5

votes

How to Counter Arguments for Veganism?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 06, 2013 at 12:24 AM

http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/natural.html

I'm pretty new to paleo, I decided to eat this way after I found out I had celiac disease, but I'm not sure how to counter some of the arguments for an ideal human diet being vegan. Here are the points the author makes that are the most convincing to me:

*Humans are anatomically adapted to eat plants (even if we and the other hominids chose/had to cook and eat meat).

*The human brain's calorie demands could have been met with starchy vegetables and not necessarily meat (this was what I considered one of the best arguments for meat eating).

Also this part was interesting to me:

"Cats are obligate carnivores (they must live on a diet primarily of meat) and their taste buds reflect this by having abandoned the tongue sensors that respond to sweet-tasting carbohydrates. Dogs are omnivores (they have retained both kinds of taste buds) those enjoying carbohydrates and amino acids. Humans tongues respond pleasurably to sweet (carbohydrates), but have lost the taste for amino acids, placing us undeniably in the category of herbivores (plant eaters)."

I like meat and eat it, and I'm not morally against eating it, but I want to do what is best for my health regardless. Also I tried to eat some liver tonight and I was completely repulsed by the smell and taste of it. if I was a real carnivore wouldn't it be more appealing to me? I thought that carnivores love to eat the livers of animals!

So I'm interested in what an intellectually-inclined paleo-ist would say to these arguments...

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 12, 2013
at 06:02 AM

Thanks, much appreciated.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on June 11, 2013
at 09:40 PM

Contact Dr. Tim Jackson on the MTHFR support group on FB. Tell him I sent you his way. HE is extremely knowledgeable and I did a podcast with him and Sterling Hill on the their site about this very issue. Good Luck.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 11, 2013
at 05:47 PM

By the way your bang on about Veganism and poor methylators. I fell apart on a vegan diet, it didn't even take that long either. After about 6 months I started feeling like shite.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 11, 2013
at 05:43 PM

Hey Doc, so I've found out recently that I have a homozygous mutation for A1298c, CBS A360A, COMT V158M, and COMT H62H and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. There seems to be little info about some of these mutations, even on the methylation forums. I don't expect you to go into any detail but a nudge in the right direction would be appreciated, thanks man.

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on January 07, 2013
at 11:10 PM

Exactly :) .

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on January 07, 2013
at 07:10 PM

I agree with your answer. Not one of the first two is an argument against why we should eat meat, they are statements about why we can eat vegetables and get enough energy to survive from them. Which is true...

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on January 07, 2013
at 03:07 AM

I'm not at all saying we should eat a chimp diet borofergie, and a high fat diet is what paleo is all about in my opinion. quality of life is about brain function and that seems to be enhanced with more animal fat in the diet, something about synaptic transmission.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on January 06, 2013
at 11:27 PM

Go right ahead...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 06, 2013
at 10:36 PM

I'm glad we adapted to eat plants. They taste so good with the meat.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on January 06, 2013
at 10:05 PM

I'm not disagreeing with those points, borofergie. Just your original point, in saying that humans should eat protein and fat because that's what we're made of, and that's a good thing to say to disprove veganism. That humans, apes, cows, etc, all digest food differently for the same end result is not the same as saying that humans should eat fat and protein because that's what we're made of and it needs no transformation, and that cows should eat fat and protein in the form of grass because that's what they're made of and that's what it is by the time it gets to their intestinal wall.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on January 06, 2013
at 09:58 PM

Just for arguments sake the one exception to Groves' mammalian theory is the chimpanzee who is primarily frugivorous, and if there was one primate who we are most similar to chimps would be it.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 08:29 PM

@Luckie - cows, sheep, giraffes, rabbits, gorillas, lions, dolphin, all eat a diet that it is pricipallly fat and protein by the time it gets to the intestinal wall. You should choose your diet to do the same.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 08:26 PM

@Luckie - No, it's entirely conistent with my argument. Ruminants have evolved a mechanism to convert a plant based diet to the "ideal" mammalian energy supply of high fat, moderate protein, low-carb. Gorillas have evolved hindgut fermantation to do the same thing. Humans haven't evolved any of these mechanisms, and so what we eat is (more or less) what our intestine sees.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on January 06, 2013
at 08:00 PM

What cows digest isn't what makes up their diet. What they eat makes up their diet, and cows don't eat what they are. Cows and humans aren't meant to eat the same things, even though we are both made up primarily of protein and fat. Obviously I'm not promoting veganism - just saying that your point against veganism doesn't follow.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 06, 2013
at 04:46 PM

Funny you mention cows, Luckie. I often see vegans make the arguement that if cows are big and eat nothing but grass, why can't humans? Leaves me scratching my head, how they equate cows and humans...

