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PETA to Mississippi: “Let Fat People Eat!”

Written by PETA | February 8, 2008

Literally. Mississippi state representative W.T. Mayhall Jr. has been all over the news recently after introducing a provocative bill that would bar Mississippi restaurants from serving obese people. I’ll refrain from commenting on whether such a bill would be a good idea, but if they are going to consider such things, we have a suggestion for an amendment: instead of royally pissing everybody off by refusing to serve overweight people altogether, PETA is proposing that restaurants be required to serve only healthy vegan meals to consumers who are struggling with their weight. As PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich says, “Vegan meals like hearty vegetable casseroles, bean burritos, and pasta with mushrooms, tomatoes, and green peppers not only are satisfying but will slim you right down too.” You can read our letter to the state rep here.

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  • Myra Holmes says:

    I think it is very possible to be fat and vegetarian. It has been pointed out many times throughout the discussion. Just because you are vegetarian does not mean you are top on the healthy spectrum. If every person ate right and exercised then we all would be at a healthy weight. Just because I forgo meat and animal byproducts does not mean I’m going to be at a healthy weight.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    It’s funny that so many people are writing about being veganvegetarian and being fat as though there is nothing they can do about it. Clearly you eat too much andor don’t exercise enough. No matter what you eat if you consistently take in more than you work off you are going to be fat. You can’t expect that you can eat as much as you want of nonanimal products and be thin. You still need to use some selfcontrol. Alsoif you’re vegetarian and still eating dairy that is most likely a big part of your problem.

  • I'm not American says:

    About the vegan fast food thing I cant see why not. Hong Kong’s done it kinda with several “Vegetarian Chinese” restaurants where people line up for “imitation goose” made from your beloved tofu and my favourite “imitation sweet and sour pork” and even “imitation curry beef” strange I know but this comes from the Buddhist background of many Hong Kong people where they will “go veg” for short periods of time for religious or health reasons all made from tofu. We also have vegetarian options for these sticky rice balls they sell now in the MTR HK’s subway stations. I must say they’re pretty good! And at less than $3 per box albeit food is cheaper than the US in general I think poorer people could afford it. P.S. I’m not vegan myself but gratuitous violence to animals is wrong. Peace

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Angelique A vegan diet can be very inexpensive. The cost of cellopacked bulk beans and whole grains is laughably cheap. In season fruits and vegetables are not expensive either. If you do require more daily calories you have caloriedense nuts and seeds which can be more expensive but certainly no more than a comparable weight of animalderived food.

  • Susannah S says:

    Thanks Mike and Michelle for your congrats. I appreciate it! The funny thing is that this hasn’t been difficult at all. I’m enjoying every vegan meal learning new recipes building new favorite foods etc. I don’t actually “diet” much at all and the weight’s coming off. What a concept huh? Dr. Dean Ornish proved that years ago and people still don’t want to listen but eating a plantbased diet keeps you in good health and helps to keep you fit. GoVeg!

  • tom says:

    Lenai … yours is the most intelligent post I’ve read on any of the PETA blogs. You are at least promoting an idea that would be judged on its own merits with its success determined by the market place. I’m all for that and stand in opposition of government regulating what I can or cannot eat or a a businessman what I can or cannot serve and to whom. The McDonalds and KFC chains that PETA so adamantly oppose all started out as a single restaurant … if you succeed you too may be running a multibillion dollar international chain of vegan restaurants provided you have a product that people WANT!

  • Ana says:

    Fast foods are everywhereMcDonald’s Burger King White Castle Wendy’s Kentucky tortured Chicken oops Fried. The ubiquitous availabilty of unhealthy inhumane junk is available everywhere. Nothing like American capitalism!!! And being overweight leads to other health problems. I have never seen so many overweight gradeschoolersyuk!!! All of the junk they eat contibutes to their unhealthy status. They eat misery and violence.

