Vegetarians have better sex
While the UK is debating the decision by the BBC and Sky to block a free-standing TV appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, America is debating the decision by NBC to block a TV ad by Peta, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The ad was due to play to a massive audience during the Super Bowl and is clearly meant to be tongue-in-cheek (though it looks more like courgette-in-cheek). The scientific research underlying the ad relates to weight and fitness levels of the average American vegetarian by comparison with the average American meat-eater.
A Peta spokesperson, citing research on vegetarian diet plans developed by Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn as sources, says eating meat makes people "fat, sick, and boring in bed," while vegetarians are, "on average, fitter and slimmer than meat eaters". Separate studies show that meat and dairy consumption is linked to impotence, heart disease, and obesity.
The studies examined only vegetarian and meat-based diets that were low-fat and low-cholesterol. In other words, a low-fat, low-cholesterol vegetable-based diet scores higher in the relevant health and fitness results than a low-fat, low-cholesterol meat-based diet. Some critics may argue that vegetarians may be, in general, healthier than meat-eaters because vegetarians are also, as a group, more health-focused than meat-eaters. Vegetarians tend to opt for healthier lifestyles, a generally more active daily regime, than meat-eaters. This, say critics, may explain the vegetarian group's higher scores in tests, rather than the food they consume.
Recent studies are available on this, which suggest that a switch to a healthy vegetarian diet (and the term 'healthy' is key), can lead to significant risk-reduction in relation to a host of conditions, from cancer and heart disease to diverticular disease. The question, in a sense, is whether all of that adds up to the claim that vegetarians are, therefore, likely to be better in the sack than meat-eaters. I'd like to see some scientific evidence revealing a clear correlation between "being healthy" and "having better sex" (and this latter expression would be extremely difficult to quantify scientifically). In the absence of that evidence, I suspect that an ad of this kind would run foul of the UK watchdog.
In any case, NBC's concern was not, alas, the science underlying the Peta ad. NBC blocked the ad through concerns about taste and decency. The intentionally self-mocking portrayal of a woman frolicking with a head of broccoli was considered "too much" for the American TV viewer.