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:55 PM

@Lucke - at the intestinal wall, a ruminants diet is 70% short chain fats, and 0% carbs. Independent of what actually goes into their mouth, all mammals digest a diet that is rich in saturated fat, low in carbohydrate and with moderate protein,

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:53 PM

@Luckie http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/herbivores/index.html

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:51 PM

@Luckie but cows do digest a diet of mainly fat and protein - after the food that they eat has been transformed by the digestive track. Bacteria digest almost all of the carbohydrate eaten by the cow into short-chain-fats.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:45 PM

Cows are made mainly of fat and protein, too, but they shouldn't eat a diet consisting mainly of fat and protein.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:16 PM

That list of factoids has nothing to do with your health.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:11 PM

Steel sharpens steel so to speak...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:09 PM

Steel sharpens steel so to speak. In the long run we're all dead, but fighting shortens that run....

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:07 PM

Oddly enough Naipaul makes the same comment about cooking meat smelling bad to an Indian vegetarian in colonial Trinidad. I've never understood why something that smells so good to me would smell so bad to vegetarians, but maybe it's because it's dissociated from eating. I'm put off by the smell of boiling cabbage even though I like eating it.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 06, 2013
at 02:43 PM

@Pecan, He'd have a point, except protein is more like wood. You can build stuff with it OR burn it for energy.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on January 06, 2013
at 02:30 PM

You need to show how this follows. Why should our macros reflect body composition, and is this rule universalisable? Douglas Graham argues otherwise. From 811: "Proteins (amino acids) are the building blocks of living cells. Once we have done our growing, we have very little requirement for the raw materials of which we are made. Think of the analogy of building a brick house: you need truckloads of bricks during the construction stage. Once the house is built, however, if trucks continue to deliver bricks, you have a problem on your hands. The same is true of protein in the human diet."

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on January 06, 2013
at 01:26 PM

Also I think it's ironic that the ads on this site linked veganism from my post to a vegan t-shirt on eBay..

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3

(415)

on January 06, 2013
at 12:19 PM

You can click the top arrow above the number at the beginning of the post to vote it up.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on January 06, 2013
at 10:14 AM

What if I feel great eating gluten all the time? Is that justification for eating gluten?

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on January 06, 2013
at 09:28 AM

Where is that "like" button?

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on January 06, 2013
at 09:26 AM

I wish we had like buttons on these questions. Love this answer. So here and now. If you feel better, it has to be better :)

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 06, 2013
at 04:26 AM

Sally Fallon is the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which offers a tour explaining things for vegetarians: http://www.westonaprice.org/about-the-foundation/vegetarian-tour

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 06, 2013
at 04:26 AM

Sally Fallon is the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which has a tour for vegetarians: http://www.westonaprice.org/about-the-foundation/vegetarian-tour

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:48 AM

"Humans tongues respond pleasurably to sweet (carbohydrates), but have lost the taste for amino acids." WHAT?! I didn't get the memo! Juicy, rare steak still tastes pretty damn good to me...

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:47 AM

"Humans tongues respond pleasurably to sweet (carbohydrates), but have lost the taste for amino acids." WHAT?! I didn't get the memo!

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on January 06, 2013
at 01:22 AM

LOL "not good weird either". Love it. I still need to get a copy of that book.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on January 06, 2013
at 12:43 AM

Punch them in the face and watch them shatter into a thousand pieces. If you think veganism is the ideal human diet, you haven't done enough research.

Frontpage book

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

20 Answers

best answer

8
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on January 06, 2013
at 01:39 AM

The idea that humans lack taste receptors for amino acids is not correct, now that glutamate is recognized as the driver behind foods having a "umami" taste. There's also developing research that certain amino acids (like arganine, glutamine, serine, and threonine) may activate some of our known taste receptors.

