What the Health? - Essay Sample

Published: 2021-08-11
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Boston College
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Research proposal
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Today, individuals are becoming more aware of their health and how food and nutrition plays an important role in promoting the same. Many are now realizing the fact that the key to a good health lies in what they eat. This is why many companies and even the government are now on the spotlight for producing food products which contain a lot of chemicals and do not have any important health values. This concern has really grown to a point where some individuals believe that animal products are not healthy, and that they are the cause of all the diseases suffered by individuals. This paper focuses on the analysis of this issue as discussed in the documentary What the Health which insinuates that meat and dairy products are a cause of majority of health problems. It supports the argument that the health of an individual depends on the quality of food that is consumed, regardless of whether it is an animal product or not. Therefore, the government should ensure that policies are created to guide food organizations on the quality of products produced such that no chemicals or harmful additives and preservatives are used. This will ensure that the food consumed is fresh, healthy and full of nutrition as desired.

How Food Contributes to our Health

Different researchers have gone ahead and conducted an analysis on the food products offered to consumers. Some of the actors being considered included their health benefits, the components such as cholesterol, proteins and carbohydrates, and also the chemical additions which are included during the manufacturing and preservation processes. In the video What the Health, the researchers argue that meat and dairy products have unhealthy components which make the consumers sick. They argue that these are the leading causes of cancer and other diseases as the products settle in the human body where no benefits are gained. This argument, however, is challenged by many others who dismiss it as an exaggeration since healthcare professionals have always advised the consumption of specific animal products if at all one needs additional calcium and even protein.

One of the arguments presented in this documentary argues that eggs cause as much harm to the body as the cigarettes. It claims that eggs also contain high cholesterol which builds up in the heart, resulting to artery plaque. However, this assertion is only based on outdated arguments which were proved wrong by current research that showed the resulting impacts of eggs and cigarettes are not the same. In addition, even nutrition experts declared the egg cholesterol to be completely safe even for overconsumption. Also, additional research has stated that the kind of cholesterol consumed is not directly linked to the eventual blood cholesterol levels. Therefore, this argument presented in the documentary What the Health is farfetched and in accurate. Although it is evident that the food human beings consume impacts their health, the extent to which this documentary presents it is overrated.

Yet another argument that has been presented in this documentary is that meat causes cancer. Here, it is indicated that as long as one consumes meat, they will definitely suffer from cancer. Although processed meat has been closely linked to cancer, as is evident from the declaration of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, it only increases the risk by a slight percentage. It is not definite that this will be the case. In this documentary, it is argued that consuming processed meat is equal to smoking cigarettes daily. Unfortunately, the risks caused are not equal. The documentary Food Matters presents a more accurate argument which states that some of these food products are harmful because of the fact that they have chemical additives and are also nutritionally depleted. Therefore, the reason why the product causes cancer is not because it is a meat product, but rather because of the additions which are meant to preserve it (Turner 35).

In the documentary, What the Health, it is argued that sugar is not the main cause of majority of the health problems experienced. Instead, the blame is shifted towards animal protein. This is yet another argument that has been refuted by many researchers. This is because a lot of research has provided results that linked sugar to diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, this argument has no basis as it seems exaggerated. It is almost as if the authors are just looking for reasons to deter others from consuming meat and dairy products. Although additional research argued against the relationship between sugar and heart disease, the impacts it still has on the body is far much worse than animal protein which presents risks based on how it is handled and preserved (Dagnas and Jeanne-Marie 549).

Lastly, this documentary also argues that milk increases the risk of cancer. This argument is also farfetched as various studies conducted by scholars failed to find a link between the use of dairy products and cancer. On the contrary, even the nutritionists argue that it is a part of what consists of a healthy diet especially because it has high nutrients such as protein and calcium.

Although this documentary seems to have exaggerated on some arguments, while also failing to effectively support them, it is evident that it has also provided some valid arguments as is noted by what other scholars indicate. For instance, it criticizes the American food system which involves the use of harmful chemicals in producing and preserving food stuff (Sapkota 667). As a result, of this, the people who consume the products end up suffering from issues such as antibiotic resistance. This is the same argument presented in the documentary Food Matters which also argues that the additional products used are the ones which affect the health of others. The food products need to be prepared in a natural way such that when they get to the consumer, the nutritional quality and freshness will still be intact.

The argument that there is a conflict of interest between the food industry and nutritional groups is also valid. It is evident that the government is focusing more on the industry interests when developing dietary recommendations rather than on what effects it has on people. This is mainly because most health organizations tend to receive their funding from companies and groups which are not in line with health and healthcare. Therefore, it affects the kind of recommendations given because they will end up agreeing with what these companies want so as to avoid losing the funding they receive.

Generally, the arguments presented in the documentary What the Health are quite common among most vegans. They have a different perspective of animal products compared to what others think. These individuals have come to accept that animal products, including dairy, are harmful to the human body. It is likely that this is the reason why they are trying to associate them with some of the chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. However, most of these illnesses are rarely caused by consumption of animal products alone (Bennett and Jennifer 431). It is only possible that a risk for the diseases is increased, but the impact is not the same as smoking. The latter is much worse. In addition, as noted from the documentary Food Matters, the food stuff consumed is only risky when its nutritional value is compromised. Otherwise, these food items can be used to improve the health of an individual and even cure the most chronic of illnesses such as cancer.


Considering the arguments presented above, it is clear that the only reasonable solution to the health problem caused by food stuff is to push the government to pass policies that will prevent these companies from using harmful chemicals to produce and preserve them. Also, the healthcare institutions and organizations needs to get their funding from credible sources that do not seem to have hidden agendas. This will ensure that only the best recommendations, which will also improve the health life of consumer, are passed. However, it is important to understand that the meat and dairy products do not have any excessive impacts. On the contrary, the negative health effects are experienced as a result of the additional chemicals and other poor lifestyle habits such as smoking. The food products are actually considered to be nutritious and are recommended as part of the diet for a healthy individual.

Work Cited

Bennett, Reginald and Jennifer Hait. "Recovery of Staphylococcal Enterotoxin in Multiple Phase Foods." Journal of Food Safety, vol. 35, no. 4, Nov. 2015, pp. 429-439. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/jfs.12191.

Dagnas, Stephane and Jeanne-Marie Membre. "Predicting and Preventing Mold Spoilage of Food Products." Journal of Food Protection, vol. 76, no. 3, Mar. 2013, pp. 538-551. EBSCOhost, doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-349.

Sapkota, Amy R., et al. "What Do We Feed to Food-Production Animals? A Review of Animal Feed Ingredients and Their Potential Impacts on Human Health." Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 115, no. 5, May 2007, pp. 663-670. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=8gh&AN=25744093&site=ehost-live.

Turner, Lisa. "Find Hormonal Harmony & Counteract Xenoestrogens Naturally." Better Nutrition, vol. 71, no. 5, May 2009, pp. 34-38. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=38225113&site=ehost-live.

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