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Humans Were Not Created To Eat Meat - Vegetarian Diet Is Healthier

Updated on August 18, 2015

Why Be a Vegetarian

There are many reasons why you should have a more vegetarian diet, to include reducing animal cruelty, helping the environment, decreasing world hunger, protecting worker's rights, and bettering your health.

  • Animals in meat factories have no legal protection. They can be beat and abused to no end (mutilated, genetic manipulation, and neglect), and there's nothing that anyone can do about it.
  • The United State's meat production poisons and depletes ware, land, and air. Animal agriculture causes 130 times more waste than the human population does by polluting the land, water, and air.
  • Raising animals for food is inefficient because it takes up more supplies and resources, and costs more. By growing crops, we could easily feed every human on the planet with healthy foods, causing less pollution and for cheaper.
  • Working in animal agriculture is one of the most dangerous jobs, and the overall industry has refused to create safe working conditions by supplying workers with safety equipment and slowing own the slaughter lines all because it'll cut into profits.
  • By removing meat from your diet, or at least strongly reducing the amount of meat that you eat, you can potentially raise your immune system and protect your body against heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, and many types of cancer. 

Plus, humans were never built to eat meat. We were not designed for it, we have evolved enough to be able to digest meat.

We're Conditioned to Eat Meat

As studies have proven, we're just not meant to eat meat, but humans still hunt, kill, and eat meat. We still raise livestock to kill and serve on the dinner table. We're just conditioned to do it.

For most of human history, we have lived off of a vegetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which means a there is a lack of all beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish, or animal flesh in the diet, but dairy and eggs are a part of the diet.

Some believe that humans are supposed to be omnivores, but if you consider the characteristics of an omnivore, they will more closely resemble those of a carnivore than a herbivore, and humans will still have more characteristics that closely resemble a herbivore.

When people eat meat, it decays within about 4 hours, but the remnants hang around and cling to the walls of the stomach and intestines for 3 to 4 days if not longer. Because our saliva is alkaline, it does not break down the meat as it should, which is why it lingers in our digestive tract a little longer.

If you look at true meat eaters, like lions and tigers, they kill their prey and tear directly into the stomach where the blood filled organs are. They need the nutrients from the stomach, liver, and intestines. When we cook raw meat, we are cooking out a lot of the necessary nutrients that true meat eaters need to survive, so if we were meant to eat meat, we would eat it raw and bloody.

Even carnivores who run across prey that has been burned in a fire don't eat their meat cooked.

Humans have adapted their bodies and digestive systems to eat and digest meat.

Compare Characteristics of Carnivores, Herbivores, and Humans

Meat Eaters
Have claws
No claws
No Claws
Skin Pores
Have no skin pores and prespire through the tongue
Prespire through skin pores
Prespire through skin pores
Intestinal Tract
Have an intestinal tract that is only 3 times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass through faster
Have an instestinal tract that is 10 to 12 times their body length
Have an instestinal tract that is 10 to 12 times their body length
Intestinal Shape
Have bowels that are smooth and shaped like a pipe, so that meat passes through quickly
Have bowels that are bumpy and pouch-like with lots of pockets so that plant matter can pass through slowly for optimal nutrient absorption
Have bowels that are bumpy and pouch-like with lots of pockets so that plant matter can pass through slowly for optimal nutrient absorption
Stomach Acid
Have strong hydrochloric acid in the stomach to digest meat
Have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat eater
Have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat eater
Salivary Glands
Have salivary glands in the mouth that aren't needed to pre-digest grains and fruits.
Have well-developed salivary glands that are needed to pre-digest grains and fruits
Have well-developed salivary glands that are needed to pre-digest grains and fruits
Have acidic saliva without the enzyme ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Have alkaline saliva with the ptyalin ezyme to pre-digest grains
Have alkaline saliva with the ptyalin ezyme to pre-digest grains
Have sharp front teeth to pull meat off the bone, and do not have flat molars for chewing; canine teeth are lower than the other teeth and used for attacking; teeth are also jagged and interlocking to hold onto prey
Have flat front teeth not built for pulling meat off the bone; and have flat molars for chewing; canine teeth fairly align with the rest of the teeth so not designed for attacking prey; teeth are fitted closely together
Have flat front teeth not built for pulling meat off the bone; and have flat molars for chewing; canine teeth fairly align with the rest of the teeth so not designed for attacking prey; teeth are fitted closely together
Have jaws that move only in an up and down motion; also have jaws that project forward from the face in order to best hold onto prey
Have jaws that can move backward and foward, up and down, and side to side, which is ideal to grind grains; jaw is set close to the face
Have jaws that can move backward and foward, up and down, and side to side, which is ideal to grind grains; jaw is set close to the face
Looking at the characteristics of the herbivore and a human, we closely resemble the herbivore.