7
19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 06, 2013
at 05:20 AM

an ideal human diet being vegan.

You can eat a plant based diet, but many vitamins and minerals in those plants need animal fat to be properly absorbed.
http://www.westonaprice.org/about-the-foundation/vegetarian-tour

A free book: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html

This book mimics my experience growing up. I've discussed it with my mom too. (The place I grew up was way behind the rest of the world, nearly 100% of what we ate was grown, hunted, harvested/gathered, fished, by ourselves, or traded with our neighbors)

The human brain's calorie demands could have been met with starchy vegetables and not necessarily meat (this was what I considered one of the best arguments for meat eating).

Calories aren't everything, nutrients are a much more important aspect.

"Cats are obligate carnivores (they must live on a diet primarily of meat) and their taste buds reflect this by having abandoned the tongue sensors that respond to sweet-tasting carbohydrates. Dogs are omnivores (they have retained both kinds of taste buds) those enjoying carbohydrates and amino acids. Humans tongues respond pleasurably to sweet (carbohydrates), but have lost the taste for amino acids, placing us undeniably in the category of herbivores (plant eaters)."

I think this is an American thing. Where I grew up, children liked sour things. But then again they weren't raised on cheerios or goldfish crackers. I often squeezed a fresh lemon or lime into my tongue. So good. I ate sour cheeses everyday, I loved when we had liver pate. Garlic was my favorite spice as a pre-schooler and my pork chops were covered in fried garlic. Cilantro is awesome too. My mom would chase me out of the house with a broom, because I ate all her pure (100%) chocolate bars which she needed to bake our birthday cakes. I adored fermented (preserved) olives and eggs. I loved wild blackberries (which were so much more bitter than what you have today in USA).

My taste-buds definitely respond a lot more pleasurably to meat, fish, eggs, animal fats, and butter/cheese, vinegary tastes, whey, salt, than they do to sweets. I don't know if it's reacting to amino acids but I do notice the "hidden" elements of that ingredient. Sure I like the taste of carrots and sweet potatoes, but in limited amounts. I feel nauseated when there are too many sweet things on my plate like those carrots or sweet potatoes. I'd rather enjoy the other flavors the meal has to offer. Growing up, I loved my birthday cake because it was a special occasion. It wasn't very sugary at all though, plain whipped cream topping (with no sugar), and inside there might have been "one small tea cup" of sugar. The one cake was shared by my big family and it was the only dessert on the table. It was accompanied by a dry wine or dry champagne.

The "sweet" taste or smell doesn't make my mouth fill with saliva or make me restless in anticipation. But the smell and taste of these things really do.

Ever heard of tripe soup? In a lot of cultures, that's considered a comfort food when you feel loneliness or sadness.

The only sweet thing I remember I really liked was blood sausage. I think it had cloves or nutmeg(???), which gave it a sweet taste.

We had sweets for religious feasts, but they weren't like what we have here in USA. One big dessert might have "one small tea cup" of sugar, but it was shared by many people. What gave it flavor were the spices we used, and the delicious fat from eggs and milk/cream/butter.

We grew bananas, but they are no where as sweet as the bananas we have here in USA. Same with our other fruits. Most fruits, even those considered sweet, didn't register in my mouth as sweet, but sour. When I eat an orange in USA all I taste is sugar, but when I remember an orange back home it was so sour it would make my eyes tear up :P And I loved it.

My sister has a huge sweet tooth, and that's considered an oddity where I grew up. So, she was fat and snacked on sweets a lot. (By fat, I mean a size 6, 8 at most. Where I grew up, a teenage girl (15+) wearing a size 6 or 8 is considered obese, but here in USA it's considered skinny)

I like meat and eat it, and I'm not morally against eating it, but I want to do what is best for my health regardless. Also I tried to eat some liver tonight and I was completely repulsed by the smell and taste of it. if I was a real carnivore wouldn't it be more appealing to me? I thought that carnivores love to eat the livers of animals!