  • Angelique says:

    When it comes to the government the only kind of eaters they need worry about are cannibals. I’m sure that’s illegal in Mississippi already. If not they can work on that instead. Seriously tho’ with their logic should anorexics be forcefed in restaurants and bulimics not allowed to use public bathrooms? I doubt this current law will get thru but if anything like this ever does where does it end?! No one is safe. It’s pure discrimination. This sort of ban is only going to make people feel worse about themselves and the last thing overweight people need is another place where they’ll be excluded! The problem isn’t ONLY the restaurant food. It’s a multifaceted problem. I think the core of it is looking at that 23rd population. Are they in the povertyzone? Mississippi is known to be one of our poorer states. This can be problematic because highquality whole foods are more expensive than cheaper alternatives. A pound of fresh salmon in NYC is over $12 while a box of storebrand Mac Cheese is two boxes for a dollar in the same store. On a limited income what would you buy? If that is the problem facing people in Mississippi then the gov’t needs to tackle THAT issue Making quality food affordable. What kind of activities are available to people there? Are there enough parks and recreational areas available at no cost that are safe? Do they have facilities that are size appropriate for larger people? The gov’t could set up exercise gyms like the Y that are aimed at larger folk who are uncomfortable or embarrassed exercising in front of others. Special programs can be offered that help train people to become healthier and stronger taking into consideration that their body size may require modification to exercises would be a major help This isn’t normally taught especially by brandname gyms. At these sort of centers they can offer nutritional guidance and emotional support. These can be aimed at people that fall into the wide spectrum of eating disorders not just restaurant overeaters. Why single out one type of weight problem??? The bottom line tho’ is not only making proper services available to people of all weightsincomes It’s a personal matter to take care of one’s self and to ignore the onslaught of advertisers politicians family members etc… that are attacking our self esteem and self worth. In IL people can no longer smoke in public buildings offices or bars. That hasn’t stopped people from smoking. They still do it just somewhere else. Like the sidewalk. So what makes them think that this will stop people from overeating? This is madness.

  • claude says:

    whatever happened to consumer freedom and letting people decide for themselves what to eat and what not to eat the government has no right messing around with this type of issue it is the persons choice not the governments and not PETAs

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Spay and neuter Hi If you want I can post links to other studies they only provide absracts sadly most articles have to be paid for although being a student I can obtain them through school if you want I agree that people on the said diets may have an advantage but I was objecting to a specific comment and for once I didn’t feel like addressing the person directly for fear it would sound rude. Sadly there are certain nonprofits and other orgs parading as experts when they have ulterior motives. However the only bit that irks me is that someone might see an overweight person and stereotype. No studies ever focus on real vegetarians who might indulge in fat foods. Peace!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    As always it’s just a matter of calories in calories out. Foods like beans whole grains fruits and vegetables are nutrientdense but not caloricallydense so you can eat a lot. If a vegetarian or vegan concentrates on these foods with nuts and seeds as required and avoids junk food they should be able to maintain a healthy weight. Obviously a fit person with an endomorphic body type can healthfully weigh more. Ashes your meateating very slim acquaintances are the exception not the rule. Studies prove that vegetarians and vegans have lower body mass indices.

  • Spay and neuter immediately, please says:

    Ashes That’s why PETA is recommending a HEALTHY vegan diet.

  • Mabel says:

    Sarahbeth you can’t say that 75 or more of all people in the South weigh 300 pounds or more! That’s just ridiculous and not at all true. Besides as of 2006 many of the fattest cities in America were not in the south 1. Chicago 2. Las Vegas 3. Los Angeles 4. Dallas 5. Houston 6. Memphis 7. Long Beach Calif. 8. El Paso 9. Kansas City Mo. 10. Mesa Ariz. 11. Indianapolis 12. San Antonio 13. Fort Worth 14. Miami 15. Detroit 16. Columbus Ohio 17. Oklahoma City 18. Cleveland 19. Wichita 20. Charlotte 21. San Diego 22. Fresno 23. Philadelphia 24. San Jose Calif. 25. New York Clearly the problem is not regional!

  • Spay and neuter immediately, please says:

    Maya Where did you read a guarantee that vegans will never be fat? The letter is simply suggestingcorrectlythat healthy vegan meals have been scientifically proven to positively affect weight loss. Of course that doesn’t mean it works every single time but veganism is far more effective than any other diet.

