Olena ISLAMKINA explains what’s wrong with PETA’s new anti-meat campaign.
PETA has launched a new campaign “Meat interrupts your sex life”. The video ad shows us a meat-eater who can’t satisfy his girlfriend sexually, whilst a vegan guy appears to be an absolutely tireless lover (however we all know that duration of sex doesn’t necessarily increase its quality). The series of billboards show a cow and a pig lying in bed between heterosexual couples, and two guys whose intimate life was broken by a chicken. The billboards are addressed to all the meat consumers in Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia—the leading states of the U.S. meat industry.
So what is the reason for vegans being better lovers than meat-eaters? Surprisingly, the whole point is that animal fat clogs our arteries, say PETA activists.
A link on the campaign page leads us to an article titled “Clean Clogged Arteries with a Vegan Diet” which was posted on PETA Prime by a “Guest Blogger” in 2011.
“Elevated cholesterol (anything above 150) promotes atherosclerosis—the buildup of cholesterol, fat, and cells in the arteries that feed the heart muscle. Incidentally, while the average cholesterol level in the U.S. is 210, the average vegetarian’s cholesterol level is 161 and the average vegan’s cholesterol level is 133. People with cholesterol levels below 150 virtually never have heart attacks, while nearly one-third of meat-eaters will die from one,” the article says.
It’s important that for a long time the American Heart Association targeted a goal level of total cholesterol as 200 mg/dL or less. However, now this recommendation is considered misleading and was removed from the AHA website, as a total cholesterol level does not indicate cardiac health just by itself. “Nowadays, these ranges aren’t used. Instead, total cholesterol levels are considered in context with other risk factors, and treatment is recommended accordingly,” is written on the AHA website.
Also, the PETA campaign quotes Dr. William Castelli, director of the famous Framingham Heart Study: “If Americans adopted a vegetarian diet, the whole thing would disappear.”
The Framingham Heart Study is indeed a long and famous research. It began in 1948, and then new generations of participants were recruited in 1971, 2002, and 2003.
Though, PETA does not bother referencing the exact source when and where Dr. Castelli encouraged all the Americans to eat spinach and quinoa. It’s really not that hard to find the journal Archives of Internal Medicine issue dated 1992 “Concerning the Possibility of a Nut…” In his article, Dr. Castelli doesn’t claim that meat is good for us. He is rather puzzled that despite the well-known fact that saturated (i.e. animal) fat is pure evil, new studies show unexpectedly that it may be not so bad after all.
“In Framingham, Mass., the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol” [emphasis in original]… We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least, and were the most physically active.”
Being a doctor at the time of low-fat dogma, he says that personally, he’s not yet ready to go for some fat cheese. But he is totally ready for a nut on the top of a wholemeal bread.
You see that back in 1992 one of the most known low-fat evangelists started to question this whole cholesterol thing.
And even though he praises the vegan diet despite his doubts, come on, this was 1992. It was twenty-five years ago. An endless number of studies were published since then, proving that dietary cholesterol, a high-quality animal fat, does not increase blood cholesterol level.
Editorial in British Journal of Sports Medicine is one of the most recent compilations of those studies. Cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra and his colleagues explain how atherosclerosis actually develops. And no, animal fat has nothing to do with that.
So, PETA seems to be unaware of the scientifically proven fact that the level of blood cholesterol is not affected by cholesterol consumed with food. Our arteries are clogged not with the excess of dietary cholesterol.
Cholesterol is an important building block that our body needs (and produces the most of it by itself). So it’s rather silly to think that the lower cholesterol level we have the healthier we are. And the idea of low cholesterol leading to an excellent sex is even more stupid. At least because cholesterol helps the production of testosterone, a hormone which is essential for libido of both men and women.
Quitting consumption of animal products is a serious ethical choice for each of us. But if the only reason you think of this is getting healthier (and sexier), then maybe you should think twice. Anti-meat PETA campaign is a perfect example of how ads are deceiving us. Even having the best of intentions.