The documentary entitled “Forks over Knives” relates the research conducted particularly by three professionals, medical doctors Matthew Ledderman, Caldwell Esselstyn, as well as a research Ph.D., T. Colin Campbell.
Separately, they each discovered that coronary disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer can be linked to the typical Western diet of processed foods and animal-based foods, including dairy products. As a result, they pronounced that disease can be prevented, even reversed, by adopting a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
The title may be misleading, but it refers to the fact that eating habits (forks) should be preferred to surgery (knives) to cure disease. The doctors use the phrase “whole-foods plant-based” rather than the word “vegan” because there are subtle differences. Vegans, for instance, do not eat potato chips or French fries, whereas those who eat plant-based foods are allowed these items. By eating a whole-foods plant-based diet, the patient limits his intake to fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.
In the United States today, 40 percent of its citizens are obese. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country’s three leading causes of death.
In several ground-breaking studies conducted by these men, it was found that in Kenya, breast cancer was 80 times lower than in the United States. In Japan, there are lower death rates from prostate cancer. Rural areas of China had extremely low rates of heart disease. In these areas, it was noted that the people have little access to animal-based foods. Another study revealed that in 1937 in Norway, meat was rationed in order to provide German soldiers with this item. The incidence of heart disease plummeted in Norway with the lack of animal protein in the diets of the Norwegians. When they were once again allowed to have meat, the study showed a stark reversal in heart disease.
The conclusion is that a whole-food plant-based diet is beneficial to health; an animal-based food diet is not.
The medical doctors in the film spoke with several of their patients who were heavily medicated and whose medical tests revealed the presence of a variety of diseases. The patients improved over time with the plant centered dietary pattern which was prescribed to them. In many cases, the disease was eradicated and the medications were discontinued.
Naturally, pharmaceutical companies are not happy with the findings of the doctors. One doctor in particular was prevented from teaching his students about his theories because the institution was funded largely by medicine production companies.
The theory has many detractors, but my belief is so strong in the conclusions of these doctors that I plan to begin a whole-food plant-based diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. If I ascertain that I am lacking something, I will add some fat to my diet and perhaps chicken and fish.
Documentary – Forks over Knives (2011)