I don't think all carnivores and/or omnivores eat the organs. Jackals, for example, are scavengers, not hunters. They eat the leftovers, so to speak.
If you didn't grow up eating liver you likely wouldn't like it at first. It's so different than everything you eat in America! I grew up eating lots of organ meats as a child, so I like it. It's best fresh, like from an animal killed 5-10 minutes ago at most. Once you freeze it it's a completely different thing, and if it's been sitting in the fridge for days? Oh god. Repulsive. My mom processed her own chickens and ducks throughout the year so we had fresh organ meat. My dad hunted rabbit and geese or sometimes he would pay someone to hunt for him. After I have a farm again I'll have fresh liver, but since right now I only have access to supermarket liver, I only mix it blended with other meats (chili, meatballs, and so on).

Start with grass-fed beef heart if you didn't grow up with fresh organ meats in your diet. Even chicken heart would be easier to start with than liver.

I eat organ meats nearly everyday and I love it. But I suppose I was raised in a totally different world!


Humans need lots and lots of DHA and EPA for their brains and good health. Where do you expect to get it besides animal sources? While your body could convert ALA to DHA and EPA to some extent, how would a caveman find so much soybean oil, canola oil, flaxseed, and walnuts (which are not abundant, and definitely not often in season) to ensure an adequate supply? Cavemen didn't have modern food processing industry and factories. Plus, even if he could have eaten those things for his omega 3, his omega 6 would have been way too high by comparison. Fish would be a much better source.

ALA is also present in things like kale and brussel sprouts to limited amounts, but that would rob the body of too much iodine and they'd need to get extra iodine, from, you guessed it, fish, to avoid goiter.

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on January 06, 2013
at 09:28 AM

Where is that "like" button?

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3

(415)

on January 06, 2013
at 12:19 PM

You can click the top arrow above the number at the beginning of the post to vote it up.

7
3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on January 06, 2013
at 12:45 AM

The best pro-meat book I've ever read is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. They outline the science behind why meat and animal fats are obviously a good thing for humans so clearly that anyone who isn't convinced is weird and close-minded. Not good weird either.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 06, 2013
at 04:26 AM

Sally Fallon is the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which offers a tour explaining things for vegetarians: http://www.westonaprice.org/about-the-foundation/vegetarian-tour

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on January 06, 2013
at 01:22 AM

LOL "not good weird either". Love it. I still need to get a copy of that book.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on January 06, 2013
at 04:26 AM

Sally Fallon is the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which has a tour for vegetarians: http://www.westonaprice.org/about-the-foundation/vegetarian-tour

6
B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on January 06, 2013
at 12:59 AM

  1. Yes. Humans are omnivores and so by definition are adapted to eat plants.

  2. Yes. The humans brain calories can be met by starchy vegetables. In the absence of dietary carbohydrates it can also be meat by protein and fats being converted to glucose via neoglucogenesis and ketones.

  3. Absurd. Humans have not lost there taste for meat. The statement is nothing more than a lie with zero scientific validation.

I recommend reading "The Vegetarian Myth" (Lierre Keith), it comprehensively debunks a vegan / vegetarian diet from all view points.

Good luck!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 06, 2013
at 10:36 PM

I'm glad we adapted to eat plants. They taste so good with the meat.

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on January 07, 2013
at 11:10 PM

Exactly :) .

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on January 07, 2013
at 07:10 PM

I agree with your answer. Not one of the first two is an argument against why we should eat meat, they are statements about why we can eat vegetables and get enough energy to survive from them. Which is true...

4
74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

on January 06, 2013
at 01:22 AM

Many vitamins that our bodies need are found only in meat.

That's not an accident!

Our intestinal tract is roughly the length between carnivore AND omnivore.

We also don't have multiple stomachs with which to break down cellulose. Meat is the easiest thing for us to digest.

We evolved because we ate meat. From an evolutionary standpoint, meat and fat are sustaining and highly nutritious. Plant matter? Not so much.

This is a great write-up from Mark Sisson:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/meat-eating-human-evolution/#axzz2H9bm20rJ

4
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on January 06, 2013
at 12:41 AM

Those arguments are shitty non scientific arguments.. Lol. I'm a former vegetarian, my dad is too and my sister is former vegan and once you get deep into the science you realize that veganism is absolutely not ideal for optimal human health.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on January 06, 2013
at 01:26 PM

Also I think it's ironic that the ads on this site linked veganism from my post to a vegan t-shirt on eBay..

