by Scott Bell
A few weeks ago we sat down and watched the documentary Vegucated. After seeing Forks Over Knives and reading The China Study, my curiosity about plant-based nutrition has been piqued, so I was interested to see what this film might have to add.
The film follows three omnivorous New Yorkers who have volunteered to spend 6 weeks eating a 100% plant-based vegan diet. It attempts to address both the ethical and health aspects of veganism, and reveals that three goals shared by the volunteers at the outset were to lose weight, feel good, and look better. In fact, they did both bodyweight and blood-work measurements before and after to highlight the health effects of the diet.
Unfortunately, much of the shopping guidance given to the volunteers centered around vegan analogues to animal foods, junk food, Oreos, Earth Balance, etc. rather than what basically all plant-based nutritionists advise: a whole-food diet consisting of whole grains, vegetables (green, starchy), fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds. I understand that the project was trying to use comfort foods to generate buy-in on the part of the volunteers, but I would argue that a switch to a healthy diet (especially from the SAD that they were eating before) would’ve resulted in much more progress towards their original three goals and thus a higher likelihood of long-term adoption.
After 6 weeks, the participants’ blood lipids did improve, but weight loss was almost negligible. The results were absolutely nothing like those reported by The Engine 2 Diet or Forks Over Knives. It was actually disheartening to watch these volunteers be disappointed by a lack of results when they obviously desired them as part of signing on to the project.
If you’re going to give the film a watch, don’t have your hopes up to see things like disease reversal and other significant health effects, rather, focus on the ethical message of the film, which did seem to very well received by the participants.