Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Eating Meat Helped Early Humans Reproduce

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the dinner-and-a-movie dept.

Earth 487

PolygamousRanchKid writes "If early humans had been vegans we might all still be living in caves, Swedish researchers suggested in an article Thursday. When a mother eats meat, her breast-fed child's brain grows faster and she is able to wean the child at an earlier age, allowing her to have more children faster, the article explains. 'Eating meat enabled the breast-feeding periods and thereby the time between births to be shortened,' said psychologist Elia Psouni of Lund University in Sweden. 'This must have had a crucial impact on human evolution.' She notes, however, that the results say nothing about what humans today should or should not eat."

cancel ×

487 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Vegan mums today. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761461)

Indeed it doesn't seem to indicate much at all as regards what mothers should eat today. I know two vegan mums and their (vegan) kids weaned off early and are very bright, healthy little 5 and 9 year old kids.

Re:Vegan mums today. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761483)

Gee, I know a child of a vegan mother who's not that bright; obviously, you're wrong.

Re:Vegan mums today. (5, Insightful)

Dragon Bait (997809) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761543)

Gee, I know a child of a vegan mother who's not that bright; obviously, you're wrong.

Why was this post marked "redundant" ... especially when it was one of the first? It's a nice, short, sarcastic jab at substituting anecdotal evidence for scientific study.

Re:Vegan mums today. (4, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761699)

Because people are happier using anecdote to support their opinions than they are changing their opinions when confronted by facts.

It's all about feelings.

Re:Vegan mums today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761923)

It was most likely a mistake as the moderation is no longer there.

Re:Vegan mums today. (1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761485)

I know two vegan mums and their (vegan) kids weaned off early and are very bright, healthy little 5 and 9 year old kids.

And you're a doctor who has examined these children and are in a position to know how healthy they actually are, right? And not just some anonymous coward?

I hear there were some people who wanted to put together a cogent refutation, but they didn't get enough meat during development and they couldn't figure out how to post on Slashdot.

Re:Vegan mums today. (4, Insightful)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761635)

I'm sure if he knows the mothers then they would let him know if they have any health related problems. Plus it doesn't take a doctor to tell if a kid is malnourished. It's always interesting when there's an article posted about veganism and all the haters come out trying to say it's an unhealthy diet. I've been vegan for 12 years and I'm a very healthy person and I don't take any supplements. My wife is pregnant with our first child and her doctor says she's totally fine to be vegan and have the baby. Not sure why people get so offended by vegans.

Re:Vegan mums today. (5, Funny)

w.hamra1987 (1193987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761659)

my cousin smokes a pack a day, and he's perfectly healthy. hell, he's much stronger than me. i don't understand all this "smoking is bad" advertising.

Re:Vegan mums today. (2)

Andtalath (1074376) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761793)

Cause it's got massive evidence indicating that it's very bad for you.
There are no such studies on veganism.

Re:Vegan mums today. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761847)

Cause it's got massive evidence indicating that it's very bad for you. There are no such studies on veganism.

*swoosh*

Re:Vegan mums today. (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762117)

Yes, all through the world everybody is well-fed and not malnourished by being vegetarians. Now, if you believe that, go to India.

The real difference between between a vegan and a normal omnivore human, is that the omnivore (with a simple balanced diet) will provide the best for the infant. The vegan must work hard at it to get a balanced diet.

Re:Vegan mums today. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761769)

It's because by and large vegans are holier-than-thou. They're like the Jehovah's Witnesses of the food world. Every time I'm eating meat they take the opportunity to tell me not only why it's bad for me but how the animals can't consent - tossers.

Re:Vegan mums today. (1, Flamebait)

jps25 (1286898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761833)

I'd rather talk to Jehovah's Witnesses than vegans. In my experience they're a lot friendlier than vegan cunts.

Re:Vegan mums today. (5, Insightful)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761875)

I find if I don't label people 'cunts' they're usually quite friendly.

Re:Vegan mums today. (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762097)

Don't be so sexist, you have to include the vegan dicks, too.

Re:Vegan mums today. (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762091)

As long as they don't yack into my meat lover's pizza, I don't mind them.

