Our Beliefs: Meat and Dairy (MAD) Consumers ~ The Facts: Plant-Based Diet!

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed.

Second, it is violently opposed. 

Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

 -Arthur Schopenhauer

We “human herbivores” no longer need to wonder why we are experiencing epidemic levels of disease (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc.) and environmental devastation; over 50% of all greenhouse gases, and up to 90% of deforestation are caused by meat and dairy (MAD) consumption.

The following is the introduction, human characteristics, comparative outline, and conclusion of Dr. Milton R. Mills’ analysis of human anatomy and physiology: The Comparative Anatomy of Eating” 


BELIEFS

Humans are most often described as “omnivores.” This classification is based on the “observation” that humans generally eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods. However, culture, custom and training are confounding variables when looking at human dietary practices. Thus, “observation” is not the best technique to use when trying to identify the most “natural” diet for humans. While most humans are clearly “behavioral” omnivores, the question still remains as to whether humans are anatomically suited for a diet that includes animal as well as plant foods.

FACTS

A better and more objective technique is to look at human anatomy and physiology. Mammals are anatomically and physiologically adapted to procure and consume particular kinds of diets. (It is common practice when examining fossils of extinct mammals to examine anatomical features to deduce the animal’s probable diet.) Therefore, we can look at mammalian carnivores, herbivores (plant-eaters) and omnivores to see which anatomical and physiological features are associated with each kind of diet. Then we can look at human anatomy and physiology to see in which group we belong. [To read about the anatomical features of carnivores and omnivores visit original analysis at: “The Comparative Anatomy of Eating or view comparative outline below.]

HUMAN HERBIVORES?

GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT

The human gastrointestinal tract features the anatomical modifications consistent with an herbivorous diet. Humans have muscular lips and a small opening into the oral cavity. Many of the so-called “muscles of expression” are actually the muscles used in chewing. The muscular and agile tongue essential for eating, has adapted to use in speech and other things. The mandibular joint is flattened by a cartilaginous plate and is located well above the plane of the teeth. The temporalis muscle is reduced. The characteristic “square jaw” of adult males reflects the expanded angular process of the mandible and the enlarged masseter/pterygoid muscle group. The human mandible can move forward to engage the incisors, and side-to-side to crush and grind.

TEETH

Human teeth are also similar to those found in other herbivores with the exception of the canines (the canines of some of the apes are elongated and are thought to be used for display and/or defense). Our teeth are rather large and usually abut against one another. The incisors are flat and spade-like, useful for peeling, snipping and biting relatively soft materials. The canines are neither serrated nor conical, but are flattened, blunt and small and function Like incisors. The premolars and molars are squarish, flattened and nodular, and used for crushing, grinding and pulping noncoarse foods.

SALIVA

Human saliva contains the carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, salivary amylase. This enzyme is responsible for the majority of starch digestion. The esophagus is narrow and suited to small, soft balls of thoroughly chewed food. Eating quickly, attempting to swallow a large amount of food or swallowing fibrous and/or poorly chewed food (meat is the most frequent culprit) often results in choking in humans.

STOMACH

Man’s stomach is single-chambered, but only moderately acidic. (Clinically, a person presenting with a gastric pH less than 4-5 when there is food in the stomach is cause for concern.) The stomach volume represents about 21-27% of the total volume of the human GI tract. The stomach serves as a mixing and storage chamber, mixing and liquefying ingested foodstuffs and regulating their entry into the small intestine. The human small intestine is long, averaging from 10 to 11 times the body length. (Our small intestine averages 22 to 30 feet in length. Human body size is measured from the top of the head to end of the spine and averages between two to three feet in length in normal-sized individuals.).

COLON

The human colon demonstrates the pouched structure peculiar to herbivores. The distensible large intestine is larger in cross-section than the small intestine, and is relatively long. Man’s colon is responsible for water and electrolyte absorption and vitamin production and absorption. There is also extensive bacterial fermentation of fibrous plant materials, with the production and absorption of significant amounts of food energy (volatile short-chain fatty acids) depending upon the fiber content of the diet. The extent to which the fermentation and absorption of metabolites takes place in the human colon has only recently begun to be investigated.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we see that human beings have the gastrointestinal tract structure of a “committed” herbivore. Humankind does not show the mixed structural features one expects and finds in anatomical omnivores such as bears and raccoons. Thus, from comparing the gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores we must conclude that humankind’s GI tract is designed for a purely plant-food diet.

