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The Official Newsletter of
updated July 4, 2014

No Animal 
Lives on Meat: 
The Meat Myth

by Ron Brown, Ph.D., author of The Body Fat Guide 

"Ron Brown is a certified fitness trainer who doesn't have an inch of flab on his body. He'll tell you what you can do to become fit and trim too." 
Washington DC

THE inclusion of animal-flesh foods like beef, pork, poultry, and seafood in the conventional Western diet is based on the assumption that meat provides indispensable nutritional needs for humans. The nutritional value of meat is claimed to be validated by observations that carnivorous animals live on meat. But a closer examination of this claim reveals it is not true. No animal lives on meat...and neither should you! This article explains why the value of meat eating is a myth.

Meat, or the muscle flesh of animals, is severely deficient in many nutrients like vitamin C. Although external food sources of vitamin C are not necessary for carnivorous animals who manufacture their own vitamin C, there are other deficiencies in meat that make it impossible for any animal to survive on a meat diet. Carnivorous animals, from domesticated dogs and cats to wild game like lions and vultures, require nutrients that must be provided from sources other than muscle flesh. For example, everyone knows that dogs love to chew on bones, but fewer people realize that bones and marrow provide dogs with essential nutrients that are lacking in meat. The calcium and other nutrients in bone help provide dogs with a balanced diet. Research shows that dogs can't survive for long when fed on only meat. Pottenger demonstrated that cats could thrive on a meat diet provided that the cats received additional essential nutrients from raw milk, otherwise they degenerated and died out. 

In his 1968 book Health for the Millions, Herbert M. Shelton reported that lions held in captivity did not survive when they were fed meat unless they were also provided with small animals for food. The bones, blood, and internal organs of prey must be eaten along with meat to provide carnivorous animals with a balanced diet that is fully adequate in nutrients. Blood, bones, milk, and organs are rich in alkaline minerals which are generally lacking in meat. All animals as well as humans require a diet that is predominately composed of alkaline-forming nutrients. "No lion would do as man does: eat only the muscle meat," Shelton wrote, adding, "he could not do so and live." In fact, lions often leave much of the muscle meat lying around after feasting on their prey, indicating that they don't value meat as much as do some humans. When a lion attacks you for prey, he prefers to drink your blood, crack open your bone marrow, and rip open your intestines. A human who engaged in a similar gorefest would be classified as a psychopath, or perhaps a gourmand. 

From Eskimos in the Artic to the Masai tribe of Africa, humans have also demonstrated that they cannot live on meat without including the bones, blood, fat, milk, and internal organs of animals, all consumed uncooked as wild animals consume it. Raw whale fat or blubber provides a concentrated source of energy for Eskimos, and the Masai drink a mixture of cattle blood and raw milk. Unfortunately, many nutrients in meat like fat and cholesterol are converted to poisons when cooked by "civilized" humans, which is linked to artherolsclerotic heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. By contrast, fat and cholesterol in natural mammal milk is harmless when consumed raw by infants.

Meat provides but a small part of a balanced diet for animals and humans, and it provides no nutrients that cannot be obtained from better sources, including protein, iron, and vitamin B12. For example, the original source of a carnivorous animal's iron and the source of amino acids that the animal uses to form protein in meat comes directly from eating plants or indirectly from eating other animals that eat plants. Animals are incapable of synthesizing amino acids directly from raw materials like nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur—only plants can do this. 


The original source of all other essential nutrients found in the bone, blood, and organs of animals comes from plants as well. As for vitamin B12, it is normally manufactured in the gut of healthy humans and in the gut of vegetarian animals that humans eat, with no need to rely on meat or other animal-based products as a source. Most people with blood disorders related to B12 deficiencies eat plenty of meat and other animal products!

When dietitians list meat as an essential food group to provide protein and other nutrients, they also mention "alternative" sources such as beans, nuts, and other plant-based foods. But in reality, plant-based foods are the prime sources for these nutrients, and meat is at best a second-rate alternative. Animals and humans waste a lot of energy on the complicated digestion process needed to breakdown complex animal proteins into amino acids, which is why carnivorous animals sleep a lot, and also why meat-eating humans have lower endurance which improves when abstaining from meat. 

Proteins in meat have three-dimensional shapes, which are unfolded into strands of amino acids during digestion in a process called denaturing. However, cooking coagulates proteins, which means protein's three-dimensional shape chemically fuses together permanently and cannot be unfolded for proper digestion. Therefore much of the protein in cooked meat becomes unavailable to supply amino acids and is wasted. A similar coagulation occurs to calcium compounds when milk is pasteurized, making the calcium insoluble and unusable. So much wasted food explains why the amount of protein needed to nourish the body on a cooked diet is so high, which harms kidney and bone. As more body protein breaks down each day than can be fully replaced with quality protein from cooked food, the accumulating result over many years is a severe protein shortage by old age. Animals and humans who obtain amino acids directly from the simpler proteins of raw plant foods avoid these problems, and they have better endurance and stamina. 

In addition, when one eats meat, one is also eating the metabolic waste products of the flesh that is normally filtered into urine by the animal's kidneys. These ingested waste products overload the eater's kidneys, accumulate in arthritic joints, and produce an offensive body odor. Thinking of going Paleo? Better stock up on plenty of deodorant if you eat lots of meat! Meat is also high in phosphorus which has been linked to cancer, and carcinogens are produced in meat when meat is cooked at high temperatures. 

Meat production is extremely wasteful of natural resources and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, people who rely on high-protein weight-loss diets consisting of large amounts of meat and other animal-based foods—the Atkins, Caveman, or Paleo diet—would find it easier to maintain health and long-term results by managing their weight with a calorie-controlled balanced diet. After all, Neanderthals didn't survive very long living on meat. 

"But I'm so much healthier now," the Paleo and Atkins fans protest. Well, compared to what you used to be on a conventional diet, that may be true, but how much of that is just from eating fewer processed foods? Regardless, the undisputed facts listed above demonstrate that the claimed benefits of meat eating are a myth.

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