Are humans meant to eat meat? What are the differences between humans and true carnivores? Let’s take a look at our biological, physiological, and psychological capacity for eating meat.
One of the most common arguments against a vegan diet is that it’s natural for us to eat meat. You often hear this paired with with phrase, “If we weren’t meant to eat meat, then what are these for?!”—while vigorously pointing at one’s canine teeth. Sadly, moderately pointed teeth in an otherwise capped-tooth mouth do not a carnivore make.
It’s time for Humans vs. Carnivores!
- Tongues: Only the true carnivorous animals have rasping, or rough tongues. All other creatures have smooth tongues, including humans.
- Births: Humans usually have children one at a time. Carnivores typically give birth to litters.
- Mammary glands: The multiple teats on the abdomen of carnivores do not coincide with a pair of mammary glands on the chest of humans, despite your many pubescent fantasies.
- Sleep: Humans spend roughly 2/3 of every 24 cycle actively awake. Carnivores typically sleep and rest from 18 to 20 hours per day, and sometimes more.
- Perspiration: Humans sweat from pores on their entire body, carnivores sweat from the tongue only.
- Drinking: Should we need to drink water, we cannot lap it up. Carnivores tongues protrude outward, so they can lap water when they need to drink.
- Jaw movement: Our ability to grind our food is unique to plant eaters. Meat eaters have no lateral movement in their jaws.
- Dental formula: Molars of a carnivore are pointed and sharp. Ours are primarily flat for mashing food. Our canine teeth bear no resemblance to actual things, nor do we have a mouth full of them as a true carnivore does. We think that our puny canines qualify us for eating meat? We should really take a long hard look at the canines of other non-carnivorous animals.
- Claws: Our lack of claws makes ripping skin or tough flesh extremely difficult. We possess much weaker, flat fingernails instead. We could no more catch and rip the skin or tough flesh of a deer, barehanded, the a lion could pick mangoes or bananas. So if you think it’s a good idea to do a sneak attack on a wildebeest, take it down with your menacing canines, and flesh grabbing claws, you my friend, are going to get Mufasa-ed. It’s not just that we don’t have the capacity to fell our own prey, but we are also biologically and physiologically not designed to consume meat.
- Diet pH: Carnivores thrive on a diet of acid forming foods, whereas such a diet is deadly to humans, setting the stage for a wide variety of diseases. All of the plant eating creatures, including healthy humans, maintain alkaline saliva in urine most of the time. The saliva and urine of the meat eating animals, however, is acidic. The stomach acid of a carnivore is at least 10 times stronger than that of a human, and can be 100 or even 1000 times stronger.
- Intestinal length: Our intestinal tract measures roughly 12 times the length of our torsos, about 30 feet. This allows for the slow absorption of sugars and other waterborne nutrients. In contrast, the digestive tract of a carnivore is only three times the length of its torso. This is necessary to avoid rotting or decomposition of the flesh inside the animal. You can watch nugget number four to hear a little bit more about meat rotting in your colon.
- Microbial tolerance: Most carnivores can digest microbes that would be deadly for humans, such as the bacteria that causes botulism.
- Tolerance for fat: We do not handle more than small quantities of fat well. Meat eaters thrive on a high-fat diet.
- Uricase: True carnivores secrete an enzyme called uricase to metabolize the uric acid in flesh. Humans secrete none. And so, must neutralize this strong acid with our alkaline minerals, primarily calcium. The resulting calcium urate crystals are one of the many pathogens of meat eating. In this case giving rise or contributing to gout, arthritis, rheumatism, and bursitis. thus, the dairy that you’re drinking to help your bones is actually leaching the calcium from them.
- Natural appetite: Meat eaters mouths water at the site of prey. They react to the smell of animals as though they sense food. For most people the sights and smells of a slaughterhouse factory farm are so objectionable, that the industry takes great pains to hide these from us, even going so far as making it a criminal act to show the reality of our food production. We kill our animals by proxy. Finding the actual carcass or corpse to be a thing of disgust. we disguise animal flesh by eating only small cuts of muscle and some organ meats. Even then we prefer to cook them and camouflage them with condiments. We disguise the reality of meat by changing the name of the foods from what they really are, to something more acceptable. we do not eat cow, pig, or sheep, but rather mutton, pork, ham, beef, steak, and veal. And while we don’t talk about being excited to eat blood and lymph, we do get worked up over a juicy steak.
So the next time you’re driving down the highway and you see some roadkill, rotting out in the sun, if you start to salivate, then yeah, perhaps you’re meant to eat meat.
Hope you enjoyed this little “showdown” between humans and carnivores.
— Emily Moran Barwick