It's always the same. You go to a restaurant, order something and you may rest assured some militant Vegan is in the audience, coming over and asking whether you know where that meat comes from and what the animal had to endure... my standard answer is something akin to this:

Yes, the cow never saw a green leaf, it was raised on silo food, wedged in between its peers, with its horns and hooves cut and mutilated so they can't harm each other despite the constant stress of being so close to each other with no way to turn around and nowhere to lay down but in their own filth, being shot up with antibiotics every other day 'cause else they'd be swarming with disease. Then they get pushed towards the transport, with cattle prods because they don't know how to move, they never set one foot in front of the other so they have no idea what is expected to them, then they're wedged into a transport, without any food or water, often for days, the stress even killing already some, before they're again pushed with electric shocks towards the killing floor where they get wedged into a small box where they get a bolt to the brain stem. If they're lucky, sometimes they just use a large hammer to bash in their head, and even the bolt doesn't really kill them, there's still brain waves when the next step comes where they get cut open and cut in half, technically while still alive.

Can I fuckin' eat now or do I have to go on with the less savory parts?

Re:Vegan mums today. (3, Funny)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762165)

where do you live that vegans are hanging out in restaurants waiting for you to order just so they can give you their speech?

Re:Vegan mums today. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762179)

I'm sure if he knows the mothers then they would let him know if they have any health related problems.

Denial is not a river in Egypt, but a lot of people seem to live there anyway.

Re:Vegan mums today. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761487)

Indeed it doesn't seem to indicate much at all as regards what mothers should eat today. I know two vegan mums and their (vegan) kids weaned off early and are very bright, healthy little 5 and 9 year old kids.

And as we all know, anecdotal evidence always trumps scientific research.

Re:Vegan mums today. (5, Informative)

benlwilson (983210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761551)

<quote>
<p>And as we all know, anecdotal evidence always trumps scientific research.</p></quote>

The scientific research says that vegetarian and vegan diets adequately meet nutritional needs and are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including infancy and early childhood (American Dietetic Association)

And before someone suggests that the American Dietetic Association is not qualified to make that determination.
The association has 72,000 members and ~72% are registered dietitians and ~50% of those hold advanced degrees.

Re:Vegan mums today. (2)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761713)

Those "registered dieticians" are inside their own event horizon.

Re:Vegan mums today. (0)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761901)

As opposed to "scientists" like the ones in this article? The flaws of this supposed study are layered so deeply they form a nice, comfy mat you could sit upon and contemplate the existence of anything coming from it, conclusions upon conclusions that have no basis other than the fact that they reinforce each other in some way based upon chosen parameters. Real science requires allowing for many possibilities, not going with some random wacky-ass idea for correlation and running with it to the logical ends of the Earth.

Re:Vegan mums today. (4, Informative)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761855)

They'll also push a high-carb, low-fat diet which won't do anything for you but leave you hungry and make you fat.

The medical industry bought into Ancel Keys early and misleading research on dietary cholesterol and heart disease, none of which has been scientifically validated over time, despite a ton of money (6 NIH studies, $100 million dollars).

Of course, once careers and status is on the line, nothing is let go, and we're still stick in a paradigm that insists that eating carbs and eschewing animal fat is somehow good for us when it's been scientifically well established for 75 years that insulin is the primary driver of fat accumulation.

If the ADA is so fucking smart about diet, why do so many people go on high carb, low-fat, reduced calorie diets and end up as fat as they were when they started? It's a false paradigm.

Re:Vegan mums today. (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761963)

insists that eating carbs and eschewing animal fat is somehow good for us

Hasn't Atkins been thoroughly debunked?

Re:Vegan mums today. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762111)

So has vaccine autism and new earth bull. Did either stop people from believing in it?

Re:Vegan mums today. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761949)

The scientific research says that vegetarian and vegan diets adequately meet nutritional needs and are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including infancy

Vegan infants? No mother's milk? Only soy milk or something?

Re:Vegan mums today. (1, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761547)

I saw a vegan a while ago. A true one, so no supplements, no cheating and I vowed I would NEVER be that 'healthy'.

I also know vegans who let their dogs not eat meat. Idiots. They apparently have no problem with animal cruelty, they just don't want to have it on a plate.

And then when I have a dinner, they are upset if I serve meat. I am not upset if they don't.

But back to the healthy vegans. I bet they take some sorts of supplements and thus support the companies who do the animal testing.

Re:Vegan mums today. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761751)

How do such posts get positive scores?

I eat Veg1. How exactly does this make my vegan diet "untrue"? What is "cheating" supposed to mean?

How exactly is that "cruel" for those dogs?

I'm pretty sure Veg1 has not been tested on animals except voluntarily on humans but maybe you have information to the contrary?

