The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered an animal rights pressure group to stop making "alarmist" and "unsubstantiated" claims about the risks of eating meat, reports the BBC on Thursday.
A leaflet published by a Brighton-based vegetarian pressure group earlier this year suggested that meat-eaters are more at risk of dying from heart disease, stroke and other diseases.
The ASA said there was insufficient evidence to support claims that meat eaters were more likely to die from "killer diseases".
The leaflet, published by Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (VIVA!), featured a picture of a sausage on a fork and included the caption: "The Great British Banger...makes your heart go Pop! One in three men and one in four women will die of heart disease. The British sausage is perfectly designed to help them on their way."
The ASA said that while it accepted that there was evidence to suggest an 'affluent diet' increased the risks of chronic diseases there was no evidence to indicate that eating meat had a similar effect.
In a statement, the ASA said: "The advertisers had not supplied adequate evidence to show that eating animals caused the listed diseases or that vegetarians were much less likely to develop the listed diseases.
"The unsubstantiated health claims were unduly alarmist," it added.
VIVA! had argued that the claims were justified. However, research papers submitted by the group to back up its stance was deemed to be inadequate.