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  • Writer's pictureGlen Merzer


Updated: Feb 9

A human's face compared to a tiger's face

Here are the five dumbest rationales for an omnivorous diet, and my responses.

1) “Humans have eaten meat from the beginning of time. The cavemen ate meat.” Answer: So what? Humans practiced cannibalism from the beginning of time. Human sacrifice was also quite popular, back in the day. Humans have done a lot of stupid things. Do they get enshrined with wisdom because they are ancient? We have to keep in mind, too, that the imperative for early humans was to obtain enough calories so that they could reproduce and carry the species forward, or else we would never have TikTok or pickleball. Obtaining enough calories was more of a challenge for them than it is for people today in most parts of the world, so they obtained calories however they could. Once Paleo humans reproduced sufficiently, it didn’t particularly matter if they lived past, say, forty. We’re trying to do better. We’re trying to achieve longevity and experience good health throughout long lives. The

underlying message of the caveman rationale is “Thou Shalt Not Make Progress.”

2) “You need meat for the protein.”

Answer: Then how come lifelong vegans and long-term vegans tend to be in excellent health? If people really need animal protein to live, shouldn’t all of us long-term vegans be experiencing some sort of health challenge? Why aren’t we falling down, at very least? And how come the largest epidemiological study ever done, the China Study, found the worst health outcomes and the most cancer and heart disease in populations that ate the most animal protein? Animal protein is high in the amino acid methionine, which has been linked to cancer. The human body cannot store protein, so an excess of protein in the diet is pointless, and creates an acid load that burdens the kidneys. Too much protein is a bad idea, especially if it’s animal protein, which is inferior to plant protein.

3) “Carbohydrates make you fat, so I need to eat meat to stay slender.”

Yeah, how’s that working out for the 42% of Americans, almost all of them omnivores, who are obese? Flesh foods are calorically about half protein and half unhealthy fat, and there are nine calories in a gram of fat while only four calories in a gram of carbohydrate, so it’s nuts to believe that eating more fat will make you slender. In your mind, perhaps, you’re just eating more protein when you eat animal foods, but that protein, whether in flesh foods or dairy, comes attached to excessive and unhealthy fat. The fallacy that carbohydrates make you fat is easily explained: sugar, which is 100% carbohydrate, does indeed make you fat, clocking in at 1775 calories in a pound of sugar. Flour-based foods, like bread, which people think of as carbohydrates but also may contain a good deal of protein and some fat, are also highly caloric, with bread clocking in at about 1200 calories per pound. People think of pastries, for example, as “carbohydrates,” and they are indeed highly caloric, but keep in mind that they also contain a lot of fat. Potatoes, which people also think of as carbohydrates but in fact contain protein and a smidgen of fat as well, contain only 350-400 calories per pound. That makes them an ideal food for maintaining a healthy weight. If you’re like most people, you will eat about 4-5 pounds of food per day, so if it were all potatoes, that would put you in a range of about 1600-2000 calories. So why do people think of potatoes as fattening? Because they’re often cooked with and/or eaten with added fat: butter, oil, sour cream, and so forth. Most fruits and vegetables contain more carbohydrate than any other macronutrient, and yet contain in the range of only 100-300

calories per pound; you will almost certainly lose weight if your 4-5 pounds of food per day consist of only produce.

4) “Meat tastes good.”

Man, this is a very unimpressive argument. First of all, try eating your burger without the bun, and without the pickle, onions, ketchup, and the rest of the condiments that hide the taste of the foul meat patty at its center. Just eat the patty, without salt or anything else. Try to choke it down. Good luck to you. Second, I say again, who cares? If a food is going to ruin your health and shorten your life, can you not find something else to eat that you enjoy that won’t have those pesky little drawbacks? Hospital food, after all, doesn’t taste very good. And do you not have people you love for whom you want to remain fit and healthy? Do we have to destroy our forests, our land, and our waterways, while heating our climate, eliminating biodiversity in the world, and making our oceans lifeless, because meat tastes good to you? Anyway, taste buds adapt. If you eliminate fatty and salty foods from your diet, eating only healthy, whole plant foods for a period as short as two weeks, you’ll find that the foods that you used to find delicious suddenly become unpalatable.

5) “We have canine teeth.”

This one tops the charts for asininity. Compare the canine teeth of a true carnivore, like a tiger, to the canine teeth of a human. We can call a couple of our small teeth “canines,” but they will not impress a carnivorous animal, and they will fail to break through the hide of a buffalo to reach the muscle tissue. If you don’t believe me, try it sometime. Bite into a buffalo. Enjoy. You know, you can call your fingers “claws,” too, if you want, but that won’t make them so.


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