Re:Vegan mums today. (4, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761987)

Well, dogs are kind of naturally predisposed to eat meat. That's why they have forward-facing eyes (better depth perception for hunting), big sharp pointy teeth (good for biting big holes in prey) and strong jaw muscles. It just so happens that they can prtty much survive on vegetables alone, but it's pretty miserable for them.
It's worth pointing out that you *cannot* feed cats a vegan diet at all; all felidae are unable to synthesize taurine and can only get it from meat. Without taurine, cats gradually go blind. Many spiders have quite a lot of taurine, which is presumably why cats eat them so readily.
Feeding any animal a diet that is unsuitable for it is nothing short of abuse. It is hypocrisy in the extreme to criticise feedlot livestock production for feeding cows an un-natural diet and at the same time force domestic pets to eat a diet they simply cannot make use of.

Re:Vegan mums today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762185)

So have you been looking at vegan dog and vegan cat food at all?

Here is an example from the description of Ami Cat food which I found after approximately 10 seconds using google.

Ami Cat is a complete and balanced food, enriched with Taurine, a vitally important nutrient for cats that must be included in their diet.
This essential protein with amino-acidic chain can now be reproduced without using meat, where it is normally present in the muscular tissue.

Ami Cat is a complete food enriched with vitamins and minerals, as well as omega 3s and 6s

Re:Vegan mums today. (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762207)

Right, but why would you abuse an animal by giving it un-natural chemical crap like that?

If you don't want to look after your animals properly, don't have animals.

Re:Vegan mums today. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762209)

Actually, the dogs are omnivores just like us. They can exists just fine on plants. The problem is that just like us, they need a varied diet that is difficult to do with just plants. For humans, knowledge enables it, but it is still difficult.

Yeah, I knew that cats were carnivores, but was not aware about spiders. Thanx.

Re:Vegan mums today. (2)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762057)

Different animals need different kinds of food sources. Carnivores NEED to eat meat in order to survive. Their bodies cannot synthesize the amino acids necessary for function. Dogs are right on the edge, they can survive on non-meat diets, but they have to be tailored correctly so they get the right amino acids. Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores and must have meat to survive.

So yes, it is cruel to not give an animal the food it needs to survive. If a vegan has done the research and feeds their animal a diet with the correct nutrients, fine. But just feeding your animal whatever you want because it makes YOU feel good, without regard for their nutritional differences ain't right.

Re:Vegan mums today. (1)

bieber (998013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761859)

I also know vegans who let their dogs not eat meat. Idiots. They apparently have no problem with animal cruelty, they just don't want to have it on a plate.

Can you quote me a single study showing that properly supplemented vegan diets are inadequate for dogs? I'm guessing not, because there are none. Don't let minor details like lack of evidence stop you from passing judgement on others, though...

But back to the healthy vegans. I bet they take some sorts of supplements and thus support the companies who do the animal testing.

There's nothing non-vegan about taking nutritional supplements. There's also nothing wrong with vegan diets in general, your single anecdote and hasty post-hoc reasoning notwithstanding [google.com] . But of course, leave it to Slashdot to mod up utterly inaccurate nonsense when it comes to veganism...

Re:Vegan mums today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761959)

I have seen one two. Three. Really. You can tell from their funny hats.

Re:Vegan mums today. (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761741)

Did the mothers and the children follow a strict vegan diet the whole time?

KEPT THE WOMEN, WOMEN, TOO !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761463)

Because if a woman don't like me meat, she ai't no woman !!

For today (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761467)

Tell the immigrants to become vegans. They're like rabbits anyways.

Re:For today (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761513)

Tell the immigrants to become vegans. They're like rabbits anyways.

Where South Asia is concerned, that is like preaching to the choir.

obligatory PC closing statement (4, Interesting)

recrudescence (1383489) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761491)

I like how the researcher feels the need to close off with a "don't antagonise vegetarian groups" political-correctness statement, lest she risks being eaten alive (pun intended).

Re:obligatory PC closing statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761517)

Of course. Otherwise their research (and character) would be discredited.

Re:obligatory PC closing statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761521)

I like how the researcher feels the need to close off with a "don't antagonise vegetarian groups" political-correctness statement, lest she risks being eaten alive (pun intended).

Such language is an indication that the author has not attained financial freedom (i.e. rest of one's life paid for) with his/her assets judgement-proofed, that's all.

Re:obligatory PC closing statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761581)

I know right? Veganism is plain ignorance at its best.
They should be mocked, mocked as much as those extremist (anti/) religious groups are.
Vegetarianism is fine, but Veganism is just stupid.

Hell, veganism is technically hypocritical since the whole point is to get away from anything not produced by plants at all.
1) plants, for the most part, are helped by various animal and insect species to survive and breed
2) bacteria help digest food in humans, which then produce crap that OUR bodies is capable of using (better).
Drinking milk from a cow is no stranger than eating most veggies. (it isn't a case of factory farmed milk either)
Without animals and insects that help plants and regulate soils respectively, they'd erode so quickly.