3
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on January 06, 2013
at 04:38 PM

anytime I see a vegan come in who switches to paleo I ask them one question to assess a major question.......did you health exponentially decline while eating like a chimp? If the answer is yes the next most important thing for the doc to check is a methylation problem. So far it has never failed me. Vegans and vegetarians who do terrible seem to have it. The ones who can tolerate the diet have excellent methylation and phase two detox pathways. This is also why so many former paleo vegans come to paleo with AI diseases. Methylation defects sets the stage for many AI's because of what it does to the CD4/CD8 count.

Now are their certain low methylators who do terrible on paleo too? Yep. If they have the CBS defect. Be aware of what you might not know.....paleo has its limits too for a certain segment of the population. Many of them do not even know why they are different because they do not test. The 1298 is the big one and less is known about it??????.a677T is the smaller one and a lot is known about it??????.The key is know what labs to look for when you know one of the two are out of whack??????.then marry that info to the clinical picture and go on a treasure hunt for the optimal goal of health About the CBS defect: If you have it, sulfur compounds are not the only big issue you will face! A high protein diet from meat creates more toxic ammonia through the CBS highway (transsulfuration), and burdens the detox pathways further. This is why Epi-paleo Rx is better than paleo for people with the defect. It is also why I tell former vegans eat way more seafood than meat initially. Seafood has low sulfur components while meat does not. It also simultaneously lowere HS CRP because of the iodine and DHA content! Those taking a great deal of supplements, without regard for their genetic makeup, will only add more ammonia & sulfites to the growing burden in the detox pathway. This is why I don't recommend supplements to every person switching to paleo like some of the paleo folks do. In fact, I will say that most of those making the recs, have not a clue about methylation and it is one of the reason paleo can faileo some people?????????event though the diet is a step in the right direction from a SAD. Why do I pound people on my blog on things gut related? Chronic bacterial/yeast issues in the GI tract, as they are more likely to have too much intestinal bacteria (>6lbs and bloating is the sign), which release even more ammonia & toxic byproducts worsening the CBS defective person?????????Their diet needs to be tailored??????.but if you dont test and dont know how can you adapt? When the system gets overwhelmed with free radicals from poor mitochondrial function two things build up in a CBS person: Super oxides and peroxynitrates. These are the two chemicals we see in post aneurysm bleeds in the head after a SAH in neurosurgery. It causes a deadly reaction in the brain cause vasospasm. Still today, organized neurosurgery does not understand this link. We still have serious morbidity and mortality in SAH because people are not realizing that blood products when broken down can overwhelm the methylation system and lead to these two free radicals destroying normal cells. This is why people with CBS often get a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or Chronic fatigue that never get answered, when the real answer is an altering your epi genetics to match your genetic template is the move for greatness?????????.Super oxides disable the immune system so the ROS cant be cleared and Peroxynitrates are the serial killer of normal healthy cells??????..the more they get to the less mitochondria are available??????to make ATP and once energy starved what do we call a human? A Cadaver???????????????..where you are on this pathway is somewhere in between. The pathway is a continuum?????????when you feel better your methylation is OK??????.when you feel like shit you got to adapt. That is the vegan problem......evolution tells you precisely why humans should not eat that way if you pay attn.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 11, 2013
at 05:47 PM

By the way your bang on about Veganism and poor methylators. I fell apart on a vegan diet, it didn't even take that long either. After about 6 months I started feeling like shite.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 11, 2013
at 05:43 PM

Hey Doc, so I've found out recently that I have a homozygous mutation for A1298c, CBS A360A, COMT V158M, and COMT H62H and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. There seems to be little info about some of these mutations, even on the methylation forums. I don't expect you to go into any detail but a nudge in the right direction would be appreciated, thanks man.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 12, 2013
at 06:02 AM

Thanks, much appreciated.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on June 11, 2013
at 09:40 PM

Contact Dr. Tim Jackson on the MTHFR support group on FB. Tell him I sent you his way. HE is extremely knowledgeable and I did a podcast with him and Sterling Hill on the their site about this very issue. Good Luck.

