Last night, I info binged on The Game Changers, the documentary that advocates a plant-based diet for optimal athletic performance.
First, I watched the documentary on Netflix.
Then I watched Chris Kresser debunk many of the documentary’s claims on Joe Rogan’s podcast (https://youtu.be/Dq4Apc2Xk7Q) . You can read Kresser’s notes here: https://chriskresser.com/debunking-the-game-changers-joe-rogan.
Then I watched a following Joe Rogan podcast where Joe hosted James Wilks and Chris Kresser, providing Wilks an opportunity to defend his documentary’s claims (https://youtu.be/s0zgNY_kqlI).
It’s always good to listen to both sides. And God bless Joe Rogan for providing a forum where both sides have ample opportunity to make their case.
The Game Changers is very well made. It is definitely persuasive in advocating a plant-based diet. Now, they obviously cherry-picked athletes to showcase. I have to imagine that for every one they highlighted, there is a Cam Newton story to balance things out: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article235295427.html. Kresser addresses this in detail in his show notes, while also providing updates on the featured atheletes.
Based on the strength of Wilks’ rebuttles, I would not say the documentary lies or makes false claims. However, I would say that they certainly spin stories to suggest things like:
- Dairy causes cancer
- Meat correlates to heart disease
- Plant-based diet has a positive impact on libido (not sure if that’s the right term to use; essentially, one guy experienced 500% more frequent erections and an increase in the strength of erections)
The gist that I took away from all this is:
- Food and Diet is very complex and nuanced and tremendously difficult to run effective, long-term studies on.
- Overall, your diet should consist of a large portion of plant-based foods, even if you’re omnivore.
- And if you go omnivore, best to go with lean, grass-fed meat.
- Whatever diet you choose, you should always be conscious to ensure you’re getting enough protein and nutrients.
- Avoid processed foods as much as possible.
- You should probably take a B12 supplement.
For serious athletes, you really need to be meticulous and measure everything. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. It’s all about the quantified self.
A lot of sports is mental. Confidence and mental toughness can be the difference between Champions and Chumps. If you change something, your diet for example, because of watching “The Game Changes”, then is there also a placebo effect that helps put you over the edge? Most, if not all, the athletes featured in the documentary attained their high level upon an omnivore diet.
My guess is that depending on your sport and where you’re at in your athletic career, you might want to consider timing or cycling your diet. For (random) example, maybe you’re omnivore in off-season training, but then change to vegan during the season. Or maybe you’re omnivore on practice days, but then vegan on day-before and game day.
Dunno. Try something, test, then measure. Rinse and Repeat.