Eating Meat is Bad for Human Health

People who do not eat meat or have a highly reduced meat diet, live longer, have lower cancer rates, and have higher IQs.

Men who eat red meat (even leave red meat) 4 to 5 times a week will have 4 times the risk of developing colon cancer than men who only eat meat as a main meal once a month, or less. It's thought that when red meat is cooked, carcinogens are created which may cause the increased risk of colon cancer.

But, even chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, quail, fish, eggs, sausages, mince, and beef are all highly acidic when digested. Diets that are rich in acidic forming foods has been proven to increase risks of illnesses and disease because the high acidity causes an accumulation of debris and mucous in the colon, which reduced the immune system's ability to eliminate toxins from the body.

Because the human digestive tract is not built to properly digest food, it takes the body longer to digest the meat than it will fruits, vegetables, and fiber, which means the food sits in the body longer, creating fats. You'll find that people that have big bellies, other than pregnant women, generally have a swollen bowel. If they tense up their abdomen, there's usually going to be about 1 to 2 inches of fat, and the rest intestines.

And because the structure of meat protein is more complex than other sources of protein, such as from fiber and plants, it puts more strain on the liver, which causes half digested protein molecules to enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc on the body.

Vegetable proteins are much easier for the human body to digest so they do not toxify the body the same way. Humans can survive on a vegetarian diet because the proteins that one can absorb from vegetable proteins are much more concentrated, so you don't have to eat as much of it in order to get the same amount of protein that you would from meat, and it's easier for the body to digest.

High Protein Foods

Food Protein by Concentration (percent measured by weight)
Soy beans, kidney beans, chick peas, lentils, etc.
10% to 35%
Almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazel nuts, pine nuts, etc.
14% to 30%
Tofu (from soya)
Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
18% to 24%
Gluten (from flour)

Healthy Vegetarian Diet

If you're thinking about becoming a vegetarian for any reason, you'll want to make sure that you can keep a healthy diet.

It's important that you keep a well balanced diet, that includes dark leafy greens, varied vegetables, plenty of fruits, and of course vitamins and minerals. You want to eat products that have proteins in them to help supplement your diet; eat tofu, soy, nuts, and texturized vegetable proteins (soy meat). These will have less fats and fewer calories, which is healthier for you.

Depending on what type of vegetarian you want to be, you may be cutting out eggs and dairy. You may want to find a substitute, which can include the following.

  • Milk- Fortified soymilk, rice milk, or almond mill
  • Butter- Olive oil, water, vegetable broth, wine or fat-free cooking spray for sauteing, but canola oil when baking
  • Cheese- Soy cheese or nutritional yeast flakes
  • Eggs- Commercial egg replacers are good for baked goods, or to replace one egg, you can mix 1/4 cup whipped tofu or 1 tablespoon of milled flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water

When it comes to your vitamins and minerals, you'll want to make sure that you get plenty of calcium for strong bones and muscles; vitamin B12 to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia; iron for red blood cells; and zinc which is an essential component of many enzymes and to aid cell division and in the formation of proteins.

You can get the vitamins you need by the following alternatives:

  • Calcium- Low-fat dairy foods and dark green vegetables (spinach, turnip and collard greens, kale, and broccoli); tofu enriched with calcium; fortified soy milk; fruit juices
  • Vitamin B12- Almost exclusive to animal products like milk, eggs and cheese; but you can use enriched cereals, fortified soy products, and/or a supplement as an alternative
  • Iron- Dried beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, dark leafy green vegetables, and dried fruit; eat foods rich in Vitamin C (strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage, and broccoli) in order to help absorb the iron from non-animal products
  • Zinc- Whole grains, soy products, nuts, and wheat germ.

Vegetarian Food Pyramid


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    • Marquis profile image

      Marquis 4 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

      Humans eat meat.

      Always have and always will.

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Dr. McDougall's patients do better on a vegan diet than on a meaty diet. The reason is the animal products clog their arteries and give them heart disease. That is why I think this article is right on.

    • profile image

      Joana 4 years ago

      Meat makes me ill for many reasons.

    • profile image

      Andy Valdez 4 years ago

      I'm sorry, could I get your full list of scholarly articles that prove humans were not created to eat meat? All you mention is that at minimum so we stop animal cruelty. How is that proof that we were not made to eat meat?!

    • profile image

      Kailash Menon 5 years ago

      apes are veggies and hairy, humans ...well eh!...there are still some of us who look like apes..maybe their ancestors took time to accept the change that was needed ....sure did save a lot of money of the women from bathing in hair removal lotions....

