Is It Wise to Eat Meat?
Although humans are indeed capable of digesting meat, health statistics clearly favor a diet of plant foods. Just because we can eat meat, should we?
According to paleontologists, the earliest humans came from e3quatorial Africa. Northward migration and successive ice ages created human groups like the Eskimos who were forced to adapt to cold, hostile environments where fresh vegetation was scarce or nonexistent. Arctic Eskimos are living proof that humans can survive on a nearly all-meat diet. Does this mean the rest of humanity can eat meat with impunity? Health statistics say no, given the proven health risks associated with meat eating.
Over the millennia, the Eskimos’ anatomy and physiology have undergone at least some adaptation as a response to the effects of harsh climate and forced abstinence from plant foods. Eskimos are able to gulp down large chunks of raw, blubbery meat and digest it. In fact, the word “Eskimo” means “those who eat it raw”. They can accomplish this because hydrochloric acid, the digestive juice that helps break down protein, is secreted in much greater quantities in Eskimos than in other humans.
Although human beings can and do eat meat, our digestive apparatus and anatomical structures are vastly dissimilar to those of both carnivores (e.g., lions and tigers) and herbivores (cows and sleep). We most resemble bonobos, a small species related to chimpanzees, who eat mostly fruits and other vegetation. Nevertheless, because of the wide range of foods some humans do eat, scientists consider us omnivores. Other researchers make the distinction of classifying humans as behavioral omnivores, not true omnivores, because humans suffer negative health consequences when we exercise our omnivorous adaptive capability. Bears, dogs, and pigs are classified as true omnivores, and for this reason they do not suffer higher rates of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis when they eat meat.