It’s laughable for Susan Levin to claim (column Aug. 1), without citing any evidence, that rising obesity rates are caused by our “high-fat, meat-heavy diets.”

Levin’s organization, the 96 percent physician-free Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, gets two-thirds of its money from the founder of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. That just might explain all the hatred for bacon, veal and turkey.

Levin is a vegan activist who apparently thinks animal protein is the root of all love-handles. I’m sure Atkins dieters similarly blame pasta and bread for obesity. But neither is right.

Obesity, as non-agenda-driven nutritionists will tell you, is caused by a simple imbalance of “calories in” and “calories out.”

The human body neither knows nor cares if they come from carrots, cheese or chicken: If you take in more calories than you burn through exercise, you’ll get fat.

Vegetarianism is a fine choice for the relative handful of people who choose to go through life without knowing the joy of a good, juicy cheeseburger. But it’s not a silver bullet for slimming down.

David Martosko Washington, D.C.