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PCRM Petitions Against Wrongs of #CancerCausingClickbait



  • Photo by PCRM

The Physicians of Responsible Medicine, or PCRM, are responding to the recent media reports from The New York Times, claiming that, “Eating Less Red Meat [may] Now [be] Believe[d] That Was Bad Advice”. The article published on September 30th reads that “The health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups, researchers concluded, and advice to individuals to cut back may not be justified by available data.”


Head-scratch-worthy, right? This recent study by the Annals of Internal Medicine recommends individuals to continue to eat red and processed meats at current levels, despite evidence suggesting we do the opposite. PCRM is calling this report #CancerCausingClickbait and requests the FTC to permanently prohibit AIM from disseminating, or causing the dissemination of, the advertisement at issue and require AIM to issue a public retraction. 


To combat the Annals of Internal Medicine, PCRM, the nonprofit with 12,000 doctor members, filed a petition yesterday with the Federal Trade Commission to correct false statements regarding the consumption of red and processed meat. 


“AIM’s message is not only an inaccurate statement of the findings, it is a major disservice to public health,” says Physicians Committee President Neal Barnard, MD, FACC. “These misrepresentations are directly at odds with abundant scientific evidence demonstrating the potential ill health effects of red and processed meat and the benefits of reducing consumption of red and processed meat.”


Abundant evidence links red and processed meat consumption to heart disease, colorectal cancer, and increased risk of premature death. Even eating just one slice of bacon a day is linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer. AIM’s messaging/advertisement misrepresents or fails to mention such hazards and instead directs consumers to AIM’s journal to obtain “[n]ew guidelines” and “new recommendations.”


"As a result," the federal petition states, "AIM’s advertisement does far more than cause financial harm—it also promotes physical harm to those who follow its dangerous advice. 


Numerous other health authorities joined the Physicians Committee in its opposition to AIM’s false messaging. David L. Katz, MD, MPH, Yale University Prevention Research Center and president of the True Health Initiative (THI), a global coalition of health experts, says in a THI statement, “All of the papers show adverse effects on all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, of meat and processed meat consumption, … The guidelines being published are at odds with the data in the very papers on which they claim to be based.”


A diet high in red meat increases the risk for colon cancer in women, according to a study published online in the International Journal of Cancer.

A recent University of Oxford study concludes that eating just one slice of bacon a day is linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer.

A plant-based diet, however, can prevent and even reverse diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, among other benefits.


PCRM asks individuals to ignore AIM’s report and support the mountain of evidence they have gathered that illustrates the ill health effects of a diet based on red and processed meat, including these few recent studies.


Eating red meat increases the risk of dying prematurely, including from heart disease or cancer, according to a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health. Among a group of 121,342 individuals followed for up to 28 years, each daily serving of red meat increased the risk of dying by 12 percent. For processed meats (e.g., hot dogs, ham, or bacon), each daily serving increased the risk of death by 20 percent.


To speak with a PCRM expert, please contact Leslie Raabe at 202-527-7319.

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