More than likely you have heard about, or watched, a propaganda movie called The Game Changers. Many people have asked me about it and wanted my take on it. I reluctantly watched it because I figured it was just another propaganda hit piece on meat…and I was not surprised by the fact that it was absolutely a hit piece. What did take me a little by surprise were the brutal lies that were told. In this article, I will focus on two of the brutal lies, which should help you put the rest of the foolish movie into perspective.
If you did watch The Game Changers, you should remember the hamburger study, which was cited twice by James Wilks in a disingenuous fashion. First, he claimed that eating a single hamburger will increase inflammation by 70%. Second, he stated that eating a single hamburger will reduce blood flow by 27%.
The first thing that you should know is that the title of the burger article was shown for just a split second at 28:30 and is easily missed in the video if you were not interested in retrieving the article. I had to re-watch and pause it to actually see title of the article, which is:
Li Z, Wong A, Henning SM, et al. Hass avocado modulates postprandial vascular reactivity and postprandial inflammatory responses to a hamburger meal in health volunteers. Food Funct. 2013;4:384-91
Not only was the title of the article barely shown, Wilks also NEVER mentioned that avocados were included in the study. So, unless you decided to pause the movie and try to figure out the title of the article, you would never know that you were lied to.
When you are told that there was a 70% increase in inflammation after eating a hamburger, it is possible for your mind to run in many directions about what this 70% increase actually means. Wilks never mentions the parameters of the 70% increase and if, in fact, it is clinically relevant.
The authors measured three different cytokines, those being interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). After eating the burger, IL-8 was not detectable, there was no increase in TNF, while IL-6 increased by 70%.
One of our nation’s biggest labs is called LabCorp. The normal range for plasma IL-6 is 0-12.2 pg/ml. In the burger study, the baseline level of IL-6 was about 4.2 pg/ml before eating the burger alone, which then increased to about 7.15 pg/ml four hours after the burger was consumed. In other words, this is a big “nothing burger” study because IL-6 remained within the normal range after the burger was eaten. This means that the alleged 70% increase in inflammation was NOT inflammatory because 7.15 pg/ml is NORMAL!
The second after Wilks misrepresented the avocado/burger study – he stated that this alleged inflammation, which DID NOT occur, will narrow blood vessels, cause pain, and reduce recovery time after exercise…this is a shameful misrepresentation of the facts. And even more shocking is that none of the medical doctors interviewed in this fictional movie intervened to properly explain the avocado/burger study.
What about the 27% decrease in blood flow in the burger study? The method used for testing blood flow is called peripheral artery tonometry (PAT). I am not familiar with the PAT method of assessment, so I cannot comment on the significance of the findings. However, I can comment on the fact that two tests were performed on the test subjects, which was withheld in The Game Changers’ hit piece. There were 11 subjects in this study. Baseline measurements for all the markers were taken and then compared to changes that occur after eating a hamburger patty alone with no bun and then again after eating a hamburger patty alone with 114 calories of plain avocado.
After eating the burger alone, there was the 27% reduction in PAT mentioned previously; however, there was NO reduction in PAT when the avocado was added to the burger. The fact that this detail from the study was not disclosed by Wilks, i.e., a lie of omission, reflects the brutal bias in The Game Changers. In fact, it is well known that vegetation, spices, and wine have a similar DeFlaming effect (1).
The DeFlame Diet can be vegan, omnivore, or carnivore (2). The vast majority of Americans are omnivores. Unfortunately, about 60% of the average American’s calories come from refined sugar, flour, and oils, which means that the inflammation problem with most omnivores is the overconsumption of these refined calories and not because they eat meat, fish, or chicken.
In short, omnivores in America eat too little vegetation and too much refined sugar, flour, and oils (2). If refined food calories are eliminated and replaced by vegetation (as in adding the avocado to the burger) at a calorically appropriate level, there is no evidence of disease risk if you are also an eater of meat, fish, and chicken.
- Seaman DR. An anti-inflammatory diet for pain patients. Pract Pain Management. 2012;12(10):36-46.
- Seaman DR. The DeFlame Diet: Deflame Your Diet, Body, and Mind. Wilmington: Shadow Panther Press; 2016.