I love these choice words from the Vegan society in the UK, where they will certify that something is Vegan acceptable food if it is free from all animal involvement as far as possible and practical.
So they are still in the same boat as everyone else, they just like to act all high and mighty, but when it really comes down to things that are unavoidable facts of nature, "oh it's just not practical to not eat it."
Hypocrites out the ass, seriously.

Worst part is vegans pushing vegetarian studies for veganism use. Nope, get out. Just get out.
It is becoming increasingly more common in recent years and it is annoying.

Simple fact of nature: without other life, there is no life. Pretty much every lifeform depends on countless other lifeforms to survive.

Re:obligatory PC closing statement (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761781)

veganism is technically hypocritical

"hypocritical"? I get tired of people using this word as if it discredits anything, and using it incorrectly, at that. In order to know if they're hypocritical, you'd have to know the motivations of every single vegan in existence. You don't know what their goals are, and you therefore don't know if they can be considered hypocrites.

You don't even know what they're willing to tolerate. The examples you gave are ridiculous. For all you know, they accept these things as facts of life that cannot be escaped from. If that fits in with their goals, then they are not hypocrites.

Re:obligatory PC closing statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762051)

More than that, one can be a true hypocrite and still make a valid argument. I can expound upon a moral basis for a cultural ban on murder even while stabbing some poor innocent in the heart. As you wrote, hypocrisy does not automatically invalidate any argument; the logic (or lack thereof) stands on its own, regardless of whether the messenger embodies or even believes the words they convey.

Re:obligatory PC closing statement (0)

Andtalath (1074376) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761811)

Err, with your logic, vegetarianism is not better either.

As far as is practical vegans don't, hmm, for a lack of a better word (not native english-speaker) support abuse of animals to get products.

Doing that is by far morally superior to supporting abuse of animals (if you consider animal rights and the animal industry to be morally problematic, of course).

Eating meat is actually pretty much morally equivalent to drinking milk, both are part of the exact same industry of death.

And, I'm lacto-ovo vegetarian, since, well, going further than that would seriously inconvenience me, even if I eat most of my food fully vegan.

Re:obligatory PC closing statement (2)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761935)

What a bizarre interpretation of the world. The industry of death is agriculture taken to its cold, 'logical' ends where we do everything to maximize profit, cruelty and unsustainability. You are not necessarily supporting those things by making purchases of organic foods and, for animal products, ones that involve pastured animals rather than caged and grain-fed animals. I personally am not vegetarian but I rarely eat meat other than if you count my daily fish oil pill. I enjoy dairy and eggs but I purchase grass-fed milk and insect-fed eggs when I want them. What I do is far superior (in my own moral world) to simply not eating animal products. I enjoy them and do so without guilt because I know that I can support agricultural practices that are not cruel and impossible to sustain without wrecking our environment.

Re:obligatory PC closing statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761703)

PETA are only one step away from a terrorist organisation these days, so if I was her I'd have covered my ass, too. Hell, I'd have published under a pseudonym.

Malnutrition (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761511)

Even today, children of vegans still die occasionally due to malnutrition. While careful vegetarians (such as many Hindus whose cuisine has adapted to this) can get everything they need from normal food, vegans need supplements to stay healthy. This is especially the case for children, who haven't built up a store of, for example, B12 yet. Childhood malnutrition quickly leads to retarded development and hence eventually poor intelligence.

Man was never made to be vegan and, judging from our closest relatives the Chimps, probably not vegetarian either.

Re:Malnutrition (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761539)

children of vegans still die occasionally due to malnutrition

How often? I'm sure it could even happen to people who consume meat.

But this is really more of a problem with ignorance than anything else. If they're dying of malnutrition, they're certainly doing something wrong.

Re:Malnutrition (3, Funny)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761587)

Yes, they are feeding the babies pure vegan food.

Re:Malnutrition (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761655)

Isn't most baby food vegan?

Re:Malnutrition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761669)

Funny, I didn't realize that milk was vegan.

You learn something new every day.

Re:Malnutrition (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761729)

Milk is vegan, if the animal you obtain it from, consents to give it to you - in other words, human breast milk can be vegan (though don't try to steal any from the next pregnant woman you see on the subway - that won't go well).

But since non-human animals can't give us consent to take the milk they produced for their own offspring, that stolen cows' or goats' milk is not vegan.

There, now you can say you've learned something today.

