Humans: Herbivores, Carnivores Or Omnivores?

herbivore

carnivoreomnivore“A fair look at the evidence shows that humans are optimized for eating mostly or exclusively plant foods, according to the best evidence: our bodies.”  This quote is the lead-in to an article I ran across on Monday, shortly after I blogged about the paleo diet falling short of sound nutritional basis because it promoted the consumption of meat.  In this extensive article by Michael Bluejay, he cites medical, scientific, anthropological and anatomical experts in making an overwhelming case that we humans were put on this planet to eat primarily plant-based food.  He also provides an interesting psychological examination of why so many people desperately hang on to the contrary view, despite the overwhelming, credible evidence.  The chart below is his summary of just the anatomical evidence supporting the fact we should be plant eaters.  You can read his entire article here.

Humans are biologically herbivorous

Carnivores

Omnivores

Herbivores

Humans

Facial muscles

Reduced to allow wide mouth gape

Reduced

Well-developed

Well-developed

Jaw type

Angle not expanded

Angle not expanded

Expanded angle

Expanded angle

Jaw joint location

On same plane as molar teeth

On same plane as molar teeth

Above the plane of the molars

Above the plane of the molars

Jaw motion

Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion

Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion

No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

Major jaw muscles

Temporalis

Temporalis

Masseter and ptergoids

Masseter and pterygoids

Mouth opening vs. head size

Large

Large

Small

Small

Teeth: Incisors

Short and pointed

Short and pointed

Broad, flattened and spade-shaped

Broad, flattened and spade-shaped

Teeth: Canines

Long, sharp, and curved

Long, sharp and curved

Dull and short or long (for defense), or none

Short and blunted

Teeth: Molars

Sharp, jagged and blade-shaped

Sharp blades and/or flattened

Flattened with cusps vs. complex surface

Flattened with nodular cusps

Chewing

None; swallows food whole

Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing

Extensive chewing necessary

Extensive chewing necessary

Saliva

No digestive enzymes

No digestive enzymes

Carbohydrate digesting enzymes

Carbohydrate digesting enzymes

Stomach type

Simple

Simple

Simple or multiple chambers

Simple

Stomach acidity with food in stomach

≤ pH 1

≤ pH 1

pH 4-5

pH 4-5

Length of small intestine

3-6 times body length

4-6 times body length

10-12+ times body length

10-11 times body length*

Colon

Simple, short, and smooth

Simple, short, and smooth

Long, complex; may be sacculated

Long, sacculated

Liver

Can detoxify vitamin A

Can detoxify vitamin A

Cannot detoxify vitamin A

Cannot detoxify vitamin A

Kidney

Extremely concentrated urine

Extremely concentrated urine

Moderately concentrated urine

Moderately concentrated urine

Nails

Sharp claws

Sharp claws

Flattened nails or blunt hooves

Flattened nails

From The Comparative Anatomy of Eating, by Milton R. Mills, M.D. * “Body length” measured from neck to anus, as with the other animals

God bless

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