Doco's claim eating eggs as bad as smoking cigarettes debunked

Health professionals have slammed a film that claims eating eggs is as bad as smoking cigarettes.

The Netflix documentary What The Health says eating one egg a day is as bad as smoking five cigarettes a day, and that one serving of processed meat a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by 51 percent.

The pro-vegan film has movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Joaquin Phoenix on board as executive producers, while celebrities such as Miley Cyrus have endorsed it.

The anti-egg claim is among What The Health's most contentious, and is rejected by nutrition expert and former research biochemist Robb Wolf. 

He notes that the bold claim that eating an egg a day is equivalent to smoking five cigarettes isn't backed up with any evidence at all, and is among "remarkable claims" made in the film "with at best paltry support". 

Dietician Stacey Mattinson also debunks the claim as false.

"There is absolutely inadequate data to suggest, by any means, that eating one egg per day is the equivalent of smoking 5 cigarettes daily", Ms Mattinson said.

She said while most people need more plant fibre in their diet, she disagreed with "the fear-mongering approach of the filmmakers".

Other nutrition experts have also debunked the documentary for cherry picking data to support their views while ignoring data that's contrary (confirmation bias) and confusing causation with correlation in clinical trials.

The assertion that just eating processed meat once a day raises the risk of getting the disease by 51 percent was labelled as "grossly exaggerated" by a report on, and as a "relative" rather than "absolute" risk increase.

"We are not talking about diabetes coming after the odd prosciutto sandwich."

Mr Wolf says that while the film is slick and well done, almost everyone featured is a vegan and there are plentiful problems with its citations. 

"There is zero attempt to seek out contradictory views, this is a monochrome of political, nutritional and ecological ideology," he said on his website.

Mr Wolf also noted "one of the people featured in the movie did prison time for harassment and was the founder of an animal rights group that is known to have done everything from physical intimidation of people they disagree with, to firebombing houses of employees of the same".