The Evolution of a Myth
“Along with the unjustified and unscientific saturated fat and cholesterol scares of the past several decades has come the notion that vegetarianism is a healthier dietary option for people. It seems as if every health expert and government health agency is urging people to eat fewer animal products and consume more vegetables, grains, fruits and legumes. Along with these exhortations have come assertions and studies supposedly proving that vegetarianism is healthier for people and that meat consumption is associated with sickness and death. Several authorities, however, have questioned these data, but their objections have been largely ignored.
As we shall see, many of the vegetarian claims cannot be substantiated and some are simply false and dangerous. There are benefits to vegetarian diets for certain health conditions, and some people function better on less fat and protein, but, as a practitioner who has dealt with several former vegetarians and vegans (total vegetarians), I know full well the dangerous effects of a diet devoid of healthful animal products. It is my hope that all readers will more carefully evaluate their position on vegetarianism after reading” http://chetday.com/vegmyths.htm Stephen Byrnes, PhD, RNCP
Some vegetarians have claimed that livestock require pasturage that could be used to farm grains to feed starving people in Third World countries. It is also claimed that feeding animals contributes to world hunger because livestock are eating foods that could go to feed humans. The solution to world hunger, therefore, is for people to become vegetarians. These arguments are illogical and simplistic.
The first argument ignores the fact that about 2/3 of our Earth’s dry land is unsuitable for farming. It is primarily the open range, desert and mountainous areas that provide food to grazing animals and that land is currently being put to good use .
Furthermore the argument that cattle are inefficient converters of energy conveniently glosses over the fact that cattle produce more than food, they also convert grass into manure and thus improve the soil instead of depleting, which is what cash cropping does.
That’s not to say we would approve of feedlots…. or pig factories….. or chicken or egg factories.
With corporate hog factories replacing traditional hog farms, pigs are being treated more as inanimate tools of production than as living, feeling animals.
You don’t want to know too much about how the pork chop came to be and how much animal cruelty was involved and the total environmental cost. You can find out more about factory farming by simply Googling.
Over 40% of all the antibiotics produced in the world are fed to animals, to increase their rate of growth and prevent bacterial diseases because of the terrible conditions under which they are raised and the wrong diet they are on..Cattle are free range foragers
Antibiotics given to animals can produce serious problems in humans. Over time they will destroy the “friendly” bacteria, which are needed by the body for our protection.
Female hormones fed to cattle are the culprits behind the increases in female disorders like severe hot flashes,painful menses, breast lumps and cancer of uterus and breast, not as so often is suggested the consumption of animal fat or saturated fats in general.
There is an argument that meat is hazardous to our health because we humans have a relatively long digestive system.
Carnivorous creatures have a short digestive system (approx.3 times the length of their body), to prevent the meat from rotting in the digestive tract and thus poisoning the bloodstream.
In humans on the other hand the digestive tract is twelve times the length of the body. The human anatomy of the digestive system does not appear to be well suited to a diet of red meats .According to some the meat rots before it is digested and expelled. I am not completely sure whether that is any different from the regular processes of break down and decomposing.
This argument fails to note several human physiological features which clearly indicate a design for animal product consumption.
First and foremost is our stomach’s production of hydrochloric acid(HCL), something not found in herbivores. HCL activates protein-splitting enzymes. Further, the human pancreas manufactures a full range of digestive enzymes to handle a wide variety of foods, both animal and vegetable.
While humans may have longer intestines than animal carnivores, they are not as long as herbivores; nor do we possess multiple stomachs like many herbivores, nor do we chew cud. Our physiology definitely indicates a mixed feeder, or an omnivore, much the same as our relatives, the mountain gorilla and chimpanzee (who have been observed eating small animals and, in some cases, other primates).
Physiologically we are Not Carnivores, but neither are we Herbivores!
In other words there is something to be said for a moderated approach. Recent research in the UK indicated that a complete vegan diet may not be something you want to depend on Vegan followed over a seven year period showed a significant brain shrinkage. But there is more: “The ‘carnivore connection’ postulates a critical role for the quantity of dietary protein and carbohydrate and the change in the glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate in the evolution of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia.”
You can read all about it in the European Journal for Clinical Nutrition. http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v56/n1s/pdf/1601351a.pdf
the New England Journal of Medicine reports on a six year analysis of more than 88,000 women. Those who ate animal fats were nearly twice as likely to develop colon cancer. Women who ate meat as part of the main course every day were two and a half times as likely to develop the disease.
However many of the reseach done at the time quite often was strongly biased against a diet based on animal products. What this means is that they were designed to find cause and effect through mostly epidemiologial studies. Those kind of studies show that certain things happen concurrently, from which one can then only really draw one conclusion: that they happen at the same time. Overzealous researchers, often with their own agenda are eager to make causal connections which may not necessarily be there at all. Other variables not tested or questioned could and often do play a role of more or lesser importance. The simple fact that the diets contained other foodstuffs that may have constituted a variable of considerable influence , may not have been reported. A diet in refined carbs, gluten and wheat bran covered with lectins (a natural occurring toxin on wheat) is now known to be highly questionable, The meat cooked in polyunsaturated vegetable oils adds another questionable value.
Fact remains that our ancestors did quite well on a diet that heavily favoured meats and saturated fats and our present day health problems did not arrive on the scene until some major shifts had happened in the processing of our grains etc.
By now most people are aware of the detrimental effect of transfats in our diet.”Margarine was made out of animal fat before 1915. Hydrogenated vegetable shortening (Crisco) was introduced in 1911. Before that our intake of trans fat was very low, coming chiefly from dairy and meat (not the same as synthetic trans fats).Hydrogenated vegetable oil wasn’t widely eaten until 1920.During the 1930s the use of hydrogenation worldwide took a quantum leap forward, as production increased greatly.
Rizek et al. (1974) estimated that in the period from 1937 to 1972 per capita annual consumption of trans fatty acids increased by 81%, from 6.3-11.4 gm. During the same period per capita consumption of vegetable oils and fats increased by only 64% (from 36-59 gm).
Death from coronary heart disease was rare until 1925. It peaked in the 1950s, remaining high through the 1970s and diminishing only due to modern medical interventions. Coincidence? I don’t know, but I would consider it suspect.
In 1956, an American Heart Association (AHA) fund-raiser aired on all three major networks. The MC interviewed, among others, Irving Page and Jeremiah Stamler of the AHA, and researcher Ancel Keys. Panelists presented the lipid hypothesis as the cause of the heart disease epidemic and launched the Prudent Diet, one in which corn oil, margarine, chicken and cold cereal replaced butter, lard, beef and eggs. But the television campaign was not an unqualified success because one of the panelists, Dr. Dudley White, disputed his colleagues at the AHA. Dr. White noted that heart disease in the form of myocardial infarction was nonexistent in 1900 when egg consumption was three times what it was in 1956 and when corn oil was unavailable. When pressed to support the Prudent Diet, Dr. White replied: “See here, I began my practice as a cardiologist in 1921 and I never saw an MI ( myocardial infarction )patient until 1928. Back in the MI free days before 1920, the fats were butter and lard and I think that we would all benefit from the kind of diet that we had at a time when no one had ever heard the word corn oil.”
You can read more about this at http://www.quintehealthsolutions.com/FoodScience.html