Are we designed to eat meat? According to Dr. Christina Warinner, a microbiome scientist, anthropologist, and a Professor in theDepartment of Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, no, we’re not. As she states in one of her TEDx talks, “Humans do not have any specialized genetic anatomical or physiological adaptations to meat consumption. By contrast, we have many adaptations to plant consumption.” She was also featured in the recently released popular documentary The Game Changers, where she makes the exact same statement. This is not an appeal to authority, I just think it’s necessary to point to well researched individuals who an provide solid evidence of their hypothesis.
A study published in 2014 in Cell Metabolism found that a diet high in animal protein is strongly associated with a 75 percent increased risk of early death from all causes. It also found that a diet high in animal protein increased risk of premature death from most forms of cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes, by 400 to 500 percent.
What’s interesting that these associations were found with animal protein, and that “These associations were either abolished or attenuated if the proteins were plant derived.
The researchers of the study state:
When the percent calories from animal protein was controlled for, the association between total protein and all-cause or cancer mortality was eliminated or significantly reduced, respectively, suggesting animal proteins are responsible for a significant portion of these relationships. When we controlled for the effect of plant-based protein, there was no change in the association between protein intake and mortality, indicating that high levels of animal proteins promote mortality and not that plant-based proteins have a protective effect.
You can refer to the study for more details.
It’s important to note that this isn’t the only study to point out such strong associations, for example, this study found that people who ate animal protein experience a 60 percent increase in cardiovascular disease , while people whose source of protein were plants experienced a 40 percent *reduction* in cardiovascular disease. It was another big study, 81,000 people were analyzed. Plant protein protected against heart and vascular disease while all meats increased it.
I’ve written a lot about this topic, and gone into much more detail. I was inspired to put out this tidbit of information after watching and being inspired by The Game Changers documentary. In it, I definitely learned learned a lot more interesting information that goes beyond the science.
It addresses many concerns, like where B12 really comes, and how plant foods have all of the essential amino acids, among other interesting facts that are not really well known. One eye opening revelation was that if you look many of the studies that promote meat, eggs and dairy as healthy and necessary, they are predominately funded by the food companies themselves. Many these food companies and associations actually hired a company called “Exponent” to conduct and publish research. What’s interesting is that Exponent inc. was the same company that published research debunking the link between cigarettes (tobacco) and cancer. In fact, for more than 50 years Exponent has generated numerous studies that challenge the health risks of mercury, DDT. glyphosate, arsenic, formaldehyde. alcohol, PCB’s, oil pollution…the list goes on. It seems that they are also doing the same with meat.