The Netflix film The Game Changers seems to be the latest film on healthy eating to get people talking.
The film is a powerful piece of vegan advocacy. Executive produced by famous vegan James Cameron alongside a long list of other Big Vegan Names including Arnold Schwarzenegger (who knew?!); Jackie Chan; Lewis Hamilton and Novak Djokovic, it's a challenge to the outdated idea that "real men eat meat".
The narrator/presenter is James Wilks, a former champion UFC fighter and now trainer of elite military personnel. Looking to recover from an injury, Wilks discovers an unknown-to-him secret: eating plants is good for performance. He's shown reading medical textbooks while on the stationary bike; he then journeys around the world meeting high-performance athletes, all of whom say the switch to a vegan diet (though they don't use that term; it's "plant-based" throughout) was the magical thing that flipped the switch for them, improved performance out of sight and unlocked gold medals and world records.
Wilks also interviews various doctors and experts, getting a basic "vegan 101" along the way, as well as some pop science experiments apparently demonstrating that even a single meat-based meal is enough to clog your blood with inflammatory compounds and impair sexual performance.
It's a compelling narrative; by the end, if you're someone wondering about changing your diet, you'll be ready to make the switch. The world's strongest man is vegan; weightlifters and bodybuilders and long-distance runners are vegan. A US football team changes its diet and makes the playoffs for the very first time. And a hard-man ranger, tasked with protecting rare rhino and elephants from gun-toting poachers, switches to a vegan diet after realising he can't eat animals when his job is to save them.
As you may be able to tell, this is a very male-focused film. There are a couple of female athletes featured; both are Olympians and both are highly impressive, if a little unrelatable for the average woman. But really, this film is about the blokes. And it does a good job of debunking the myth that to be a strong, masculine man, you need to eat tons of burgers, steak and bacon. You can be as strong as an ox, we're told, eating only vegetables. After all, what does an ox eat?
I like the message here that plant-based diets can supply all the protein and other nutrients we need, even if we're performing at the highest levels of sport.
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I dislike the way the message is framed: plants versus meat. It's overly simplistic, unrealistic and not super helpful for most people. I dislike the lack of balance; it's a story told with a firm agenda.
The use of the term "plant-based" is also confusing. I know many vegans like the term and of course a vegan diet is plant-based. But let's not forget that other healthful ways of eating – ways that might include a little animal food – can, and should, be described that way. Plant-based eating is for everyone, not just the elite extremes.
• Niki Bezzant is editor-at-large for Healthy Food Guide; www.healthyfood.com