Health Alert 221
“I just don’t know what to believe anymore. Low-fat … high-protein … vegetarian … how do I know which diet is best?” said one of my new patients on his initial visit to my office.
Maybe you have the same complaint. With all the conflicting information floating around, it’s hard to know what’s true. So today I’ll give you the same advice I give all my patients: “Before you do anything, find out who’s giving the advice.”
* Concerned Doctors or Political Activists? *
For example, here’s some advice you’ll soon hear from The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). They recently funded a study which allegedly supports the notion that people can switch to a low-fat vegan diet to lose weight, lower their blood pressure, and improve their health.1 Vegan diets don’t allow meat, dairy products or eggs of any kind.
I have two problems with this study. First, low-fat/cholesterol diets are not healthier. Studies repeatedly associate these diets with depression, cancer, psychological problems, fatigue, violence and suicide. They can also lead to anemia, and increased heart disease.2
Second, I take issue with the group behind the study. This is not a group of responsible physicians. PCRM is an extreme animal-rights group that uses the veil of medicine to disguise their identity. Physicians make up only 5% of the PCRM membership. The other 95% are animal-rights activists.3
* Always An Agenda *
This is the same group that regularly attacks the Atkins’ Institute. They’re the money behind at least one frivolous lawsuit against Dr. Atkins. And they distorted the facts behind his death.4 All to turn people away from animal-protein diets, and onto veganism.
In 1991, PCRM asked the USDA to abandon its food group model and substitute their plant-food-based plan.5
Here’s how the American Medical Association responded to that suggestion: “The AMA finds the recommendations of PCRM irresponsible and potentially dangerous to the health and welfare of Americans.” The AMA charges that PCRM is ‘blatantly misleading Americans on a health matter and concealing its true purpose as an animal ‘rights’ organization.'”6
A PCRM representative engaged in a televised debate with a physician who transplanted a pig’s liver into a 30-year-old woman. The woman needed the organ to survive until a human liver could be located. PCRM’s complaint? The surgeons didn’t obtain the pig’s consent.7
In 1996, PCRM started rating school lunch programs and judged them unhealthy. Not based upon the health of the students who ate them, but the ideological criteria of veganism.8 And they continue to press the USDA and school districts to change lunch menus to vegan meals.9
PCRM has one purpose. To promote their agenda and maneuver people to their pro-vegan diet. And anything they recommend will be influenced by this skewed premise.
* So What Is Best? *
I’ve written dozens of articles, citing numerous independent studies that prove a healthy diet high in protein from grass-fed animals makes good sense. The key to successful weight loss is to avoid excessive calorie intake. But forcing weight loss by severely restricting healthy fats and protein will only work against you.
To Your Health,
Al Sears, M.D.
1. Dr. Joseph Mercola; Do Vegetarian Diets really work?; www.mercola.com
2. Stephen Byrnes, ND, PhD, RNCP; The Myths of Vegetarianism; www.mercola.com
3. Newsweek, February 23, 2004
4. Jenny Thompson; Health Sciences Institute Newsletter, Feb. 12, 2004
5-8. William T. Jarvis, Ph.D.; Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine; The National Council Against Health Fraud; www.ncahf.org/articles/o-r/pcrm.html
9. The Healthy School Lunch Campaign; www.healthyschoollunches.org/