adaptation ever devised for hunting.

I've seen other debate against this comparative anatomy argument before, but I think Diamond's solution is the best I've heard yet.

The second part of this talk covers cholesterol in an interesting way. Game Changers argued that vegan diets are the most effective method to lower cholesterol. Diamond argues that cholesterol is actually good for us, as it reduces our risk of death from infections and cancer, with minimal impact on heart disease. So why lower it?

His graph of the mortality rates of people with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is especially persuasive. People with FH have sky high cholesterol. They are more likely to die young, which is bad. But they have a lower risk of dying when they’re old, thanks to a stronger immune system. This sounds like a bad trade-off, except that very few people die when they’re young. So, it’s an increase of a relatively minor risk. Overall, people with FH have a longer lifespan.

Great information presented here and in a very entertaining way.

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Paul Romero
May 1st, 2020 at 2:55 am
Commented on: David Diamond Addresses Foolish Assertions From The Game Changers

Seriously CF!? DID that really just happen?

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