Human Beings Were Meant to Eat Meat: It's In Our Genes

Yum! 53

steakIf you though today's meat recall was cause for alarm you don't know the half of it: It's in our genes to love meat! Human beings eat way more meat than any of our primate relatives, who are mostly vegetarians. But not us. We've got the teeth, we've got the tools, and now scientists are saying we've got the gene mutations.

About 500,000 years ago the human gene apoE mutated to allow us to eat more raw meat without getting sick from contamination. (Hmm...) 226,000 years later another gene mutation helped us to break down fats better. It also helped us move cholesterol to our brain cells where it made our minds more powerful. That's right, meat even made us smarter.



Of course, we've been eating meat for a couple million years -- back when it was killing us. And... huh, that's funny. We're still eating meat even though it sometimes makes us dangerously ill. I guess some things never change. Of course, back in the day we sometimes noshed on carcases left by other animals. Thank goodness we stopped doing that! (Except for you road kill chefs.)

But does knowing this change anything? Regardless of what scientists say we're evolved to eat there are people who LOVE to eat meat. And there are people who HATE to eat meat. And good luck getting anyone to meet in the middle on this issue. Right now there are people writing into the Wall Street Journal accusing them of meat propaganda.

Whatever. I think it's interesting to know what we had to evolve in order to handle eating meat on a regular basis. Those of us who love to eat meat -- it's not just because we think it's yummy. It's because our bodies can handle it.

Why do you like or dislike meat eating?


Image via waferboard/Flickr



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Rhond... RhondaVeggie

We do not have the teeth to eat meat. Go compare your teeth to a tiger or a T Rex. Not exactly similar, are they? We also don't have the stomach acid or the sleeping schedules of carnivores. Humans can eat meat if we need to but our bodies function far better without it. The human body is quite resilient. We can live on a few hours sleep or live without exercise. It won't be a good life and we will feel like crap but we will survive. It's the same thing with eating meat. It won't kill you but it doesn't exactly help you live either.

yayhe... yayheadstart

Rhonda, we don't have carnivore teeth because we are omnivores. I am guessing by your name that you are a vegetarian and that's cool. I was for years. But scientifically we are meant to eat a little of everything and that is why we are at the top of the food chain. Thank you evolution!

Mrscj... Mrscjones

Thank you head start. K9's was not made to rip the flesh of a tomato. Any animal meant to be a herbivore don't need sharp pointy teeth. You don't have to deny fact to love eating veggies. Nobody is stopping you but with like everything in the would its only good in moderation. That goes for meat and vegetable only eaters alike.

nonmember avatar Marina

I've always hated most meats. When I was little, I'd spit it out. My mom had always told me that meat was from animals who had already died. When I became an avid reader and found out the truth, that just made me more determined. I quit cold turkey in second grade, haven't touched it since. Maybe I'm a mutant or something, I don't really know.

nonmember avatar Nicole

I wouldn't hate eating meat so much if we could get some good quality, humanely treated, chemical-free kind. I also find it interesting that the most averted food during morning sickness in pregnancy is meat. If my husband wasn't such a meat eater, I could easily live off beans and cheese and other proteins.

4cadi... 4cadillac


Mandago Mandago

Vegetarian, and happier for it. Cruelty just tastes yucky to me.

the4m... the4mutts

Everybody is different. But the fact is, human bodies can process meat, barring some medical complication.

Does that mean you have to eat it? No.

Does not HAVING to eat it, nessecarily mean you shouldn't? Also, no.

Idk why so many people are concerned with the dietary choices of others. Its a MEAL. Who gives a crap?

the4m... the4mutts

There are people starving all over the world. Idk why we care about such frivilous (sp?) things

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