Is eating plants more efficient than animals?
Energy is delivered directly from the sun to plants and we consume them. Animals eat plants and transfer it to their bodies, then we consume energy from the sun secondhand. Isn't plant consumption logically more efficient than animal consumption to get energy?
I guess it depends on how you mean it. Animal flesh gives us more energy ounce-per-ounce since it is much higher in calories. A calorie is a unit of energy.
Since you would have to eat much more plants to get your daily supply of calories (just to survive), I would say plants are less efficient.
You are right that meat provides more calories per ounce, but how many plants did they need to eat to get there? Isn't energy wasted in the process from plant to meat to human consumption?
The amount of calories isn't the only factor. Plants are nutrient-dense, which means our bodies process the calories better. Meat is an overdose of low-quality protein, fats, and cholesterol, which makes people sluggish when they eat it.
It is, but more so because of how much of a negative impact the meat industry has had on the environment. The amount of energy to house, feed, and slaughter animals, in addition to the amount of waste it produces, is staggering when compared to eating plants. So, while eating plants does get us closer to solar energy, I would say it's other reasons that make a plant-based diet more efficient.
As far as energy conversion goes, plants are definitely better. Especially ones with sugars and starches.
But we need proteins and micronutrients like carnosine. Those are far more efficiently derived from animal flesh. In fact there are some micronutrients you can't even get without eating animals (carnosine being one)
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