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Humans Meant to Eat Meat?
When talking with people about the physical
differences between carnivores and humans it has come
up that we have the physical characteristics of both
carnivores and herbivores and therefore were meant to
eat meat. Even though we have more characteristics of
herbivores, it is assumed that since we have a few carnivorous
attributes it follows that meat should be included in
out diet. How would you tackle this? I have quoted the
- We do not have a hinged jaw for ripping
apart flesh but one that is able to grind sideways.
- We have a longer digestive system
so we are better able to get the nutrients from our
foods as opposed to the shorter tract that carnivores
have to enable them to pass the meat through their
body before it becomes rancid.
- It has been put forward that we have
incisors for tearing flesh, but I have always thought
that these were for cropping the harder vegetables.
- We do not have claws or talons for
- The enzymes in our saliva that start
breaking down the food in our mouths and the early
part of our digestive tract are of a low acidity level
and in alignment with a plant based diet.
I would greatly appreciate any ideas
or thoughts that you may have on this subject.
There has been much dissension among
scientists regarding the topic of human physiology and
diet, and opinions have spanned the continuum from one
end to the other. The fact is, human physiology does
not fit neatly into any of the three major categories
of mammalian diets: carnivorous, herbivorous, or omnivorous.
We have a few traits from each of these classifications,
which makes it easy for researchers to "prove" their
position merely by pointing out those characteristics
that suit their particular opinion.
It is often suggested that specific
features of human anatomy or physiology dictate our
behavior. However, from the perspective of diet, our
physical makeup only prescribes our nutritional requirements,
not how specific nutrients must be obtained. For instance,
although we have a nutritional need for iron, there
are many dietary sources of iron. Nutritionally speaking,
it is irrelevant whether we get our iron from plant
or animal sources; what matters is simply that we get
The argument that "biology is destiny"
is typically used to justify a particular eating style.
In that light, we must acknowledge that humans are the
only species on Earth that appears to have no idea what
its ideal diet should be. We are also the only species
that has self-inflicted diet-related diseases, caused
extensive environmental destruction through basic food
production, and created pathogenic infestations that
widely infect our food supply.
This type of reasoning also blatantly
ignores a critical element of human evolution -- the
aspect of choice. The arguments that "humans are meant
to eat meat" or " humans have always eaten meat" are
certainly no rational defenses for its continuation.
If we were to accept this type of twisted logic, we
would also have to say that humans have always murdered,
raped, enslaved, and committed other heinous acts that
our culture today finds reprehensible. Unlike most other
animals, humans can choose what foods to eat. Sadly,
our poor choices in the past have ravaged our land;
fouled our air and waterways; heaped immeasurable suffering
upon other species; and undermined our own health.
Our ability to digest a wide variety
of foods undoubtedly contributed to our species' survival
throughout history. Today, however, our dietary choices
have more to do with tradition, culture, economics,
politics, and availability than with some predetermined
fate. It is time for our species to behave responsibly
and select those foods that best sustain the Earth,
the animals, and ourselves. Only then can we truly say
we that humans have evolved in body, spirit, and wisdom.
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