Top 15 Myths About Eating Meat
Date 2008/9/3 14:00:00 | Topic: The Science of Meat
|Yes, it's true. Vegetarians don't approve of your eating habits. Vegan's might actually bomb your house in order to get you to pay attention to them. And PETA? Don't even get me started.|
The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of myths about what meat-eaters do to the environment and their bodies. Most of those myths are published and perpetuated by the anti-meat machine, PETA. Below is a list of the top 15 myths about you and your fellow meat-eaters compiled by Stephen Byrnes, PhD, RNCP (from "The Myths of Vegetarianism," Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, July 2000, revised January 2002).
Myth #1: Meat consumption contributes to famine and depletes the Earth's natural resources.
This 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.
Myth #2: Vitamin B12 can be obtained from plant sources.
There is not real B12 in plant sources but B12 analogues--they are similar to true B12, but not exactly the same and because of this they are not bioavailable.
Myth #3: Our needs for vitamin D can be met by sunlight.
Although vitamin D can be created by our bodies by the action of sunlight on our skin, it is very difficult to obtain an optimal amount of vitamin D by a brief foray into the sun.
Myth #4: The body's needs for vitamin A can be entirely obtained from plant foods.
True vitamin A, or retinol and its associated esters, is only found in animal fats and organs like liver. Plants do contain beta-carotene, a substance that the body can convert into vitamin A if certain conditions are present. Beta-carotene, however, is not vitamin A.
Myth #5: Meat-eating causes osteoporosis, kidney disease, heart disease, and cancer.
Such claims are hard to reconcile with historical and anthropological facts. All of the diseases mentioned are primarily 20th century occurrences, yet people have been eating meat and animal fat for many thousands of years.
Myth #6: Saturated fats and dietary cholesterol cause heart disease, atherosclerosis, and/or cancer, and low-fat, low-cholesterol diets are healthier for people.
studies have shown that arterial plaque is primarily composed of unsaturated fats, particularly polyunsaturated ones, and not the saturated fat of animals, palm or coconut.
Myth #7: Vegetarians live longer and have more energy and endurance than meat-eaters.
Vegetarians often maintain that a diet of meat and animal fat leads to a pre-mature death. Anthropological data from primitive societies do not support such contentions.
Myth #8: The "cave man" diet was low-fat and/or vegetarian. Humans evolved as vegetarians.
Prehistoric humans of the North American continent ate such animals as mammoth, camel, sloth, bison, mountain sheep, pronghorn antelope, beaver, elk, mule deer, and llama.
Myth #9: Meat and saturated fat consumption have increased in the 20th century, with a corresponding increase in heart disease and cancer.
Butter consumption has plummeted from 18 lb (8.165 kg) per person a year in 1900, to less than 5 lb (2.27 kg) per person a year today. Additionally, Westerners, urged on by government health agencies, have reduced their intake of eggs, cream, lard, and pork. Chicken consumption has risen in the past few decades, but chicken is lower in saturated fat than either beef or pork.
Myth #10: Soy products are adequate substitutes for meat and dairy products.
Soybeans, like all legumes, are deficient in cysteine and methionine, vital sulphur-containing amino acids, as well as tryptophan, another essential amino acid. Furthermore, soybeans contain no vitamins A or D, required by the body to assimilate and utilize the beans' proteins.
Myth #11: The human body is not designed for meat consumption.
Human stomachs produce hydrochloric acid, 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.
Myth #12: Eating animal flesh causes violent, aggressive behavior in humans.
No scientific studies exist to support such a theory. Those that believe this myth would do well to remember the fact that a tendency to irrational anger is a symptom of low vitamin B12 levels which are common in vegans and vegetarians.
Myth #13: Animal products contain numerous, harmful toxins.
If meat, fish and eggs do indeed generate cancerous "ptyloamines," it is very strange that people have not been dying in droves from cancer for the past million years. Such sensationalistic and nonsensical claims cannot be supported by historical facts.
Myth #14: Eating meat or animal products is less "spiritual" than eating only plant foods.
Several world religions place no restrictions on animal consumption; and nor did their founders. The Jews eat lamb at their most holy festival, the Passover. Muslims also celebrate Ramadan with lamb before entering into their fast. Jesus Christ, like other Jews, partook of meat at the Last Supper (according to the canonical Gospels).
Myth #15: Eating animal foods is inhumane.
Without question, some commercially raised livestock live in deplorable conditions where sickness and suffering are common. It is, however, possible to raise animals humanely. This is why organic, preferably Biodynamic, farming is to be encouraged.
Want to read more? Yes, there's more. A lot more. You vegans can go take a nap. I know you need one.
Read the entire article here.