The fries are already flying over this one. A fast-food television commercial set in a morgue and produced by the non-profit pro-vegetarian Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has begun airing this month. The ad takes direct aim at McDonald’s high-fat menu to draw attention to the link between high rates of heart disease deaths and high density of fast-food restaurants in our communities.
The ad centres around an overweight, middle-aged man seen lying dead in a morgue holding a half-eaten burger as a woman weeps over his body. McDonald’s omnipresent golden arches then trace the dead man’s feet with the text “I was lovin’ it” – a harsh jibe at McDonald’s long-running slogan “I’m lovin’ it.”
A voiceover then says: “High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian.”
Like all fast-food restaurants, McDonald’s (the world’s largest fast-food chain) serves a long list of high-calorie, high-fat, high-salt, high-cholesterol items – such as their Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Extra Value Meal, which has 61 grams of fat and 1,650 milligrams of sodium.
Studies have clearly shown that people who consume fast food are at a higher risk of obesity, a key risk factor for heart disease. Regular consumption of high-fat, high-salt, high-cholesterol foods increases the risk of heart disease, and studies have found that even a singly fatty meal can raise blood pressure, affect major arteries, and cause the heart to beat harder. See also: Never Eat Anything You’ve Ever Seen Advertised
Kentucky cardiologist Dr. Melissa Walton-Shirley believes that North Americans have a bizarre obsession with food instead of a healthy appreciation of it.
“Our obsession with overloaded plates of value-meal goodies has lead to an epidemic of diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, stroke, heart disease and death – while the medical community as a whole has largely stood by and done nothing.”
She blames her own profession for not including the talk about nutrition into every office or hospital visit.
“When it comes to the end result of poor nutritional habits, we prefer to put out the fire instead of practising fire prevention. We unabashedly admit that we’d rather cath it, stress it, bypass it or medicate it than provide instruction on how our patients should properly fuel their bodies.”
Dr. Walton-Shirley insists that when it comes to food, we do everything wrong: it’s how much we eat, what we eat, where we choose to eat, how we prepare what we eat and even how quickly we eat that’s all wrong. She claims:
“Skinny adults in our society have become extinct among the hoards of obese. Fast food restaurants are conveyor belts for gluttons who super-size breakfast, lunch and supper, and then appear to be truly clueless as to how they became so obese and how to correct this. To our horror, chubby children have become the sickly angina-riddled frequent fliers on our cath tables today.”
Meanwhile, the official response to this TV ad from the McDonald’s website reads:
“This commercial is outrageous, misleading and unfair to all consumers. McDonald’s trusts our customers to put such outlandish propaganda into perspective, and to make food and lifestyle choices that are right for them.”
And Scott DeFife of the National Restaurant Association told the Wall Street Journal that he considers the PCRM ad “irresponsible” and said it “attempts to scare consumers into making choices, and promotes a limited view of good nutrition.”
See what you think when you watch this commercial.