Re:Malnutrition (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761819)

hopefully you aren't giving your babies milk from another species. Plus I said "food" milk is more of a drink.

Re:Malnutrition (1)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761951)

No, water is what we drink. Those things with calories and nutrients are liquid foods and need to be carefully evaluated as such lest they are abused. Consider the prevalence of juice in the diet, ignoring alcohol and soda.

Re:Malnutrition (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762007)

you're totally right Brian. Next time someone ask for a drink I'll remind them that only water is a drink and that apple juice they wanted is a food and they should have been more specific.

Re:Malnutrition (2)

boaworm (180781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761739)

Isn't most baby food vegan?

Breast milk isn't very vegan, no :-)

It sure comes from the "animal world".

Re:Malnutrition (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761953)

Breast milk is vegan because the "animal" is able to consent. I know several vegan women, including my wife and they have no problem with breast milk.

I'm vegetarian myself

Re:Malnutrition (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762149)

Stop milking a cow for a few days and I bet you if it could talk it would BEG you to milk it...

Re:Malnutrition (1)

PhrstBrn (751463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761755)

A decent amount of baby food contains meat, meat products (such as beef or chicken broth), dairy, or dairy products (cheese, yogurt).

Re:Malnutrition (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762155)

But this is really more of a problem with ignorance than anything else. If they're dying of malnutrition, they're certainly doing something wrong.

Much of this is half-remembered from stuff I last studied in about 1995, so don't take it as the gospel truth - more as a jumping off point for further research.

You're right that it's ignorance. There's a number of proteins the human body needs. It's relatively easy to supply all of these with a varied, omnivorous diet but rather harder with a vegan diet because there are few vegetable sources of one or two crucial amino acids. IIRC soy is pretty much the only source for at least one such amino acid.

Again, IIRC, I think it's a similar story for some of the B vitamins. There's few non-animal sources so unless you go out of your way to make sure you know what sources exist and include them in your diet, you're potentially in trouble.

The upshot is that if you're going to go vegan, you really should understand nutrition. You can't just wing it and hope for the best; you certainly can't continue to eat the same meals but simply not put meat in when you prepare them.

Re:Malnutrition (2)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761589)

Man was never made to be vegan and, judging from our closest relatives the Chimps, probably not vegetarian either.

Ask any dentist if we are vegetarians.
Also read
The Predatory Behavior and Ecology of Wild Chimpanzees [usc.edu] for those who think chimps are vegetarian.

Re:Malnutrition (5, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761697)

As far as we know, Man wasn't made to be anything. It just adapted to the conditions, but that doesn't mean we're bound to those adaptions, or we wouldn't be using /. either.

Not that I am a vegan (I don't even know any vegans), but this pseudo-religious mumbo-jumbo about the purposes we were "made for" is ridiculous and annoyingly common even among non-theists.

Re:Malnutrition (4, Informative)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761815)

Man as a species wasn't "made" for some higher purpose, but this is probably a sloppy way of saying that homo sapiens evolved with a biological predisposition to consume animal fat and protein as a primary diet source. In other words, man as a species wasn't "made" for a purpose, but any living man was made to eat meat.

In his book "Why We Get Fat", author Gary Taubes makes the point (which the Paleo diet advocates also make) that humans didn't develop anything like organized agriculture until about 8,000 years ago, too recent in our physical evolution to have developed a predominantly grain-consuming physiology.

He references cross-cultural anthropological studies of discovered primitive societies (no organized agriculture) that demonstrate a predominant consumption of animal fat and protein, which tends to reinforce the idea that human physiology is actually evolved to consume animal fats and protein as a primary calorie source.

I highly recommend this book, or if you're up for a more sophisticated read, his earlier book "Good Fat, Bad Fat" which is largely the same topics in a more in-depth version.

Re:Malnutrition (1)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761967)

Nice disingenuous use of the term "primary diet source." There is in fact no such belief that humans with incredible ability to discern plants ever evolved in a situation where meat was more than a "secondary diet source," whereas in the modern world, a typical human will eat meat every day, and almost as often, with every meal. Foraging is just as much part of human nature as hunting.

Re:Malnutrition (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762107)

Foraging may be a part of human nature, but as we're able to study actual human nature, the humans involved seem to prefer animal calories over plant calories.

See:

Cordain, L., J.B. Miller, S.B. Eaton, N. Mann, S.H. Holt, and J.D. Speth, 2000. "Plant-Animal Subsistence Ratios and Macronutrient Energy Estimations in Worldwide Hunter-Gatherer Diets." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Mar;71(3): 682-692.

