Are We, Humans, Built To Eat Animals?

Ahhh, another day of feeling fantastic and alive!  Sometimes I can't help but think back to my meat-eating days and how crappy I always felt.  Of course, at the time, I didn't realize how bad it was because it was normal to me to feel the way I did.  I was walking around in a constant state of tension, fighting aches and pains, sleeping poorly, likely battling all kinds of disease, and I thought that was just life.  

Now that I know how amazing it feels to live a life not eating animal products, I often ask myself the question:  are we, humans, built to eat animals in the first place?  Are our bodies designed to consume and live off of animals? 

I don't want to get too much into science while addressing this question, I simply am going to look at it from a logical standpoint.  Based on my research and personal experiences, I do not believe humans are physiologically meant to eat meat.  Let me explain.

First, can we all agree on the fact that a human is simply another creature on earth?  Just like lions, bears, monkeys, owls, tortoises, etc., we are just another living creature that wound up on this planet (by way of a divine power or evolution or whatever the hell you believe).  Yes?  Makes sense to me.

With that assumption in mind, let' take a look at what some other animals eat and why.  For sake of comparison, let's explore the differences between plant-eating animals (herbivores) and meat-eating animals (carnivores).  Let's also focus on mammals, because humans are mammals.  Some examples of herbivorous mammals are deer, giraffe, horses, and tortoises.  Some examples of carnivorous mammals are lions, tigers, foxes, and black bears (generally the ones you don't want to bump into in a dark alley).  

OK, let's simply compare the 2 groups of creatures from a biological perspective. 

Appendages

Carnivorous mammals: generally have sharp claws.

Herbivorous mammals:  generally have hooves or hands.

Teeth

Carnivorous mammals:  generally are pointy and sharp.

Herbivorous mammals:  generally are flat and blunt.

Cooling System

Carnivorous mammals:  generally cool their bodies by panting.

Herbivorous mammals:  generally cool their bodies by sweating.

Intestinal Tracts

Carnivorous mammals:  generally very short (about 3 times body length)

Herbivorous mammals:  generally very long (about 12 times body length)

Water Consumption

Carnivorous mammals:  generally done by lapping.

Herbivorous mammals:  generally done by sipping.

Mouths

Carnivorous mammals:  generally have large mouths compared to overall head size, very strong jaws that operate in a vertical fashion, and no digestive enzymes in saliva.

Herbivorous mammals:  generally small mouths compared to overall head size, weaker jaws that operate in a side to side fashion, and saliva with digestive enzymes.

Stomachs

Carnivorous mammals:  generally have much larger stomachs and are very acidic (low PH).

Herbivorous mammals:  generally have smaller stomachs and are less acidic (higher PH).

Vitamin C

Carnivorous mammals:  generally produce their own vitamin C.

Herbivorous mammals:  generally need to obtain vitamin C from food (plants).

Atherosclerosis

Carnivorous mammals:  generally can not develop atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries from the buildup of plaque from cholesterol from animal consumption).

Herbivorous mammals:  generally can develop and have no defense for atherosclerosis.

OK, let's quickly break this down.  Based on the above general observations, humans certainly resemble other herbivorous (plant-eating) mammals.  We have hands designed for picking, rather than sharp claws for tearing through flesh.  We have blunt teeth made for grinding food, not sharp teeth made for penetrating flesh.  We have very long intestinal tracts designed for the digestion of fibers from plants, rather than very short intestinal tracts for the quick digestion of meat.  We sweat and drink water, rather than pant and lap water.  We have small mouths and weak jaws, rather than large mouths and strong jaws designed to latch onto prey.  Our stomachs are small and not very acidic, instead of large with high acidity designed to ward off bacteria from decaying flesh.  We need to get vitamin C from plants to survive, whereas meat-eating animals produce their own.  Lastly, we of course can develop atherosclerosis which results in heart disease, brain disease, and other diseases.  Conversely, carnivores have defenses against atherosclerosis and cannot develop the disease from animal consumption.

OK, maybe we're not carnivores, but we could be omnivores (designed to eat both meat and plants) right?  Let's take a look at some omnivorous mammals.  Some examples are bears, badgers, squirrels, and raccoons.  Interestingly, again, all of these creatures have claws, sharp teeth, shorter digestive tracts, produce vitamin C naturally, and have defenses against atherosclerosis.

To me, it's quite clear that we are built far more like the other plant-eating creatures on the earth, and not at all like the meat-eaters.  That's fair to say right?  Not buying it?  Again, from a logical standpoint (I'm no scientist!), let's think about the following:

  • Taking weapons out of the equation, could you hunt down a wild boar with your bare hands and take a bite out of it? You probably wouldn't do much damage and dislocate your jaw in the process, right?

  • If you put a baby lion in an enclosure with a squirrel and an apple, the baby lion would likely kill and eat the squirrel because it's natural tendency is to do that. If you put a baby human in there, it certainly isn't going to kill the squirrel, but it might eat the apple.

  • Does the site and smell of road kill turn you on? Does a dead carcass with blood on it appeal to you? Carnivores and omnivores are drawn to the smell of raw and decaying meat, yet we naturally gag at it.

I'm not saying I'm right and that we are 100% meant to only eat plants, but humans have no real natural abilities to kill, eat, and digest animals.  Why?