3
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 06, 2013
at 02:15 PM

*Humans are anatomically adapted to eat plants (even if we and the other hominids chose/had to cook and eat meat).

Not true. Our digestive tract is more similar to a carnivore's than an herbivore. Barry Groves has a very nice presentation on this: http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=10533993 Cordain and others have shown similar examples.

*The human brain's calorie demands could have been met with starchy vegetables and not necessarily meat (this was what I considered one of the best arguments for meat eating).

To do that with carbohydrates causes high levels of chronic insulin, which leads to insulin resistance. Further, burning carbohydrates vs ketones/fats leads to higher reactive oxygen species, higher AGE load, and thus less optimal life style. It's a myth that the human brain requires exogenous carbohydrate to function - it can do just fine off ketones, and via gluconeogenesis. The fact that we can use carbohydrates as a fuel source does not make it optimal, nor healthy. We can certainly live off a diet of Coca Cola and Twikies for quite a long time before succumbing to disease, it doesn't make it optimal either.

Complete protein and certain types of fats are essential to our diet. There's no such thing as an essential carbohydrate, so the argument is a failure.

The only truth in there is that it is possible. So what it's really saying is that we are survivors that can survive various environments, and that gives us a distinct advantage over, both gorillas, and cats, which would go extinct in environments where their specific food supply was not available.

"Cats are obligate carnivores (they must live on a diet primarily of meat) and their taste buds reflect this by having abandoned the tongue sensors that respond to sweet-tasting carbohydrates. Dogs are omnivores (they have retained both kinds of taste buds) those enjoying carbohydrates and amino acids. Humans tongues respond pleasurably to sweet (carbohydrates), but have lost the taste for amino acids, placing us undeniably in the category of herbivores (plant eaters)."

This is false. We can taste certain proteins, and we cannot survive on just carbohydrates. Protein and fats are essential, we cannot live for every long without them. Cocaine is very pleasurable to those addicted, but it doesn't mean it's essential for human survival. Robb Wolf mentioned in his book that one of his clients was a crack addict, and she had mentioned that it was much easier to quit crack than it was to quit sugar.

If you look at cat and dog food, the cheap dry stuff is mostly carbohydrate. When you feed this to cats and dogs, they get the same diseases that humans get. If you switch them to an all meat wet diet, they live optimally and healthy long lives, just the same way as switching humans to a paleo diet.

This should imply that humans have more in common with carnivores than herbivores, though that's not necessarily a correct statement either. But it's no less correct than the pro-vegan stance.

I like meat and eat it, and I'm not morally against eating it, but I want to do what is best for my health regardless.

Perhaps you could point out that from a moral point of view, CAFO meat is an abomination, but so are monoculture crops. In order to setup a field of soy, you must clear out forest or other land, and to do so means killing off all the fauna that live on it. Birds, groundhogs, rabbits, trees, etc. Then, a single monoculture is planted, sprayed incessantly with fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, destroying the water table underneath, poisoning farmers with carcinogens, spending tons of fossil fuels in the process.

Then, when the plant is harvested, millions of mice, rabbits, and other burrowing mammals are killed off for a small amount of grain by the machines that harvest the grain, which also use up fossil fuel. If that grain happens to be genetically modified, then the farmers' give up their livelihood to the intellectual property owners of that abomination since they can't reuse the seeds, and are required to buy pesticides and herbicides from them, plus the plants themselves contain inherent harmful toxins (i.e. BT corn).

So when a vegan says that for the same amount of food fed to make a steak you can eat far more corn and save a cow's life, they are ignoring the subsidies, the fossil fuel, and the millions of lives lost to plant that field, as well as the damage to that soil, the damage to the health of those working the field, and the damage to the health of those eating the resulting grain. They claim it's more environmentally sustainable, but this too is a myth when you consider the tons of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, and crude oil and water used.

A grassfed cow, on a farm such as PolyFace Farms, uses none of those and hurts no other animal life, other that that single cow. And meat from that cow is certainly far more nutritious and far less harmful than CAFO meat.

I suspect the moral vegetarian/vegan argument was provided pre-writen by the interests of big agriculture, and wasn't made by those who thought things through. Pretty much the same way that our politicians are handed a suitcase full of cash as a campaign contribution, along with a pre-written bill to introduce by the lobbyists that they actually represent, instead of the actual interests of the people of their state, who voted them in.

