I find it interesting when meat eaters ask vegetarian/vegans why they don’t eat meat. But if you ask a meat eater why they DO eat meat, they can’t provide a valid answer. The most common excuses are “it’s too hard [to give meat up],” or “it tastes good/I love meat,” and of course “humans are meant to eat meat; it’s natural.” People who give these answers have likely not done any research. All of these ‘reasons’ are essentially propaganda used by the meat industry to perpetuate the myth that humans eating meat is natural and good. On a side note – we need to start viewing the meat industry the way we do Big Pharma. It’s an industry focused on making money and has little regard for the people consuming its products. Humans aren’t meant to eat meat. This is something largely agreed upon in the field. There are several reasons for this which are outlined below.
Evolution – many people believe (for some reason) that humans evolved to be meat eaters and that we all therefore need to continue to eat meat to survive. When in fact, early humans had diets like our primate cousins: mainly plant based. We likely began to eat meat scavenging, which may have been necessary during times of scarcity. But we never adapted to it. Meat eaters have higher chances of heart disease, cancer and many other problems. If we were meant to eat meat, we would have adapted to have claws and canine teeth to tear hide and flesh. Instead we have hands, perfect for gathering and harvesting plants, as well as flat molars necessary to grind them down. We also lack the instinct to chase and kill another animal. In fact, we prefer to distance ourselves from the ‘hunting’ process and have our meat packaged. In essence, we don’t even want to think of it as an animal, it is simply a product to purchase at the grocery store.
Biology – Carnivores have more acidic stomachs than humans. They swallow their food whole (due to a lack of molars), and rely on their stomach acid to break down the food. Humans get sick if they eat raw meat and have much weaker stomach acid, unfit for breaking down meat. Carnivores also have very short intestinal tracts (only 3 times their body length), to ensure the meat they eat is processed and disposed of quickly (because it rots fast). This prevents them from gaining excess fat. Herbivores (humans) have an intestinal tract 12 times the body length, taking much longer to process food. This is why meat is more harmful to humans.
Canines don’t make Carnivores – Many people believe that humans have canine teeth because we are natural meat eaters. But this is not the case. Many prominent herbivores have canine teeth (nearly all mammals do), including hippos, gorillas, some deer species, baboons and camels. In fact, hippos have the largest canine teeth of any land mammal, and they eat grass…
Protein – Consuming meat provides humans with twice as much protein as they need which can lead to osteoporosis and kidney stones. “Animal protein raises the acid level in our blood, causing calcium to be excreted from the bones to restore the blood’s natural pH balance. This calcium depletion leads to osteoporosis, and the excreted calcium ends up in the kidneys, where it can form kidney stones or even trigger kidney disease.” In addition, animal protein can lead to several types of cancer and is expected to be named one of the ‘most toxic nutrients’ in the near future.
Health – Real Carnivores don’t get sick from eating meat. Humans do. As noted in the above sections, humans cannot properly digest meat and our bodies aren’t able to process the cholesterol and fat that we take in when we eat meat. This leads to many health problems such as obesity, osteoporosis, kidney stones, multiple types of cancer, diabetes, stokes and shorter life expectancy.
So by all means, go ahead and eat meat. But don’t try to justify it by saying you need it for the protein, or because it’s healthy or natural.