1 in 5 of the 229 studied populations got at least 85% of their calories from meat or fish; some got 100%. Only 14% got more than half from plant food. None of the studied populations was exclusively vegetarian. Averaged across all the populations, two-thirds of total caloric consumption was from animals.

   

Re:Malnutrition (2)

boaworm (180781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761735)

Man was never made to be vegan and, judging from our closest relatives the Chimps, probably not vegetarian either.

Man wasn't made, man evolved. And we still do. We adapt to our surroundings. Imagine a situation in the future when production of meat for mass consumption isn't viable. In such a case, we will (hopefully) adapt into surviving on a vegetarian diet, perhaps by GM foods or simply paying more attention to eating a broader span of foods.

Re:Malnutrition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761831)

Or our fellow humans.

Re:Malnutrition (1)

bieber (998013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761869)

I'll just leave this here. [eatright.org] The much publicized cases you're thinking of are parents starving their children and then trying to blame it on veganism, not children just spontaneously dropping dead because vegan diets are inadequate (they aren't).

Re:Malnutrition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761933)

Even today, children of vegans still die occasionally due to malnutrition.

Yes, but I would advice you to research these cases before making general statements.

Just one example:
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Diet/vegans-life-starving-week-son/story?id=14508628

"This was not a well-nourished child on any level, but it sounds like this had more to do with not getting enough calories or protein overall than a vegan diet," said Keith Ayoob, director of the Rose R. Kennedy Center Nutrition Clinic at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "Veganism does not starve an infant."

Another one (german):
http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/0,1518,328416,00.html
The article first implies that the child starved because of a vegan diet but it turns out that its parents rejected conventional medicine and thus didn't bring it to a hospital when it got sick. It also turns out the "Fachbuch" (medical book) mentioned in the article is a pseudo scientific book by some crank named Franz Konz who for example denies the existence of AIDS.

Oh, google spits out another one:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1371172/French-vegan-couple-face-jail-child-neglect-baby-died-vitamin-deficiency.html

and they only use alternative medicine.

‘If the mother was not consuming enough vitamin B12, then the child would not be either.’

‘The couple did not follow doctor’s advice to take their baby to hospital when she was suffering from bronchitis and was losing weight when they went for the nine-month check-up.

Who would have thought?

I have not read about any case yet where there was not something else like the mother being malnutritioned herself or further reducing a vegan diet due to some pseudoscientific nonsense.

So yes, you should know what you're doing when feeding a kid. In any case.

Man was never made

Fixed.

Man was never "made" to live to 80+ years. So what? That on itself isn't an argument.

Re:Malnutrition (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761957)

It's not just what they are fed after birth (most vegetarian mothers are sane enough to feed their children properly), but also what their mother eats during pregnancy, which can cause just as much problems but receives much less attention.

Yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761527)

Because we need to have children faster, right? Completely useful in a world with over 7 billion humans!

Re:Yeah. (2)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761595)

Quite useful in the developed world, which in general, has birth rates below the replacement level.

Re:Yeah. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761711)

And why is that bad? I mean, it certainly forces us to re-design our financial system that rely on population growth, but otherwise I think we could very well reduce even the number of people in the developed world.

Besides, nutrition is hardly the reason why we don't have more kids.

Re:Yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761747)

Quite useful in the developed world, which in general, has birth rates below the replacement level.

Low birth rate in the developed world is due to feminism, not poor nutrition. Just look at all the fat asses, it is that obvious. But that is okay, immigration will solve our population crisis. And when the majority will finally be muslim, the consensus will be that feminism was bad because it lead the the demise of the 'native'. Such error will never be made again and for the centuries to come, women will remain in their kitchen.

Posting as Anonymous Coward to hide from the generally accepted misandry of our society.

Re:Yeah. (2)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761771)

It's not due to feminism; it's due to economics.

Having lots of kids in an agricultural society is an advantage. Having lots of kids in an industrialized country with child labour is an advantage. Havings lots of kids in a modern industrialized nation where they're not likely to start supporting themselves until well into their twenties is a liability. People have one or two to satisfy their need for procreation, but the days of 7 - 8 kid families as standard are gone. You'll only get that in families with a religious taboo against contraception, or a certain subset of the poor, who get greater welfare payments because of it (and therefore, many children becomes an advantage again).

Re:Yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762115)

It's not due to feminism; it's due to economics.

And how you think doubling the work offer has affected the economy? When the offer go up while the demand stay same the price go down. In that case it is the salaries. Did you think that women took women-only position that did not exist before feminism? They took men's job, driving the wage down to the point where a single salary isn't enough.

