WASHINGTON—The Physicians Committee—a nonprofit with 12,000 doctor members—applauds the American College of Cardiology (ACC) for releasing new recommendations that urge hospitals to improve patient menus by adding healthy plant-based options and removing processed meats, which are linked to 60,000 cardiovascular deaths a year.
The ACC’s "Heart-Healthy Food Recommendations for Hospitals" say that “at least one plant-based main dish” should be offered and promoted at every meal. The recommendations also say that processed meats—bacon, sausage, ham, hot dogs, and deli meats—should not be offered. The ACC recommendations also call for plant-based main dishes and a variety of vegetables and fruits to be served in all cafeterias and on-site restaurants.
"Too many heart disease patients have had their recovery undermined by bacon and hot dogs on their hospital trays," says Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D. "Hospitals that ban processed meats and promote plant-based meals will do a better job at helping patients’ hearts heal."
Earlier this month, the American Medical Association also passed a resolution that calls on hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals and eliminate processed meats.
Processed meats are also “carcinogenic to humans,” according to the World Health Organization. A 50-gram serving a day—one hot dog or two strips of bacon—increases colorectal cancer risk by 18 percent.
The ACC’s and AMA's recommendations reflect the Physicians Committee's Make Hospital Foods Healthy campaign, which urges hospitals to improve patient and cafeteria menus by banning processed meats and offering more disease-fighting plant-based meals, and by hosting restaurants that offer only healthful, low-fat, cholesterol-free meals.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research and medical training.