  • Ashes says:

    Lauren I know that most vegetarians and vegans are not fat. But most are healthconscious anyway. Most would exercise andor control their portions even if they weren’t vegan. But telling someone that being vegetarian is an automatic cure for weight problems isn’t responsible. I had several friends in college who proudly called themselves vegetarians but they ate large quantities of pasta and french fries day in and day out! On the other hand I know a great number of very slim fit people who eat meat they just don’t eat to excess and aren’t chowing down fast food or 10 ounce steaks every meal. If a person who eats too much cuts out certain foods but still eats too much including many starches and sugars they won’t be healthy.

  • Vegan says:

    Thats just stupid. Let people eat what they want and where they want regardless of weight. Veganism and Vegetarianism are life altering decisions and shouldn’t be forced upon anyone. Oh and for all you ‘non believers’ of fat vegans and vegetarians my best friend has been vegetarian for 4 years and is 100 lbs overweight. I have been vegetarian for 2 years and vegan for 6 months and have not lost a pound and I too am overweight. But my decision to go veg wasn’t based on losing weight and thats the wrong reason to go vegan or vegetarian. What I don’t get is the big issue with people being obese. I think as long as your healthy fit it doesn’t matter you size. Oh and I work out on a regular basis so that would blow any theory that there is no such thing as a fat fit vegan.

  • sarahbeth says:

    And as yet another Mississippian I have to third BullyDawg. That law would never pass anywhere especially in the dirty south. Besides like someone already stated here even if they didnt offer meat to obese people burritos and beans have never made anyone skinnier especially if they are already clinically obese. And obese in Mississippi is like huge like we are talkin 300 punds minimum which is like at least 75 maybe more of the south’s population. They should just make a law not to allow them to eat more than two lbs. of food at an all you can eat buffet if they are obese

  • lou says:

    I have been a vegetarian for 11 years and I’m fat. What you’re saying is incredibly ignorant.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Good for you Susannah! I’ve read some interesting case studies by Dr. John McDougall and Joel Fuhrman MD who have had patients who were so desperately and hopelessly sick they were willing to try anything even a vegan dietomigod! The progress these patients made no more angina totally off their diabetes meds lowered BP lowered cholesterol was amazing and some results were apparent within only a few days. Needless to say these people are now committed vegans. They feel as if their lives have been given back to them and they’re now in control. It can be that simple.

  • K says:

    lenai Nobody’s forcing anybody. It is merely a suggestion.

  • Michele says:

    Susannah congrats on not only shedding some unwanted pounds but also reducing your cholesterol and blood pressure levels! Keep us posted on your progress I bet you’ve noticed that food tastes better too. Of course vegans can be fat Oreos and plain chips are vegan after all but the point is to follow a balanced healthy vegan diet and people will see how easy it is to lose the weight and keep it off. Thanks Mike for the article even though most PETA supporters already know how healthy veganism can be it’s good for the fence sitters to see some objective info they can’t simply ignore it by claiming it is “biased” PETA info.

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    The science here is very inaccurate. Veganism can be a healthy diet. However you absolutely cannot guarantee that vegans will never be fat. When I developed a wheat allergy I was sick off and on for 4 years before my doc finally figured it out. I went vegan for about a year because I had no idea what food was causing my problems. When I got the blood test back I cut out wheat and my digestion went back to normal. A few months later I began gaining weight even though I was still a vegan. The only difference was I was not eating wheat. I gained 17 pounds very quickly. I could not stop gaining weight. It was my body’s reaction to being sick for so long. So if a vegan or vegetarian has a thyroid issue food allergies or any other common medical condition they may gain weight. You can’t tell by looking at someone. I went back to my regular 112 pound weight only after reducing calories and allowing my body to normalize. It took about a year. The bottom line with being thin is calories. Many many vegan and wheat free foods are packed with calories.

  • Ryan says:

    That’s just sad…

  • lauren says:

    I think PETA’s suggestion is a great idea. My cousin used to be very overweight but he became a vegetarian and lost alot of weight and kept it off. In response to ashes comment I have never met a fat veg or vegan person. Cookies cake ice cream cheese steak and most other very fattening foods contain eggs milk or meat. If someone can manage to be vegan and fat…I would love to learn their secret because it is damn near impossible.

  • IH8MEAT says:

    As another Mississippian I am going to second BullyDawg.

