Monster Burger Letter: PCRM Urges Baseball Team to Consider Meat-Cancer Link
April 1, 2009
Dear West Michigan Whitecaps:
I’m writing to ask you to put a "dietary disaster" warning label on your new 4,800-calorie "monster burger." Before your customers try to consume this massive mound of meat and cheese, they deserve to know about a new National Cancer Institute study showing that meat-heavy diets increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and premature death. Men in particular should be warned that chowing down on meaty foods increases the danger of prostate cancer.
Here’s the label we suggest putting on your dietary disaster: "WARNING – Eating meat is associated with increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and death."
As a dietitian, I can tell you that our nation’s eating habits are already horrifically unhealthy. The average American now eats more than 200 pounds of meat and 30 pounds of cheese a year—and these high-fat, high-cholesterol products take a terrible toll. Two-thirds of the population is either overweight or obese. More than 80 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease. Cancer strikes one in two men and one in the three women over the course of their lives.
The danger of meat-heavy diets is clear. In 2007, the American Institute for Cancer Research reported that convincing evidence from dozens of studies supported the association between red and processed meat intake and colorectal cancer risk. On March 23, 2009, researchers with the National Cancer Institute published a study of more than half a million people showing that red and processed meat intake is associated with increased cardiovascular, cancer, and total mortality.
As you may know, most cattle on feedlots in the United States are given synthetic hormones to make them grow larger. I venture to guess that your monster burger harbors more synthetic hormones than most professional baseball players.
Given the overwhelming consensus on the danger of meat, I urge you to reconsider selling this burger. Imagine the lives you could save. If you cannot see yourself removing this high-fat item from your stadium, please post a warning label and refuse to sell such an unhealthy product to people under 18.
Baseball plays a huge role in American life, and the sport must take responsibility for the habits it teaches to young people. Just as no baseball franchise would promote cigarettes, your team should think hard about what this high-fat burger will do to your fans’ health.
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.