Older children take care of the younger, eventually having more children isn't more difficult. Families of 'modern industrialized nation' earn lot more the families of agricultural society(or should if it wasn't for feminism). They do not need to put their children to work to support themselves. It is a matter of personal choice; you can either live with all the unless junk corporation market for you or you can have a large family. Feminism took that choice away. You may argue that the women choice for a career out weight the women choice to have children, but that would only be your opinion. Feminism is bad by facts.

TL;DR - Wrong. It is due to feminism.

Re:Yeah. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762189)

Feminism? You think we'd have more kids if we didn't let our women work?

Ok, let's see. Mr. and Mrs. Average American just married. They're about 25 each. Yes, 25, way after their ability to have kids started. But they have to finish college first, ya know? You ain't really a human being in our society if you didn't go to college. Oh, ok, the bitch doesn't need to learn anything, let's make her 20. Before that, her parents would never let her go and have a family on her own, we're getting closer with every generation to extend childhood, I guess by 2100 you will go seamlessly from childhood into retirement.

So they're now 25 and 20. But a kid, now, impossible. He has to pay off his tuition loan first, and they can't afford a home, let alone a house, and in their tiny apartment there is no room for a baby. A mortgage you say, to buy a house? Today? Good one, you're a standup, right?

She'll be about 25-30 until they have enough money to consider themselves stable enough to have children. And if she has one, he'll notice that if they have another one, he'll be close to retiring when junior two goes to college... better not.

THAT is the reason for the 0-1 child family today. We simply can't afford kids anymore.

Re:Yeah. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762163)

You don't really think that's due to our diet, do you? It's by no means a problem for a woman to pump out a baby every 9 months and still have more than enough food for them. Hint: Baby food is available from stores.

Vegans killed my mum. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761573)

Nice anti-vegan bias in the comments. Let's continue with the generalizations, assumptions, and attacks. I'm not even a vegan, but this seems idiotic.

Re:Vegans killed my mum. (0)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761719)

I'm looking forward to this. Nothing like vegans and meat eaters going at it emotions cranked up to eleven. I think I'll make a nice batch of non-GM popcorn in the microwave and watch the shitstorm unfold.

All feminist psychos will nuts (5, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761585)

Some feminist psychos will nuts of those results, and not over the mens' nuts. Here is an example of meat and sex, gone wrong... Seriously and dangerously wrong:

"The sexual politics of meat: A feminist-vegetarian critical theory" (http://www.amazon.com/The-Sexual-Politics-Meat-Feminist-Vegetarian/dp/0826411843)

"First published in 1990, The Sexual Politics of Meat is a landmark text in the ongoing debates about animal rights. In the two decades since, the book has inspired controversy and heated debate. The Sexual Politics of Meat argues that what, or more precisely who, we eat is determined by the patriarchal politics of our culture, and that the meanings attached to meat eating are often clustered around virility. We live in a world in which men still have considerable power over women, both in public and in private. Carol Adams argues that gender politics is inextricably related to how we view animals, especially animals who are consumed. Further, she argues that vegetarianism and fighting for animal rights fit perfectly alongside working to improve the lives of disenfranchised and suffering people, under the wide umbrella of compassionate activism."

That book can be seen as part of the ongoing degradation of general observations and science into something very dangerous - views and opinions based on random whims, often with a feminist, religious, sexual or otherwise subjective world-view.

One can hope these new results will help raising the arguments to a decent intellectual level.

Re:All feminist psychos will nuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761843)

As a male vegetarian, I have encountered the "real men eat meat" mentality repetitively. Carol Adams may not be mainstream, but she's not a complete crackpot. My kids are vegetarian as well. My son, at 4 years, saw a bus drive by and noted to me: the number of that bus, 462, is a multiple of 3. I just about crashed the car when he said that. I don't see any evidence of intellectual issues with him as he reads ahead of his class level, and a 6 is doing long division. Likewise, he is average size for his age and does quite well on his medical evals for school. Granted, this is anectodal, but I'm not seeing any evidence of what the Swedish meatballers found.

If we want to get into the study itself, it seems to have a number of issues. First and foremost, they are trotting out that old chestnut that brain size and intelligence are equivalent. They are not. Research has shown that intelligence is genetically determined [sciencedaily.com] in humans. While we do know that lack of adequate nutrition seems to impact later intelligence, the American Dietetic Association has not found any lack of nutrition in vegetarian or vegan diets as noted in their position papers on the topic. Furthermore, correlations between IQ and brainsize as determined by MRI show very weak correlation (R-squared ~ 0.4) despite the title of the meta-analysis [vcu.edu] .

