This article intends to knell the time-less debate on whether humans are natural vegetarians or not. I personally had been a non-vegetarian for over 20 years and I can say it was more of a conditioned habit than a conscious choice of healthy eating. Eating meat is also something fabled to make you grow healthy and strong, something a vegetarian diet wasn’t supposed to offer. I must also admit that eating much meat never really felt healthy, more like a guilty trip gone bad. Then there was the weight-training community, which I used to be a patron of, who believe that meat is necessary to make up for all the essential amino acids needed by the human body.
The vegetarian movement shook things up, when people opted to go green in the light of animal cruelty and other ethical issues. It was funny how some people went green with their eating habits, just for the sake of being in tune with the trend.
I had my own growing concerns regarding the consumption of meat. Are animals really abused and ill-fed in those facilities? What about the people’s health condition who consume such meat? Do we really need the meat industry for humans to thrive? I often used to question myself whether we were designed to eat meat or not. While I am in no position to settle all the moral debate around this issue, it wouldn’t hurt to figure out the answer behind the big question: Are we natural herbivores or not?
I searched the Internet for some really interesting articles by experts, which led me to some interesting conclusions. This might get the non-vegetarian faction ticked off and hence I keep all personal opinions aside and only incline myself to the facts.
There were plenty of common characteristics observed between a human and a herbivore. I have mentioned some of the most relevant ones:
1) Intestinal length
The intestinal tract length of carnivores is 3-6 times their body length as opposed to herbivores who have 10-12+ times the body length. The likely reason being that digested meat cannot stay for a long period inside and has to be expelled. Humans have the same intestinal tract ratio as herbivores.
2) Stomach Acidity
The stomach acid of a carnivore is 20 times more acidic than that of a herbivore. Human stomach acidity is similar to that of a herbivore.
The saliva of carnivores is acidic whereas herbivores have an alkaline saliva and so do humans. The saliva of carnivores does not contain carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, amylase- which both herbivores and humans do.
4) Sleep Cycle
The sleep pattern observed in humans resembles to that of a herbivore. Carnivores sleep the most.
5) Dietary Fiber
Herbivores need fiber in their diet to move food along the long and convoluted digestive tracts and so do Humans. Carnivores don’t require fibre in their diet.
A carnivore digestive system can handle the cholesterol situation well, which humans cannot. Cholesterol is only found in animal foods and never in plant-based food.
Carnivores deploy hyper-ventilation to regulate body temperature while both, herbivores and humans observe perspiration.
Some non-vegetarian yell-outs:
“But we digest meat don’t we?? Doesn’t that make us omnivore?”
“Plant and protein are two different things!”
“A vegetarian diet is always incomplete!”
“Vitamin B12, you lose!”
“You ain’t a doctor, I win!”
While there are scores of literature available on the web over the vegetarian debate, however, I found this in-depth article on the issue, the most exhaustive one, telling you why humans are biologically herbivores. This would definitely keep the non-vegetarians silenced, if not convinced.