Also I tried to eat some liver tonight and I was completely repulsed by the smell and taste of it. if I was a real carnivore wouldn't it be more appealing to me? I thought that carnivores love to eat the livers of animals!

Remember that animals eat very fresh, raw, warm livers. They don't eat cooked livers, they don't eat cold raw livers. I was very tempted to taste raw bison liver when I was preparing it, it smelled and looked to me like grapefruit and looked very tempting. I resisted, but I imagine that it would taste much better on the raw side. In fact, it only seared it on both sides and made bison liver pate out of it, and it tasted amazingly good. On the first occasion I attempted to make it, I sadly overcooked the liver, and it came out grainy, and smelly.

So we need to think about how we prepare our foods, and in what context.

3
7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:28 AM

There are a few good answers in this question that would help, specifically Nemesis or Stabby.

http://paleohacks.com/questions/56542/humans-werent-designed-to-eat-meat/56555#56555

3
E773ca32b29508bae2055579a26afa98

on January 06, 2013
at 01:26 AM

"an intellectually-inclined paleo-ist" would avoid the argument.

2
0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on January 06, 2013
at 02:49 PM

I feel that the relevancy of taste in these discussions should take into account how a lifetime of conventional eating affects our current biological faculties. We are not clean slates: most of us are raised on conventional diets and our biological make-up changes to adapt to that. This includes our taste receptors. Given that we are working with conditioned rather than neutral subjects, we cannot deduce accurate data of whether taste is a good metric by which to judge unhealthy foods.

2
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 01:17 PM

You are mainly made from fat and protein. Your diet should mainly consist of fat and protein.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 08:29 PM

@Luckie - cows, sheep, giraffes, rabbits, gorillas, lions, dolphin, all eat a diet that it is pricipallly fat and protein by the time it gets to the intestinal wall. You should choose your diet to do the same.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:55 PM

@Lucke - at the intestinal wall, a ruminants diet is 70% short chain fats, and 0% carbs. Independent of what actually goes into their mouth, all mammals digest a diet that is rich in saturated fat, low in carbohydrate and with moderate protein,

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 06, 2013
at 02:43 PM

@Pecan, He'd have a point, except protein is more like wood. You can build stuff with it OR burn it for energy.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 06, 2013
at 04:46 PM

Funny you mention cows, Luckie. I often see vegans make the arguement that if cows are big and eat nothing but grass, why can't humans? Leaves me scratching my head, how they equate cows and humans...

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on January 06, 2013
at 02:30 PM

You need to show how this follows. Why should our macros reflect body composition, and is this rule universalisable? Douglas Graham argues otherwise. From 811: "Proteins (amino acids) are the building blocks of living cells. Once we have done our growing, we have very little requirement for the raw materials of which we are made. Think of the analogy of building a brick house: you need truckloads of bricks during the construction stage. Once the house is built, however, if trucks continue to deliver bricks, you have a problem on your hands. The same is true of protein in the human diet."

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:51 PM

@Luckie but cows do digest a diet of mainly fat and protein - after the food that they eat has been transformed by the digestive track. Bacteria digest almost all of the carbohydrate eaten by the cow into short-chain-fats.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:45 PM

Cows are made mainly of fat and protein, too, but they shouldn't eat a diet consisting mainly of fat and protein.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on January 06, 2013
at 09:58 PM

Just for arguments sake the one exception to Groves' mammalian theory is the chimpanzee who is primarily frugivorous, and if there was one primate who we are most similar to chimps would be it.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:53 PM

@Luckie http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/herbivores/index.html

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on January 06, 2013
at 08:00 PM

What cows digest isn't what makes up their diet. What they eat makes up their diet, and cows don't eat what they are. Cows and humans aren't meant to eat the same things, even though we are both made up primarily of protein and fat. Obviously I'm not promoting veganism - just saying that your point against veganism doesn't follow.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 06, 2013
at 08:26 PM