Secondly, using a linear model across a number of species they are saying that weaning time is best predicted by meat consumption. Granted this shows a correlation. However, they also show a strong correlation with body weight, and there is no normalization of body weight or brain weight within a species. Based on their conclusions (correlations only), body size ~ brain weight ~ intelligence. This seems to mean that shorter people should be less intelligent. We just don't see this in real life. Furthermore, we see that late weaning in humans has benefits such as fewer cavities later in life and a better immune system.

This study has so many problems on so many levels....

Re:All feminist psychos will nuts (2)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761983)

You are deluded into believing that 'science' (like this article) is any less whimsical. Seek deeper truth rather than indoctrination.

Has anyone else read Gary Taubes books? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761611)

And have any opinion on his distillation of the research on weight gain and the optimal diet?

It seems compelling, and without any sort of effort other than cutting out carbs I've dropped nearly 20 pounds in two months.

Vegitarian (-1, Troll)

perbu (624267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761613)

which is derived from the indian word "vegitarianash" meaning something akin to "bad hunter".

Re:Vegitarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761653)

you can't even spell vegetarian right.

btw it comes from the latin vegetus (vigorous)

Eating Meat Helped Early Humans Reproduce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761647)

Curiously, it doesn't seem to have helped me.

Breathing Air Helped Early Humans Reproduce (5, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761685)

If early humans had had gills we might all not exist at all. When a mother breathes air, her breast-fed child survives and she is able to wean the child before shortly dying of suffocation herself, allowing her to have more children faster.

'Breathing air enabled the breast-feeding periods and thereby the time between births to be shortened from infinity to a few years', said slashdot reader Capta1n Obvi10us. 'This must have had a crucial impact on human evolution'.

An Anonymous Coward noted in a reply, however, that the results say nothing about what humans today should or should not breathe.

Modern evidence (5, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761801)

You don't need historical analysis. I've seen first-hand that buying a woman steak or lobster helps me reproduce.

Re:Modern evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39761969)

Mmmmmmmm. Woman steak.

Have you ever noticed... (1)

lessthanpi (1333061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761881)

That when you meet someone for the first time, and they are vegan or vegetarian, they let you know it within the first five minutes?

Breaking News! (0)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761931)

Pre-agricultural societies fed meat to breastfeeding mothers!

Moreover, if they hadn't fed them meat, they might have starved!

WOW!

Brain sizes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762021)

her breast-fed child's brain grows faster

The question becomes: do you want your child grow bigger brain faster, or do you prefer your child to have a smaller brain and getting picked on by the children with bigger brain? Choices, choices.

Meat! (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762045)

Meat, it's what's for dinner!

Obligatory:
"If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?!"

Mmmmm......... (2)

Ferretman (224859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762113)

.....bacon.

Ferret

Humans are supposed to be vegan... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762177)

... that's why humans who delight in torturing and killing animals are ALWAYS sociopaths, ALWAYS have clearly visible personality problems due to their sociopathy, and therefore killing and eating animals is an unnatural act for humans.

Any cat owners will understand - your cat is perfectly kind and loving, but when killing prey they are vicious, cruel and ruthless. But you don't view your cat as 'evil' when they are killing their prey, precisely because they are SUPPOSED to eat animals.

Genghis Khan came from a tribe of thick-as-brick scum who subsisted almost solely on animals. He and his band of savages murdered millions of people. Now there's a surprise.

Serial killers always have a history of torturing animals in childhood. But if eating meat is natural for humans, then EVERYBODY would be killing animals while children, and they would exhibit no sociopathic personality traits.

Go and interview slaughterhouse workers if you want to see what I mean.

Now then, Slashdotters, why do you drink cows' milk? Do you know? I'll tell you. BECAUSE EVERYBODY ELSE DOES.

That isn't a good reason to do something, principally because it's completely unnatural to drink the milk of another animal, or ANY animal once you are over two or three years old.

So in other words, you drink milk because you've been brought up to do so, but you've never thought it through, and don't WANT to think it through, because then you might have to admit that something you have been doing your whole life is wrong...

Why don't you drink dogs' milk, or sheep's milk, or horse's milk? Do you know? Why don't you drink human milk? Yet you think drinking COWS' milk is 'natural'?

Nutrition is imporant (1)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762197)

Rather than parrot some trendy position or swap anecdotal information, get the facts before you decide.

Google for "essential amino acids" and "essential nutrients"; those are the things that you MUST eat to maintain your health.

It's possible to get everything you need from a strictly vegetarian diet - but it's very, very difficult. Deficiency disorders are no fun at all; know what you're doing.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?