PCRM Dietitian vs. Monster Burger
Meat-heavy diets kill millions of Americans every year through their contribution to heart disease, cancer, overweight, diabetes, and other health problems. But a new burger in Michigan takes our national fat fixation to a new level. The West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team recently added a 4,800-calorie burger to its stadium’s menu.
The 4-pound, $20 burger features five beef patties, five slices of American cheese, extra nacho cheese, nearly a cup of chili, and large amounts of salsa, sour cream, and corn chips—all on an 8-inch bun. The burger is the caloric equivalent of nine Big Macs.
PCRM director of nutrition education Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., asked the Whitecaps to consider fans’ health and remove the burger from the stadium. Levin asked the team to at least label the burger a “dietary disaster” that increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, and premature death.
The risks of products like this giant burger were highlighted in a new National Cancer Institute study. Researchers looked at the diets of more than half a million people aged 50 to 71 and found that those who ate 4 ounces of red meat a day—about the size of a small hamburger—were more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, and all causes over the next 10 years, compared with those who ate less red meat. Beef, pork, bacon, sausage, cold cuts, hot dogs, and other red or processed meats all increased the odds of premature death.
Levin asked the Whitecaps to include the following label on the burger: “WARNING: Eating meat is associated with increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and death.” She also asked the stadium to not sell the burger to people under 18.
PCRM’s letter received widespread media coverage, including stories in The New York Times, The Seattle Times, the London-based Telegraph, and the Whitecaps’ local newspaper, The Grand Rapids Press.