Tag Archives: meat

The healthiest carnivores around.

One of those things vegetarians don’t like you to mention is the Saami, Laplanders who traditionally herded reindeer and ate almost nothing but meat. They have bog standard rates of heart attacks and strokes, and a much lower rate of cancer overall than their neighbours. In spite of being exposed to a lot of radiation from Chernobyl. So much for meat being generally carcinogenic. It has to be pointed out none of they meat the eat is farmed, it’s all natural. They do have a higher incidence of bowel cancer, due to the way the preserve the meat (smoking it). But overall, they come out on top. They have a very low incidence of obesity too. They are only getting fat when they swap to ‘modern’ diets.I’ve read another study in the dim and distant past that found men that ate meat slightly more likely to have heart attacks, but a lot less likely to have cancer. This one agrees with it. The nurses study came to the same conclusion too.”Recent studies have not found a lower risk of heart disease, but have consistently shown an overall reduced cancer risk.”
Also, I found an article that calculates the proportion calories from animal flesh in a hunter gatherers diet. It’s not, as veggies claim, negligible at 10%, it over 65%.  

The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: meat-based, yet non-atherogenic
L Cordain1, S B Eaton2, J Brand Miller3, N Mann4 and K Hill5
1Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA2Departments of Radiology and Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA3Human Nutrition Unit, Department of Biochemistry, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
4Department of Food Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
5Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Correspondence to: L Cordain, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. 80523, USA. E-mail: cordain@cahs.colostate.edu
Objective: Field studies of twentieth century hunter-gathers (HG) showed them to be generally free of the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Consequently, the characterization of HG diets may have important implications in designing therapeutic diets that reduce the risk for CVD in Westernized societies. Based upon limited ethnographic data (n=58 HG societies) and a single quantitative dietary study, it has been commonly inferred that gathered plant foods provided the dominant energy source in HG diets.Method and Results: In this review we have analyzed the 13 known quantitative dietary studies of HG and demonstrate that animal food actually provided the dominant (65%) energy source, while gathered plant foods comprised the remainder (35%). This data is consistent with a more recent, comprehensive review of the entire ethnographic data (n=229 HG societies) that showed the mean subsistence dependence upon gathered plant foods was 32%, whereas it was 68% for animal foods. Other evidence, including isotopic analyses of Paleolithic hominid collagen tissue, reductions in hominid gut size, low activity levels of certain enzymes, and optimal foraging data all point toward a long history of meat-based diets in our species. Because increasing meat consumption in Western diets is frequently associated with increased risk for CVD mortality, it is seemingly paradoxical that HG societies, who consume the majority of their energy from animal food, have been shown to be relatively free of the signs and symptoms of CVD.Conclusion: The high reliance upon animal-based foods would not have necessarily elicited unfavorable blood lipid profiles because of the hypolipidemic effects of high dietary protein (19-35% energy) and the relatively low level of dietary carbohydrate (22-40% energy). Although fat intake (28-58% energy) would have been similar to or higher than that found in Western diets, it is likely that important qualitative differences in fat intake, including relatively high levels of MUFA and PUFA and a lower -6/-3 fatty acid ratio, would have served to inhibit the development of CVD. Other dietary characteristics including high intakes of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals along with a low salt intake may have operated synergistically with lifestyle characteristics (more exercise, less stress and no smoking) to further deter the development of CVD.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2002) 56, Suppl 1, S42-S52. DOI: 10.1038/sj/ejcn/1601353

Meat eating is an old human habit.

Humans evolved beyond their vegetarian roots and became meat-eaters at the dawn of the genus Homo, around 2.5 million years ago, according to a study of our ancestors’ teeth.In 1999, researchers found cut marks on animal bones dated at around 2.5 million years old. But no one could be sure that they were made by meat-eating hominids, because none appeared to have suitable teeth.Now an analysis by Peter Ungar of the University of Arkansas has revealed that the first members of Homo had much sharper teeth than their most likely immediate ancestor, Australopithecus afarensis, the species that produced the famous fossil Lucy.

Eating meat requires teeth adapted more to cutting than to grinding. The ability to cut is determined by the slope of the cusps, or crests. “Steeper crests mean the ability to consume tougher foods,” Ungar says. He has found that the crests of teeth from early Homo skeletons are steeper than those of gorillas, which consume foods as tough as leaves and stems, but not meat.

Ripe fruit
But the crests of teeth from A. afarensis are not only shallower than those of early Homo, they are also shallower than those of chimpanzees, which consume mostly soft foods such as ripe fruit, and almost no meat.

“Ungar shows that early Homo had teeth adapted to tougher food than A. afarensis or [chimpanzees]. The obvious candidate is meat,” says anthropologist Richard Wrangham of Harvard University.

Ungar used a laser to scan each tooth and mapped the surface as though it were a landscape, using a geographic information system, he told a symposium on diet and evolution at the University of Arkansas in August.

He had to find a way to compare teeth already worn by use, because unworn teeth are extremely rare in fossils. In a previous study on the teeth of gorillas and chimps, he validated the technique by showing that the differences between species’ teeth remain constant however much they are worn down.
(Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 100, p 3874).
David Holzman.

Homo Habilis.

Homo Habilis lived from about 2.4 to 1.5 million years ago, and is the earliest known species to show novel differences from the chimpanzee and australopithid skulls. The face is still primitive and projecting, but the jaw is pulled under the brain, with smaller molars (though still much larger than in modern humans), and the skull is thinner, with a distinctive rounded shape, vertical sides and a small forehead above the brows. The first humans have arrived on the scene. A male habilis may have stood at around 1.3 meters and weighed 37 kilos, and females 1.2 meters and 32 kilos. However, some forms of habilis were apparently smaller, and may have stood little more than a meter tall.

The two signature evolutionary trends in hominids are increasing brain size — in habilis, to an average of about 650cc — and a proportionate reduction in the size of the face. In habilis the brain shape is more humanlike: the bulge of Broca’s area, implicated in human language, is visible in at least one habilis brain cast. Another resemblance to modern humans is the reduced, less apelike or australopithid sexual dimorphism.

There’s evidence they ate meat, probably mostly scavenged or small creatures. They would still have eaten a lot of plant food, judging by the size of the molars. Homo Habilis itself was often on the menu for the large cats around at the time. Shaped stone tool use quite possibly goes back as far as the Australopithecus genus.

There’s been the suggestion that eating meat (nutirent packed) allowed us to eat the starchy roots (nutrient low), expanding our range of foods. Eating just the tubers and veg wouldn’t provide the nutrients required to build a brian. Vegetable sources of O3 oils aren’t that common, and are usually packed in with O6 oils to boot, making flesh consumption pretty crucial in the history of human brain development