A controversial new ad campaign from PETA suggests that people are throwing their health under the bus by eating meat products and touts veganism as a means to lose weight. But by featuring an overweight man sitting on one side of a bus and apparently causing the bus to tilt, does this ad go too far in its attempt to promote plant-based diets?
“To me, you’re basically saying that it’s still socially acceptable to show prejudice toward obese people,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
Liam Cronin, a spokesperson for PETA, argues that the ad is not “fat-shaming,” but rather aims to shock people and get them to be more conscious of the food they put in their bodies. He further asserts that vegans are, on average, slimmer than their meat-eating counterparts and argues that a plant-based diet is healthier because it includes fewer saturated fats and cholesterol than omnivorous diets.
The Doctors are joined by Wendy, who says she gained 50 pounds when she switched to a vegan diet. She argues that veganism is not necessarily a better choice for those who wish to lose weight. “If you want true health,” she says, “you have to eat unprocessed, whole, real foods, and whether you decide to do that in a vegan way, like I do, or in a non-vegan way, the most important thing is that we end eating processed food.”
Dr. Travis states that some animal products, including yogurt and certain other dairy products, have been shown to actually increase fat burning, lower blood pressure, improve bone health and reduce appetite in some individuals. Furthermore, plant-based diets are heavy in FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), such as beans and legumes, which can cause bloating and discomfort for some people. Likewise, those with a family history of osteoporosis or osteopenia should take that into consideration when deciding to avoid all dairy products due to a vegan diet.
Dr. Travis emphasizes that it’s important to find a diet that works for you.