WASHINGTON—The Heart Attack Grill should lose its license after the recent death of the restaurant’s unofficial spokesman, says the nonprofit Physicians Committee. John Alleman suffered a heart attack while waiting at a bus stop in front of the restaurant, which he came to every day. He was taken off life support a few days later.
“These death-inducing foods and practices, which they have proved to be, are not a joke, as the owner would like us to believe,” writes Physicians Committee director of nutrition education Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., in a letter to Las Vegas Department of Planning director Flinn Fagg. “Please suspend the license of this dangerous business’s efforts to capitalize on obesity, clogged arteries, and now serial casualties.”
The medically themed restaurant boasts “Flatliner Fries” cooked in lard, waitresses dressed as nurses, and a fake ambulance parked outside. Last year, a real ambulance was called to the establishment when a patron collapsed while eating a “Triple Bypass Burger.” In 2011, the diner’s official spokesperson Blair Rivers died at age 29. Because he weighed 575 pounds, he got to eat for free at the restaurant under its promotion offering free food to anyone over 350 pounds.
The average American now eats more than 200 pounds of meat and more than 30 pounds of cheese a year. Meat-heavy diets are strongly linked with obesity and heart disease. Two-thirds of the population is either overweight or obese. More than 80 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.
Extensive research finds that vegetarian and vegan diets can help prevent and even reverse heart disease and other chronic diseases. Vegetarian men weigh less and have less cardiovascular disease risk, compared with nonvegetarians, according to a 2011 study in Nutrition and Metabolism.
The Physicians Committee is urging the Las Vegas Department of Planning to work with the Heart Attack Grill to revamp its menu and name focusing on healthful vegan diner food prior to any further business activity.
Levin writes, “‘May I suggest such items as the ‘Better for You Burger’ or ‘Feeling Fit Baked Fries,’ all served with a clean conscience at the Longevity Grill?’”
For an interview with Ms. Levin, please contact Jeanne McVey at 202-527-7316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.