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How "Forks Over Knives" Revolutionized the Plant-Based Movement

Written by Ali Brown
Forks Over Knives documentary

The world is becoming increasingly health-conscious. And the importance of a healthy, well-balanced diet is more apparent than ever. One documentary that has gained attention for its thought-provoking message is "Forks Over Knives." The groundbreaking film came out over a decade ago and its impact on the plant-based movement and our health awareness lives on.

What was the message of the "Forks Over Knives" film?

The documentary explores benefits of plant-based diets and their impact on human health. Directed by Lee Fulkerson and produced by Brian Wendel, the 2011 film became and is a key tool for those looking to improve their health.

Overall, the central message is clear: a plant-based diet can significantly improve  health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. "Forks Over Knives" presents a wealth of evidence to support this claim. For example, it shares severals studies showing that vegan diets can lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and prevent certain types of cancer.

Moreover, there are plenty of interviews with leading nutrition and medicine experts, including Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., and Dr. Neal Barnard, among others. These experts share their knowledge on the impact of diet on chronic diseases. Similiary, they discuss how eating plants can help reverse health conditions and prevent them in the first place.

3 ways "Forks Over Knives" spurred the plant-based movement

1. It challenges the Western Diet

Forks Over Knives SAD

First, what sets "Forks Over Knives" apart from other documentaries is how it challenges the traditional Western diet. For instance, it exposes the flaws in the standard American diet, which is high in animal products and processed foods. It also highlights the need for a more plant-based approach to eating, one that is centered around whole, unprocessed foods.

The relevance of the information presented in "Forks Over Knives" cannot be overstated. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, are responsible for the majority of deaths worldwide. These diseases are largely preventable, and a plant-based dietis an effective way of reducing the risk of developing them.

2. It put plant-based experts on the map

plant based experts barnard

Second, "Forks Over Knives" changed the way people think about nutrition and health. Featuring interviews with leading experts in the field of nutrition and medicine, including Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., and Dr. Neal Barnard, among others, the documentary presents a compelling case for the benefits of plant-based diets.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemist, is one of the experts featured in the documentary. He discusses his groundbreaking research on the link between nutrition and cancer, which he conducted in the 1970s. Dr. Campbell's research showed that "nutrition played a much more important role in cancer development than we ever thought before."

Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., a former surgeon and clinician-scientist at the Cleveland Clinic, is another expert featured in the documentary. He discusses his research on the effects of a plant-based diet on heart disease. According to Dr. Esselstyn, "the plant-based diet is the only diet that has ever been shown to reverse heart disease."

Dr. Neal Barnard, a clinical researcher and author, also appears in the documentary. He discusses the link between diet and diabetes, and how a plant-based diet can help prevent and even reverse the disease. According to Dr. Barnard, "people can actually reverse type 2 diabetes by changing what they eat."

3. It inspired us with life-changing testimonials

plant based movement

Third, the documentary features testimonials from several individuals. These folks adopted a plant-based diet and saw significant health improvements as a result. Rip Esselstyn, a former firefighter and triathlete, discusses how he lowered his cholesterol levels and improved his overall health. He says, "I went from being a firefighter to a triathlete, and I attribute that to my plant-based diet."

Another individual featured in the documentary is Lee Fulkerson, the film's director. Fulkerson discusses his own experience with a plant-based diet and how it helped him lose weight and improve his overall health. He says, "I've never felt better in my life. My energy is through the roof, and I just feel so much better."

These quotes and personal stories provide powerful evidence for the benefits of plant-based diets and show the impact that that "Forks Over Knives" has had on individuals and the broader conversation around health.

4. It offered a ton of evidence that plant-based diets are best

plant based movement best diet

Fourthly, this film is not short on evidence. The Adventist Health Study-2 is one shining example. The study found that those who followed a plant-based diet had a lower risk of developing certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Another study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that a plant-based diet reduced the risk of heart failure by 41%. The study found that "a predominantly plant-based diet was associated with a much lower risk of incident heart failure among middle-aged adults, independent of traditional risk factors."

A third study published in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology found that a plant-based diet improved heart health in older adults. The study found that participants who followed a vegan diet had lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, which are all risk factors for heart disease.

The creators of "Forks Over Knives," Lee Fulkerson and Brian Wendel, deserve credit for their work in producing such an informative and impactful documentary. Their approach to nutrition and health educated millions of people around the world about the benefits of eating plants. Their work has also helped to shift the conversation around what we eat and health, inspiring individuals and communities to adopt a more plant-based approach to eating.

Where to watch "Forks Over Knives" online

You can watch the entire documentary for free here.  

In conclusion, "Forks Over Knives" is a must-watch documentary if you want to improve your health. It provides evidence-based research to support the claim that plant-based diets are the key to preventing and reversing chronic diseases. And it was crucial to spurring the plant-based movement forward. Its practical advice and recipes make it easy for viewers to adopt a more plant-based approach to eating, even if they are new to the concept.

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