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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Linda

Dr. Neal Barnard founded the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in 1985. The non-profit group now consists of about 150,000 doctors and laypeople advocating the health benefits of a plant-based diet, empowering consumers and patients, promoting nutritional education for medical students and practitioners, and supporting alternatives to animal research.

Meat is the New Tobacco

A prolific writer and speaker, Dr. Barnard shares research-based evidence about the dangers of the Standard American Diet, and the benefits of plant-based diets. In a campaign called “Meat is the New Tobacco,” Dr. Barnard and his organization highlighted how, until the 19080s, most doctors were bystanders, if not enablers, of smoking, and many doctors themselves smoked. But, once the full force of research about tobacco’s role in cancer and other chronic diseases was recognized by the medical community, doctors began to lead the fight against it.

Dr. Barnard considers the standard American diet equivalent to the pre-1980s-smoking stage, when too many doctors enabled or at least took no action to help patients learn about and pursue diet-based interventions to fight and prevent chronic disease. Moreover, few doctors practice good nutrition in their own lives, despite the significant number of research studies demonstrating the serious risks of the Standard American Diet.

 

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