The Daily Beet

17 Jun Is Eating Meat Natural??

 

Is meat a natural?

Meat. A natural?

Below are some great talking points and ammo you can fire back when that obnoxious uncle tries to justify his meat eating ways with a silly comment like, “why else were we given canines.”

Here is an article by Kathy Freston on why she thinks, “Eating meat is a relatively recent phenomenon in human evolution. And our bodies have never adapted to it.”

Going through the reader feedback on some of my recent articles, I noticed the frequently stated notion that eating meat was an essential step in human evolution. While this notion may comfort the meat industry, it’s simply not true, scientifically. 

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus at Cornell University and author of The China Study (please check out the link), explains that in fact, we only recently (historically speaking) began eating meat, and that the inclusion of meat in our diet came well after we became who we are today. He explains that “the birth of agriculture only started about 10,000 years ago at a time when it became considerably more convenient to herd animals. This is not nearly as long as the time [that] fashioned our basic biochemical functionality (at least tens of millions of years) and which functionality depends on the nutrient composition of plant-based foods.” 

That jibes with what Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine President Dr. Neal Barnard says in his book, The Power of Your Plate, in which he explains that “early humans had diets very much like other great apes, which is to say a largely plant-based diet, drawing on foods we can pick with our hands. Research suggests that meat-eating probably began by scavenging — eating the leftovers that carnivores had left behind. However, our bodies have never adapted to it. To this day, meat-eaters have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems.”  

There is no more authoritative source on anthropological issues than paleontologist Dr. Richard Leakey, who explains what anyone who has taken an introductory physiology course might have discerned intuitively — that humans are herbivores. Leakey notes that “[y]ou can’t tear flesh by hand, you can’t tear hide by hand … We wouldn’t have been able to deal with food source that required those large canines” (although we have teeth that are called “canines,” they bear little resemblance to the canines of carnivores).  

Click here for the full article: http://www.alternet.org/story/140643

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Rip Esselstyn

As a firefighter for the Austin Fire Department, he helped people and saved lives. As a friend to other firefighters, he transformed the way Austin ’s Engine 2 firehouse ate in order to save a firefighting brother’s health. Now, as the author of The Engine 2 Diet, Rip is teaching people the irrefutable connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their ideal weight and their ideal health.

  • Sophie

    Hi,
    I just wanted to comment on the article as I am somewhat confused by the quote:

    “He explains that “the birth of agriculture only started about 10,000 years ago at a time when it became considerably more convenient to herd animals. This is not nearly as long as the time [that] fashioned our basic biochemical functionality (at least tens of millions of years) and which functionality depends on the nutrient composition of plant-based foods”.
    This statement by Dr. Campbell assumes that, just because we did not farm animals before this time, we did not eat animals, which is certainly not true. Whilst humans lived in small tribal communities, we hunted wild animals (please see the below comment addressing this).

    Dr. Leakeys comment that we can’t tear flesh with our hands is certainly a fair one, however it assumes that humans killed and tore meat apart with only their hands…
    This forgets that humans have used tools for millions of years, a key factor in the development of our species…
    In reference to the comments about the human hand, I don’t think anyone would try to say that humans are not built to eat plants/fruits/nuts etc, the hands clearly show our adaptation to eating these things. No one is saying we weren’t built to eat these foods, as we clearly are, but that is not to say that we weren’t built to eat meat also. We have many physiological adaptions to eating meat, not to mention a biological need for some nutrients which we only really get from meat.

    Thank you for your time :)