  • Susannah S says:

    I get a little queasy on this subject pun intended. I’ve been vegan since last April and I’m still…pardon the expression…fat. BUT I have lost 30 lbs over this past year and I’m still losing. My blood pressure dropped from a “normal” BP of 15080 to 12070 and my cholesterol went from 220 to 178. So I am PUMPED for the cause of turning all my hefty counterparts all over the world into vegetariansvegans! It’s easy to make fun of obese people it’s much harder to avoid being obese in the U.S. though UNLESS you eat a plantbased diet. On the last “Real Time” program Bill Maher was TRYING to explain to the panel that you don’t HAVE to be sick dependent on pills etc. and that eating well with a plantbased diet is the way. He’s right of course but they were all laughing at him and putting him down and clearly didn’t want to discuss it and THIS in the face of the obvious facts from the China Study and other sources. I’ve been following Anthony Robbins “alkalizing diet” only without the addition of fish. The rest of the program is vegan with about 70 of daily intake being vegetables. I am sold now for life on being vegan. So while I’m still a Fat Vegan I would guess that by this time next year I’ll just be Vegan. I can’t wait!

  • lenai says:

    i don’t think its okay to try to force resturant owners to cook certain things. instead lets open a bunch of our own veganvegetarian restaurants..WE DON’T HAVE ANY!!!

  • K says:

    The suggestion is of course genius. I mean is it really that hard to wrap your brain around veganism being the most healthy option? People are too stupid to realize that meat and dairy makes them fat so they continue to watch the fat on their asses grow and wonder why.

  • HH says:

    I think this is a good way to get the word out there obesity is a growing issue and people simply need to learn how to eat better and have more selfcontrol. And thanks Mike! Ah how I love cited information.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    The Washington Post quoted the lead researcher in the study P.K. Newby as saying “The takehome message is that individuals who have the lowest risk of being overweight or obese are consuming a mostly plantbased diet.” WASHINGTONA scientific review in April’s Nutrition Reviews shows that a vegetarian diet is highly effective for weight loss. Vegetarian populations tend to be slimmer than meateaters and they experience lower rates of heart disease diabetes high blood pressure and other lifethreatening conditions linked to overweight and obesity. Overall vegans had the lowest average body mass index BMI a measure of weight in relation to height followed by vegetarians then meateaters. While 40 percent of meateaters were overweight or obese only 25 to 29 percent of vegetarians and vegans were Newby and her colleagues report. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition According to a study carried out by Cancer Research UK people who eat meat and carry on doing so put on more weight over a five year period than people who switch over to vegetarianism. We all put on weight as we get older the researchers found. However vegetarians put on less weight than meat eaters and vegans put on less weight than vegetarians. Medical News Today

  • Craig says:

    I saw this in the news the other day and had to do a double take. Every establishment I have been to already have the right to refuse to serve you for ANY reason. Sooner or later an obese person is going to sue a place like McDonnalds Mc Dog Foods or Burger King Burger Spleen for their poor health I think it’s happened already. Or maybe this is an attempt to insulate eating establishments from getting sued when they exercise their right NOT to serve you.

  • Ashes says:

    Your suggestion is ridiculous for the same reason this bill is ridiculous and doomed to fail. Besides there are plenty of vegetariansvegans who are far from slim. Just because you don’t eat any meat doesn’t mean you don’t eat too many sugars starches etc. and those things can be more fattening than some meats. Many people are obese not because they eat meat but because they eat too much period. Ordering someone to eat beans and pasta in restaurants is certainly not going to cure obesity!!!

  • BullyDawg says:

    As a Mississippian my BullyDawg moniker BTW is in honor of the Mississippi State U. Bulldogs thank Bruce for this very polite very informative letter to Rep. Mayhall. You should know however that he wasn’t entirely serious about making this law…he simply was looking for a creative way to shed light on the obesity epidemic here. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams apparently! Rep. Steve Holland who quite honestly could stand to lose a few pounds himself who is the chair of the committee this bill came out of will “pocket veto” it of course. But thanks for y’all’s input. Maybe there are a few Mississippians that will take heed and change their diet!

  • Brandon Becker says:

    Great suggestion!