Is it really natural? The truth about humans and meat consumption

What is the “natural” human diet? Are humans biologically meat eaters? Quick Quiz: When you see dead animals on the side of the road, are you tempted to stop and chew? Do you dream of killing cows with your bare hands and eating them raw? If you answered “no” to these questions, like it or not, you are not a carnivore.

The following points help to prove that a “natural” human diet is, in fact, plant-based – and that the enslavement of animals, the theft of their milk and eggs, and death are simply unjustifiable, even from a biological point of view. . Vision.

Think you’re a paleo caveman or a cavewoman?

Although many humans choose to eat both plants and meat, earning us the dubious title of “omnivores”, we are anatomically phytophagous (meaning we eat plant matter). The good news is that if you want to eat like our ancestors, you can still do so: Nuts, vegetables, fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy vegan lifestyle.

Our teeth, our jaws and our nails

Humans have short, flexible nails and small canines. In contrast, all carnivores have sharp claws and large canines capable of tearing flesh.

The carnivores’ jaws only move up and down, forcing them to rip off chunks of flesh from their prey and swallow them whole. Humans and other herbivores can move their jaws up and down and from side to side, allowing them to grind food with their back teeth. Like the teeth of other vegetarians, the back molars of humans are flat for grinding fibrous plant foods.

Renowned anthropologist Dr. Richard Leakey sums it up: “You can’t rip flesh with your hand, you can’t rip skin with your hand. Our front teeth are not suited to tearing flesh or skin. We don’t have big canines, and we wouldn’t be able to deal with food sources that required those big canines. »

stomach acidity

Carnivorous animals swallow their food whole, relying on extremely acidic stomach juices to break down the meat and kill the dangerous bacteria it contains that would otherwise sicken or kill them. Our stomach acids are much weaker in comparison because strong acids are not needed to digest pre-chewed plant foods.

bowel length

Animals that hunt have short digestive tracts and colons that allow meat to pass through their bodies relatively quickly before it rots and causes disease. The gastrointestinal tract of humans is much longer than that of carnivores of comparable size. Longer intestines give the body more time to break down fiber and absorb nutrients from plant foods, but make meat consumption dangerous for humans. Meat bacteria have more time to multiply during the long journey through the digestive system, increasing the risk of food poisoning. Meat actually starts to rot during its journey through the human intestines, increasing the risk of developing colon cancer.

Human evolution and the emergence of meat-rich diets

If eating meat is so unhealthy and goes against the biological disposition of humans, why did our ancestors sometimes turn to meat for sustenance? the author of the book The power of your plateDr. Neal Barnard, talks about the early human diet, explaining that “we had a diet very similar to that of other great apes, that is, a diet that was largely plant-based. [… L]Meat consumption likely started with scavenging leftovers that carnivores left behind. However, our body has never adapted to this. Even today, carnivores have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other problems. »

Briana Pobiner, a paleoanthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, adds: [L]The fruits and the various plants and other things we could eat may have become less available. […] The consumption of meat that we do, or that our ancestors already consumed when we ate meat, is a cultural phenomenon. It takes a certain processing technology to be able to eat meat. […] So I don’t think we were necessarily made to eat meat. »

Milk is an anomaly

Humans began domesticating livestock only 10,000 years ago. Until then, children who were no longer breastfed also stopped producing the enzyme lactase and became lactose intolerant. After the domestication of cattle, however, the human digestive tract began to process dairy products. Groups that do not rely on livestock – such as the Pima tribe, the Chinese and Thais, and the West African Bantus – remain lactose intolerant today.

The unhappy modern diet

Until recently, only the wealthiest people could feed, raise, and slaughter animals for meat, while everyone else ate mostly plant foods. So before 20and century, only the wealthy regularly suffered from diseases such as heart disease and obesity.

Now that animal meat has become relatively cheap and readily available (thanks to the cruel cost-cutting practices of animal husbandry), potentially fatal diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity have spread across the socioeconomic spectrum. And as the Western way of life spread to less developed parts of Asia and Africa, people began to suffer and die from diseases associated with meat-based diets.

Research shows that there is a link between animal protein consumption and cancers of the colon, breast, prostate and pancreas. According to nutrition expert T. Colin Campbell, director of the Cornell-China-Oxford Nutrition, Health and Environment Project, animal protein […] it is one of the most toxic nutrients of all that can be considered. »

If this article has you questioning your current diet, then we’ve got you covered: our free ‘Aspirant’s Guide to Vegan’ with tips and information on how to go vegan.

For animals, the environment and your health, order one today:

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