Zoë Harcombe on The Game Changers: Good Story, Unconvincing Argument

ByCrossFitMarch 21, 2020

Zoë Harcombe, Ph.D., concedes The Game Changers tells “a good story,” but that’s as far as the 2019 documentary’s accolades should go, she suggests. In this presentation from Dec. 15, 2019, Harcombe offers an incisive and often humorous critique of the arguments the film makes in favor of a plant-based diet.

The Game Changers bases its support of plant-based eating on three common arguments, Harcombe explains:

  1. It’s healthier than non-vegan diets.
  2. It’s better for the animals.
  3. It’s better for the planet.

Since the majority of the film is devoted to the nutrition argument, Harcombe focuses her attention there as well.

After noting that, despite the movie’s claims, there is a dearth of scientific evidence for going plant-based, Harcombe turns with wry humor to the film’s burrito experiments. The science in these and the movie’s other experiments is deeply flawed, she claims.

One experiment, which follows the Tennessee Titans as they turn to vegan eating, “is a great example that the standard American diet is rubbish,” Harcombe says. She argues any apparent benefits experienced by the athletes were probably attributable to their trading of junk food for whole foods. “Now the whole food just happens to be plant-based,” she notes, but “how good could they have been if their whole food diet had been animal-based?” she asks.

Finally, Harcombe argues the film tries to gloss over the nutritional deficiencies in a vegan diet by suggesting everyone should take supplements, not only those who have gone plant-based. But those who follow a healthy diet of whole foods that include animal products do not need supplements, she claims: “A healthy diet provides the nutrients that we need. A healthy diet does not require supplements. A vegan diet requires supplements. De facto, a vegan diet is not healthy.” 

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