WASHINGTON—Days after doctors from the Physicians Committee—a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors—rallied in front of the White House urging Americans to “break the meat habit,” a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that eating animal protein increases the risk of early death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, while eating plant protein reduces the risk. A video of the White House event has already been viewed more than 1 million times and reached more than 4 million people.
Researchers followed the diets of 131,342 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Animal protein intake was associated with an increased risk for death from diseases, especially cardiovascular disease, and plant protein intake was associated with a lower risk for mortality. Replacement of animal protein with plant-based proteins was also associated with a lower risk for mortality.
Poor diet is now the No. 1 cause for disease and death in the country, recently even surpassing smoking. Meat has been strongly linked to America’s top killers, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. Another study published today found that meat is as much to blame for obesity as sugar.
The doctors who rallied at the White House were among the more than 700 doctors and other health professionals who participated in the Physicians Committee’s International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine on July 29 and 30, where they learned how to educate their patients about the dangers of meat and the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Among the conference presenters were Mariana C. Stern, Ph.D., who co-authored the World Health Organization report that declared processed meats carcinogenic to humans, and Christina Warinner, Ph.D., who discussed the misconceptions of the meat-heavy Paleo diet.
“We hope that Americans take this message to heart and break the meat habit for themselves and their families,” says Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee.
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.