    • profile image

      Hannibal 5 years ago

      I am a biology student at uni, and I can tell you that most of this is crap, especially the table comparing carnivores, herbivores and humans. Confirmation bias much? But seriously, don't listen to this person. They're full of shit. Evidently their neural growth was stunted by insufficient meat intake as a young child. Sorry about the lack of amino acids that led to your stupidity :(

    • profile image

      The Dude 5 years ago

      This article is REAAAAALLY bad science. And if people here aren't smart enough to know why, then they aren't smart enough to grasp an explanation as to why. U find bad pseudo-science like this in other areas. I liken this article to a Christian apologist trying to convince us the grand canyon was carved out in one gigantic flood. They take scientific principles, and twist them to mean what they want it to mean. Stomach acid in humans is "20 times weaker than meat eaters." How do you know? Where do u get that fact? How do you know that the stomach acid of every meat eating animal is the same strength and ours just happens to be weaker? This is bad bad science, bad logic, leading to a laughable conclusion. Humans are the evolved, modern animals we are today precisely BECAUSE we ate meat. I accidentally came across this article. But I felt the need to post. Whoever wrote this dribble is doing humanity a disservice.

    • HarperDavis profile image

      HarperDavis 5 years ago from Midwest

      Nice article. I too believe while our bodies can handle meat we weren't necessarily created, evolved, whatever word you want to use to consume it. I'm not a nutritionist by any means, but after having a significant portion of my intestines removed, going vegetarian was the only thing that made me feel better four years after my illness.

    • profile image

      Ashamed with the the World 5 years ago

      Wow, no offense but you are stupid if you think humans aren't made to eat meat. Go back and read the first chapter in Genesis of the Bible. God gave us animals for food. Meat is an important protein we need to survive. Yeah, treatment of animals raised for slaughter is sometimes (but not always1) cruel, and they could be treated more humanely and (some of them) not pumped up on so much steroids, but just because of that reason people shouldn't stop eating meat. We are humans. We are omnivores. We were made to eat meat. Seriously, whoever did these so called "studies" to show humans weren't made to eat meat, they need to go right back to school and learn the truth.

    • profile image

      Laura 5 years ago

      I am a nutritionist, a vegan and very healthy. I have extensively studied the human body via nutrition, digestive disorders and comparisons of other animals to humans in regards to diet. This article is actually right on. The comments from some individuals I am confident do not have the education to back up their statements...only the denial which allows them to continue a poor diet consisting of meats. Many people enjoy meats so much they are willing to lie to themselves and pretend they know what they are saying is true.

    • Ramsa1 profile image

      Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World

      Thanks for this great hub. I eat very little meat, mainly chicken, and I'm working on cutting back even more.

      I'm aware of the horrible ways animals, including chicken, are treated before they reach our tables.

    • profile image

      Rick 5 years ago

      With grains and legumes being much harder on the human digestive tract than meat, saying that they are better sources of protein simply isn't true. Obviously eating raw meat is a bad idea, but have you ever tried eating raw grains or legumes? It can't be done. Humans don't have the digestive tract of birds. Plant sources don't offer b12 that is bioavailable to humans. Algea and other plant sources contain b12 analogues, not actual b12. Eating meat is what sparked human evolution. Not eating it is actually like going backwards.

    • profile image

      War Bevo 5 years ago

      If this is the case, please tell me why gluten is harder on the human body that ANY other non toxic substance. Every single person is at least gluten sensitive, if not completely intolerant to its effects on the human body. If everyone followed your food pyramid, a majority of people would have adverse side effects.

    • profile image

      deal 5 years ago

      I think you have it backwards--humans were created to eat meat and then our physical traits evolved as our brains evolved. Basically, because our teeth have canines and you believe we weren't created to eat meat then you're saying we evolved to eat it. Which seems more likely? There's really no argument whether humans are supposed to eat meat.

    • Harmander S. Maan profile image

      Harmander S. Maan 5 years ago

      John Holden, well said.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 6 years ago from New Zealand

      You sure ruffled a few feathers with this hub but I loved it. I remember reading some of those characteristics of digestive systems when I first went vegetarian some 20 plus years ago so I could argue with my father who didn't expect me to survive very long. Aside from not wanting to eat animals, meat has so many additives these days such as hormones that people cannot be sure what they are eating.

    • greentidings profile image

      greentidings 6 years ago from

      Interesting article. Did you know that chlorella contains 3 times MORE B12 than animal liver (the supposed "highest source" of B12)?

    • lozncaz profile image

      lozncaz 6 years ago

      full of great info. hopefully some meat eaters will bother to read this and better their health and compassion.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      That's definitely what I'm trying to get at. We evolved to meat eaters, but we were not initially created as such.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney

      Whitney, I think the problem is that humans weren't suddenly 'created' - we evolved from something else, and you could argue that evolving/adapting to eating meat was just part of the same continuum.

      What do you say to the contention that without the introduction of meat, our brains wouldn't have been able to evolve to where they are now?

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