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Should Humans Eat Meat?

Essay by   •  September 20, 2017  •  Essay  •  708 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,066 Views

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Are humans carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores? Three options, one fact: humans are, in fact, omnivores because humans consume matter of both plant and animal origin. Despite that fact, some of the human population voluntarily chooses to abstain from consuming meat, the question, ‘should humans eat meat?’, seems to continuously emerge in dietary discussions. Though humans have the capacity to survive without eating meat, is it healthier to refrain from eating meat? Truthfully, the answer is a difficult one. Though there are some benefits to a no-meat diet, meat provides necessary nutrients that are much harder to obtain from other dietary sources.

Observationally, there are two distinct and well known dietary groups of humans who have survived while abstaining from meat: vegans and vegetarians. Though both groups are capable of surviving with their respective diets, the question of whether or not all human nutritional needs are being fulfilled by said diets continues to persist. Unfortunately for vegans, “[v]itamin B12 is only found in animal products” (Biesalski, 2005, p. 516), and thus, the intake of micronutrients in vegans, particularly “the intake of vitamin B12, riboflavin, and selenium often is inadequate. Even the use of dietary supplements often does not meet the recommended intake of vitamin B12 and selenium” (Biesalski, 2005, p. 519 - 520). Furthermore, “[p]lasma vitamin B12 levels were low in the vegetarians and extremely low in the vegan group, with more than a quarter below the threshold level where neurological signs may develop” (Biesalski, 2005, p. 520). As such, it is evident that sufficient vitamin B12 and selenium is difficult to consume by both vegetarians or vegans as they do not consume animal products, which may present health issues in the form of neurological symptoms such as sensory or motor deficiencies, seizures, and even minor symptoms of dementia.

Moreover, with iron deficiency being the “most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world”, it is important that humans incorporate a sufficient amount of iron into their diets (Biesalski, 2005, p. 519). Again, a “diet which is primarily composed of vegetables, rice, beans, and corn”, or in other words, a diet featuring an absence of meat, is a diet with poor iron bioavailability (Biesalski, 2005, p. 519). Generally, iron deficiency can lead to anaemia, which leads to symptoms such as lethargy, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, as well as other unpleasant symptoms. Diets like the above can often be seen in developing countries where meat is scarce due to economic factors,



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