Two of America's most eminent doctors have called for a major overhaul of the country's dietary guidelines, relegating meats and dairy products to an optional category. Instead, the staple diet should be built around grains, vegetables and fruits.
Doctors Benjamin Spock and Henry Heimlich are heading a campaign which is being endorsed by 20 other leading physicians, and which was drafted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Dr Neal Barnard, from the Committee, said that the US's dietary guidelines do not reflect current nutritional knowledge.
They believe that a change in diet could result in a reversal of heart disease, a reduction of up to 60 per cent in cancers and the slashing of health care costs.
The physicians are also recommending that weight-control diets should emphasize low-fat, high carbohydrate diets and exercise, rather than just calorie cutting.