5

votes

Only herbivores get atherosclerosis?

Commented on April 23, 2015
Created April 14, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Is atherosclerosis a disease affecting all animals or only certain animals?

Atherosclerosis affects only herbivores. Dogs, cats, tigers, and lions can be saturated with fat and cholesterol, and atherosclerotic plaques do not develop (1, 2). The only way to produce atherosclerosis in a carnivore is to take out the thyroid gland; then, for some reason, saturated fat and cholesterol have the same effect as in herbivores.

Are human beings herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Although most of us conduct our lives as omnivores, in that we eat flesh as well as vegetables and fruits, human beings have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores (2). The appendages of carnivores are claws; those of herbivores are hands or hooves. The teeth of carnivores are sharp; those of herbivores are mainly flat (for grinding). The intestinal tract of carnivores is short (3 times body length); that of herbivores, long (12 times body length). Body cooling of carnivores is done by panting; herbivores, by sweating. Carnivores drink fluids by lapping; herbivores, by sipping. Carnivores produce their own vitamin C, whereas herbivores obtain it from their diet. Thus, humans have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores.

Source http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1312295/


It's not infrequent on here that I see people calling themselves carnivores and that fruits cause diabetes... treat vegetables as a garnish. I've heard Rob Wolff say that you can't get heart disease on a paleo diet.."it just doesn't happen" he says. Well, what do we make of the fact that we humans get heart disease but are supposedly evolved to a diet rich in fatty animal products? What are your thoughts?

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on April 15, 2013
at 06:34 PM

There's no "they" there. The paper Stephen quoted is from the _Journal of Comparative Pathology_, a medium-impact international veteranary science journal. The OP's source is a probably-not-even-peer-reviewed opinion piece from _Proceedings of Baylor University Medical Center_, a tiny journal about work done at one hospital system in Dallas. Just because a journal is archived in pubmed, that doesn't mean it's authoritative.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 03:12 PM

@ stephen- yeah I do eat greens everyday. @ CD- thanks for the reply.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on April 15, 2013
at 03:09 PM

No. I think we are omnivores, but so were neanderthals. I just don't buy that neaderthals couldn't subsist on their environment. Especially when you look at occupancy charts -- they died off when we took over their territory.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on April 15, 2013
at 03:09 PM

Awesome, Maybe include some greens too ;)). (Solid source of vitamin k (cooked turnip greens/kale or something)).

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on April 15, 2013
at 03:06 PM

Yea, I'm not sure how he slipped that in, I tried following his sources (1 and 2) but wasn't able to find the papers he was basing that on. I just found another one though where they seem to have triggered atherosclerosis lesions in normal domestic cats over a 2-4 month cholesterol enriched diet period. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9389784 .

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 03:05 PM

Wonderful! Roots and meat is then (for me anyways) :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 03:04 PM

Wonderful. Roots and meat it is then :)

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on April 15, 2013
at 03:00 PM

(a) Our guts are smaller because we had access to concentrated calories, I can't say it was because of carbs or fat specifically, I don't know or know if we have access to that detailed of a fossil record. (b) How long have we had more copies of amylase than any other animal in existence? (c) We had intermittent ice ages over the last 110,000 years or so, but most of that time the humans that we evolved from were in one of the warmer parts of the world (middle of africa) so WE probably never absolutely HAD to adapt to an all meat diet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:57 PM

...as of now though I'm going to stick to the combination of roots and meat for the majority of my meals :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:53 PM

damnit why can't we just a have a clear window into the past!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:52 PM

I wonder about that. I think we're just not meant to eat the same quantity of calorie poor and fiber rich vegetation. BUt calorie dense foods like tubers (underground storage organs) I believe played a pivotal role in human evolution. There are plenty of scientific articles available online supporting this theory.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:49 PM

@ CD - So does that mean you think we're carnivores?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:45 PM

That's one theory. I subscribe to the competitive replacement -- we had better technology -- specifically projectiles -- coupled with advantageous anatomical differences (longer limbs, lower caloric need).

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:37 PM

I think yes and no. That being that we do indeed need this flora to "digest" vegetable matter. But it appears that we are certainly not suited to eat vegetation in the quantities that herbivores do, we do not have the same digestive system to handle it.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:30 PM

Okay. So then grass rots in ruminant colon and fruits/leaves rot in primate colons. Is that bad though? Isn't that the whole reason gut flora balance is so crucial to good health? I don't know I'm asking.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:27 PM

? .

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:27 PM

...I mean I thought that one theory proposes that we survived after the ice age was over and neanderthals did not was because neanderthals needed big game and we could subsist on a much larger variety of food sources.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:24 PM

Okay. So then grass rots in ruminant colon and fruits/leaves rot in primate colons. Is that bad?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:22 PM

^ I've watched that before. I think it's a great talk and I don't know enough about human evolution to know whether he's 100% right or not, but I thought (a) the reasons our guts are small is because we learned how to eat concentrated food sources (roots and tubers, honey, nuts) and not JUST meat, (b) why do we have more copies of amylase than any other animal in existence and (c) how long did the ice age exist in that (i) we even had time to fully adapt to 90%+ meat diet and (ii) are you sure he's not talking about neanderthals?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:22 PM

Quote: "rot \ˈrät\ (verb) — to undergo decomposition from the action of bacteria or fungi."

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:18 PM

haha. Great. I wonder why they allowed him publish that "factoid" if it wasn't true? Maybe he was talking about wild dogs (i.e. wolves) but IDK. Thanks brah.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:17 PM

by "rot" don'y you mean ferment?