Facial Muscles
Carnivore Reduced to allow wide mouth gape
Herbivore Well-developed
Omnivore Reduced
Human Well-developed
Jaw Type
Carnivore Angle not expanded
Herbivore Expanded angle
Omnivore Angle not expanded
Human Expanded angle
Jaw Joint Location
Carnivore On same plane as molar teeth
Herbivore Above the plane of the molars
Omnivore On same plane as molar teeth
Human Above the plane of the molars
Jaw Motion
Carnivore Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion
Herbivore No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
Omnivore Shearing; minimal side-to-side
Human No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
Major Jaw Muscles
Carnivore Temporalis
Herbivore Masseter and pterygoids
Omnivore Temporalis
Human Masseter and pterygoids
Mouth Opening vs. Head Size
Carnivore Large
Herbivore Small
Omnivore Large
Human Small
Teeth (Incisors)
Carnivore Short and pointed
Herbivore Broad, flattened and spade shaped
Omnivore Short and pointed
Human Broad, flattened and spade shaped
Teeth (Canines)
Carnivore Long, sharp and curved
Herbivore Dull and short or long (for defense), or none
Omnivore Long, sharp and curved
Human Short and blunted
Teeth (Molars)
Carnivore Sharp, jagged and blade shaped
Herbivore Flattened with cusps vs complex surface
Omnivore Sharp blades and/or flattened
Human Flattened with nodular cusps
Chewing
Carnivore None; swallows food whole
Herbivore Extensive chewing necessary
Omnivore Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing
Human Extensive chewing necessary
Saliva
Carnivore No digestive enzymes
Herbivore Carbohydrate digesting enzymes
Omnivore No digestive enzymes
Human Carbohydrate digesting enzymes
Stomach Type
Carnivore Simple
Herbivore Simple or multiple chambers
Omnivore Simple
Human Simple
Stomach Acidity
Carnivore Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
Herbivore pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach
Omnivore Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
Human pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach
Stomach Capacity
Carnivore 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
Herbivore Less than 30% of total volume of digestive tract
Omnivore 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
Human 21% to 27% of total volume of digestive tract
Length of Small Intestine
Carnivore 3 to 6 times body length
Herbivore 10 to more than 12 times body length
Omnivore 4 to 6 times body length
Human 10 to 11 times body length
Colon
Carnivore Simple, short and smooth
Herbivore Long, complex; may be sacculated
Omnivore Simple, short and smooth
Human Long, sacculated
Liver
Carnivore Can detoxify vitamin A
Herbivore Cannot detoxify vitamin A
Omnivore Can detoxify vitamin A
Human Cannot detoxify vitamin A
Kidney
Carnivore Extremely concentrated urine
Herbivore Moderately concentrated urine
Omnivore Extremely concentrated urine
Human Moderately concentrated urine
Nails
Carnivore Sharp claws
Herbivore Flattened nails or blunt hooves
Omnivore Sharp claws
Human Flattened nails
Certainly is something to think (facts) about, versus how we feel (beliefs)! Plant-Based Diet is our answer to all that ails us and our planet — ALL LIFE! To read the complete analysis by Dr. Milton R. Mills visit: The Comparative Anatomy of Eating

Please note: Vegan Zeitgeist always assumes that progressive and informed human animals are acutely aware that to enslave, exploit, and/or murder any sentient being, for any reason, is the most grievous act against ALL LIFE!

Photo Credit: The Vitruvian Woman by *Hera-of-Stockholm

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About Vegan Zeitgeist

Learning and sharing all things Vegan 4 LIFE! My passion (practice) is Veganism ~ Ahimsa (non-violence) so ALL may Live! (: Ⓥ :) We Are Human Animals Evolving ~ Therefore We Are Vegan! Life to ALL All-Ways! Lain

Posted on February 10, 2012, in VZ Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. really very informative article and i want to add 1 more thing about
    Nutrition and Human Physiology because there is very close relation of nutrition and over food with body so we also understand this

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