@Luckie - No, it's entirely conistent with my argument. Ruminants have evolved a mechanism to convert a plant based diet to the "ideal" mammalian energy supply of high fat, moderate protein, low-carb. Gorillas have evolved hindgut fermantation to do the same thing. Humans haven't evolved any of these mechanisms, and so what we eat is (more or less) what our intestine sees.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on January 06, 2013
at 10:05 PM

I'm not disagreeing with those points, borofergie. Just your original point, in saying that humans should eat protein and fat because that's what we're made of, and that's a good thing to say to disprove veganism. That humans, apes, cows, etc, all digest food differently for the same end result is not the same as saying that humans should eat fat and protein because that's what we're made of and it needs no transformation, and that cows should eat fat and protein in the form of grass because that's what they're made of and that's what it is by the time it gets to their intestinal wall.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on January 07, 2013
at 03:07 AM

I'm not at all saying we should eat a chimp diet borofergie, and a high fat diet is what paleo is all about in my opinion. quality of life is about brain function and that seems to be enhanced with more animal fat in the diet, something about synaptic transmission.

2
24a0a0d5073f0a77c3737ef9d0e4c426

on January 06, 2013
at 07:06 AM

The taste arguments are off. I was a vegan for 10+ years. During that time cooking meat smelled like poo. Now bacon smells great!

I feel better now over then by far.
Our bodies are built to endure a lot even if not optimal for long term health.

Do what is right for you. If its your life partner who is vegan you should both respect each others choices. No one else's opinion counts.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:07 PM

Oddly enough Naipaul makes the same comment about cooking meat smelling bad to an Indian vegetarian in colonial Trinidad. I've never understood why something that smells so good to me would smell so bad to vegetarians, but maybe it's because it's dissociated from eating. I'm put off by the smell of boiling cabbage even though I like eating it.

2
Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

on January 06, 2013
at 02:09 AM

There's no need to have that argument. If you need justification, gauge by how you feel... physically speaking.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on January 06, 2013
at 10:14 AM

What if I feel great eating gluten all the time? Is that justification for eating gluten?

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on January 06, 2013
at 09:26 AM

I wish we had like buttons on these questions. Love this answer. So here and now. If you feel better, it has to be better :)

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on January 06, 2013
at 11:27 PM

Go right ahead...

1
78d089bc8d5feaed2710005e4456edbe

on January 06, 2013
at 12:48 PM

Arguments that taste should be used as an advisor of the healthiness of different foods, I don't take very seriously. Sugar and cakes taste good, and vegetables wouldn't be foods I would crave taste-wise.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:09 PM

Steel sharpens steel so to speak. In the long run we're all dead, but fighting shortens that run....

1
Cbda678b2a6bf0537d8c4ea0ce8aa9ad

(4319)

on January 06, 2013
at 10:55 AM

Question: Why argue?

One of my friends is a vegan and he is constantly on about my diet and especially uric acid (which is one of the reasons he went vegan, he had a build-up of uric acid). His vegan diet seems to have cured his excess of uric acid. Anyway, I just listen, nod my head and smile. He wont convince me, and I know he's solidly vegan, so

why argue and refute? Different strokes for different folks. Wow! That sounds poetical, you can quote me if you like.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:11 PM

Steel sharpens steel so to speak...

1
0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on January 06, 2013
at 10:21 AM

This is a stupid question. You're starting with a conclusion and looking for arguments to support it, rather than starting with the facts. You should be interested in deconstructing this argument regardless of what ideology it corroborates - vegan, paleo or otherwise.

1
C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

on January 06, 2013
at 09:30 AM

Really good answers have already been given. I was a vegetarian for years. I have to say, I really do feel better eating fats and animal flesh along with my greens. I feel fuller, my skin glows, I think my brain functions better, I sleep well, and overall enjoy life so much more being a healthy paleo meat eater.

1
A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

on January 06, 2013
at 04:20 AM

One word: Soy. Your body needs protein and soy has many negatives

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 06, 2013
at 03:51 AM

I would check out the vegetarian myth. Though not vegan per se, it effectively breaks down the major claims vegans/vegetarians have in terms of diet, morality, and economics. For example, in order to make room to plant, farmers chase many animals out of their habitat resulting in their death. This book really highlights many pre-conceived notions about the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle that, after study, appear patently false.

Answer Question


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