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on April 15, 2013
at 01:16 PM

Devil's Advocate: missinghumanmanual.com/?p=859 7:30->

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on April 15, 2013
at 01:16 PM

Devil's Advocate: http://missinghumanmanual.com/?p=859 7:30->

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 01:33 AM

why vote to close?

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

4 Answers

4
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on April 15, 2013
at 01:12 PM

No, according to this ncbi dogs can also get athersclerosis lesions similar to humans. - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9595351 .

Fa0f81df75e8962d521755aaedf0e092

on April 23, 2015
at 11:06 PM

That argument is a strawman. 

Yes, carnivores and omnivores can get atherosclerosis, but NOT from dietary cholesterol

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on April 15, 2013
at 06:34 PM

There's no "they" there. The paper Stephen quoted is from the _Journal of Comparative Pathology_, a medium-impact international veteranary science journal. The OP's source is a probably-not-even-peer-reviewed opinion piece from _Proceedings of Baylor University Medical Center_, a tiny journal about work done at one hospital system in Dallas. Just because a journal is archived in pubmed, that doesn't mean it's authoritative.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:18 PM

haha. Great. I wonder why they allowed him publish that "factoid" if it wasn't true? Maybe he was talking about wild dogs (i.e. wolves) but IDK. Thanks brah.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on April 15, 2013
at 03:06 PM

Yea, I'm not sure how he slipped that in, I tried following his sources (1 and 2) but wasn't able to find the papers he was basing that on. I just found another one though where they seem to have triggered atherosclerosis lesions in normal domestic cats over a 2-4 month cholesterol enriched diet period. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9389784 .

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on April 15, 2013
at 01:16 PM

Devil's Advocate: http://missinghumanmanual.com/?p=859 7:30->

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on April 15, 2013
at 03:07 PM

All I have are questions that, if I were studying this, I would need to answer:

The OP article seems to divide carnivores and herbivores -- then says we are omnivores.

Are there other species as diverse omnivores (chickens and pigs come to mind) as humans?

Do we see atherosclerosis in them?

Also, the article Stephen links to --

Were all of the cases of canine systemic atherosclerosis domesticated dogs eating a grain/meat diet (like most dogs)?

Final question,

Is any of this related to our longer lifespan? -- If humans were designed to have life spans of 45-60 years. We have added 30+ years through modern medicine and sanitation in a time span of about 150 years. I wonder how much of our diseased states -- cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, etc -- are a function of age. Yes obesity is getting worse for children, but are the rest? Are these not neolithic diseases, but rather diseases of age? The body has to breakdown at some point -- it is a perishable good. No one would be surprised if a 15 year old car was constantly breaking down -- why are we surprised when 60 year olds do?

Look at: http://www.aging.senate.gov/crs/aging1.pdf

Table 1 says that life expectancy in the US went from 1900 (49.2) to 2003 (77.5). That is 28.3 years on average in the span of 103 years.

Juxtapose with Table 2, Age-adjusted date rates -- Heart Disease, Cerebrovascular diseases, Influenza and pneumonia, and Unintentional injures have dropped off significantly, whereas Malignant neoplasms (Cancer?), Diabetes, Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, and Mellitus have largely stayed the same. -- More importantly nothing has gone up significantly (diabetes is up, but the source document suggests 5 point significance).

So the total amount of people with the various diseases has gone up, the actual age-adjusted rates have dropped or stayed the same. One interpretation is that the magnitude changes are driven by a significantly higher number of people living into the upper age ranges.

2
5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

on April 15, 2013
at 05:54 AM

Yes, carnivores can eat all the fat and meat and not get atherosclerosis because it doesn't raise their cholesterol. If you play around with their thyroid and their cholesterol rises they also develop atherosclerosis. All animal studies that have raised the cholesterol above physiological normal values have developed plaque build up. I honestly don't know what makes people think that having cholesterol levels twice as high as normal is a smart idea. I used to think the same thing but I discovered it's hardly an intelligent long term strategy.

Humans aren't carnivores and we can't eat all the meat and saturated fat we want without it affecting our cholesterol, but we also aren't herbivores in the sense that we easily develop atherosclerosis from tiny amounts of fat. We are somewhere in between.

As far as Robbs claim that people don't have heart attacks on paleo, that's just silly. Their was a paleo diet blogger a few months back who died of a heart attack. There was a lot of condolence messages and then the blog got taken down.

1
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 15, 2013
at 01:44 PM

Are human beings herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

I think this probably helps with determining the answer to your question...

Does Meat Rot In Your Colon? No. What Does? Beans, Grains, and Vegetables!: http://www.gnolls.org/1444/

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:30 PM

Okay. So then grass rots in ruminant colon and fruits/leaves rot in primate colons. Is that bad though? Isn't that the whole reason gut flora balance is so crucial to good health? I don't know I'm asking.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:57 PM

...as of now though I'm going to stick to the combination of roots and meat for the majority of my meals :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:24 PM

Okay. So then grass rots in ruminant colon and fruits/leaves rot in primate colons. Is that bad?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:37 PM

I think yes and no. That being that we do indeed need this flora to "digest" vegetable matter. But it appears that we are certainly not suited to eat vegetation in the quantities that herbivores do, we do not have the same digestive system to handle it.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:22 PM

Quote: "rot \ˈrät\ (verb) — to undergo decomposition from the action of bacteria or fungi."

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:53 PM

damnit why can't we just a have a clear window into the past!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:52 PM

I wonder about that. I think we're just not meant to eat the same quantity of calorie poor and fiber rich vegetation. BUt calorie dense foods like tubers (underground storage organs) I believe played a pivotal role in human evolution. There are plenty of scientific articles available online supporting this theory.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 15, 2013
at 02:17 PM

by "rot" don'y you mean ferment?

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!