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Sisyphus

Why isn't meat the healthiest food?

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Specifically, human meat! It's made of exactly the same stuff we are, so it seems like it should have all the nutrients we need, in pretty much the right proportions.

 

Why am I wrong?

 

Am I wrong?

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animals are mostly designed to feed on trophic levels that are underneath their own. You get more energy that way.

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Well, yeah, obviously. Thermodynamics and whatnot. But how far does the "design" go? If I take my identical twin, throw him in a blender, and drink him as a smoothie, wouldn't that necessarily satisfy all my nutritional needs as well as anything could?

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Specifically, human meat! It's made of exactly the same stuff we are, so it seems like it should have all the nutrients we need, in pretty much the right proportions.

 

Why am I wrong?

 

Am I wrong?

 

Yes you are wrong. Meat is also made out of the same stuff as a rabbit, hummingbird and an Elephant....none of which eat meat. A tree is not a wooden house and eating a human buttock doesn't turn it into a human eyeball....a chunk of iron ore is not a car and eating a human arm does not turn it into your big toe.

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What? A rabbit doesn't eat meat because it's evolved into a niche of eating plants such that it's no good at eating meat. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be nourished by it if it could/was inclined to manage it. I don't get what you're trying to say with the house/tree and such. Surely eating eyeballs would give you everything your eyes need..?

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I'm no biologist but from what I know the general relation between health, physiological fitness and food source is quite complex, and sometimes what is best food even depends on the individuals specific endeavors, physical activities and environment.

 

Also in general like ecoli said, an organisms preferred food need not have the same composition as it's own biomass.

 

I guess you can "live on" eating humans, but exactly how eating only such things will effect your health and general fitness must be hard to predict? The meat and fat certainly gives energy and nitrogen. About all vitamins and stuff though I am not sure.

 

But to ask what is the optimum food is, seems like a very hard question? Can anyone answer that?

 

/Fredrik

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The problems is I think in part to define optimum. Optimize what? Lenght of your life? Intelligence? Muscle strenght? Reistance against infections? Speed?

 

/Fredrik

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not a lot of roughage in human meat either. You need that to promote a healthy digestive system.

 

I don't think there's any real reason why eating small amounts of human meat is bad... other then social conventions. Afterall, the practice isn't unheard of.

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Ah, forgot about roughage. Get a side salad with your human.

 

And, obviously, you'd have to be especially careful in sterilizing it.

 

The other thing I can think of would be if we need constant supplies of certain things which don't stay in our systems long, and would therefore be found in human bodies in too low quantities. My knowledge of biology is insufficient to evaluate the truth of that, or what those things might be. Vitamin C?

 

I can't really think of any other reason. I mean, I know the traditional Eskimo diet is basically 100% meat, and they're actually pretty healthy, so it does seem plausible, albeit kind of ridiculous.

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If I take my identical twin, throw him in a blender, and drink him as a smoothie, wouldn't that necessarily satisfy all my nutritional needs as well as anything could?

 

Only if your twin is perfectly fed. Otherwise his deficiency will be your own too. Also, your digestive system is designed to extract what is needed from what is available. You should feed it what is available otherwise it will not be efficient/will not work.

 

Oh and, extracting nutrition from blended twins takes more energy than breaking down salad, so efficiency is lost to the point where some foods are so "heavy" it takes more to digest than it givers per subsystem and you start having nutrition issues up to malnutrition and its effects (including death).

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Ah, forgot about roughage. Get a side salad with your human.

 

And, obviously, you'd have to be especially careful in sterilizing it.

 

The other thing I can think of would be if we need constant supplies of certain things which don't stay in our systems long, and would therefore be found in human bodies in too low quantities. My knowledge of biology is insufficient to evaluate the truth of that, or what those things might be. Vitamin C?

 

I can't really think of any other reason. I mean, I know the traditional Eskimo diet is basically 100% meat, and they're actually pretty healthy, so it does seem plausible, albeit kind of ridiculous.

 

No, the traditional Eskimo diet wasn't basically 100% meat. Far from it. There were times of the year when it was mostly meat.

 

you are missing the point. You can't open up a box at one end and drop in all the raw plastics, metal ore, etc. and expect a laptop computer to come out the other end. There are all typs of processes that go on...this is why you have blood, a liver, oxygen exchange, urine, heat and so on. An organism is a lot more than a meat producer.

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it IS compatible with us for the most part, Transplants etc... would not be able to take place if it were not.

THAT is the correct way to assimilate this meat and add it to your own.

the digestive system is not the correct way, is it geared Only to taking in that which is needed for the Upkeep of meat, water and so forth.

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I understand that many people in the Western world have pesticide levels (particularly DDT) that are higher than those permitted in food.

 

People, like most animals, have quite high protein levels and low carbohydrate levels. While it's possible to get by on that for a while it's far from ideal because we would have to produce energy by protein metabolism; breaking them down to produce the energy required to make carbohydrates (the brain can only run on glucose). A better aproximation to "what we really out to live on" might be milk, but even that will be far from ideal.

An entirely carnivorous diet would also contain lots of iron- we would need to shed most of this; there are studies that link high iron levels to heart disease. I'm sure we are short on B group vitamins too.

If you were looking for the best way to transmit parasites, eating raw human flesh would be a pretty good start.

 

One final point in favour of eating people. Imagine I take a muscle biopsy from my own thigh and culture it up. Is this the only morally acceptable way to get a steak? The animal from which the meat is derived explicitly consented to being used in this way; cattle don't.

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An entirely carnivorous diet would also contain lots of iron- we would need to shed most of this; there are studies that link high iron levels to heart disease. I'm sure we are short on B group vitamins too.

If you were looking for the best way to transmit parasites, eating raw human flesh would be a pretty good start.

 

nobody said anything about raw flesh.

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The other thing I can think of would be if we need constant supplies of certain things which don't stay in our systems long, and would therefore be found in human bodies in too low quantities.

 

that's one aspect. water's a good example -- you couldn't get enough water from consuming a person. inefficient uptake rates/retention rates/etc.

 

another is stuff like iodine; iodine is very, very bad to eat, but neccesary for the thyroids to work. so, we eat iodine compounds that are safe, then transport them to the thyroid, which then liberates the iodine.

 

that means, eating people entails either not getting enough iodine, or eating the thyroid and getting enough iodine, but in it's poisinous form.

 

ultimately, the main reason to avoid canibalism is that any diseases that the human has will be completely compatable with us. it's even a good idea to avoid using human faecies as fertiliser for this reason, let alone eating one-another.

 

anyway, i like not having any natural preditors :D

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The iodine in the thyroid gland is in the form of various compounds like thyroxine and I think you could eat them because they would be degraded by stomach acids.

I think the problem has 2 sides- you would get too much of things like iron and protein that the body usually keeps and too little of things like carbohydrates that the body uses up.

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I know meat's an... unpleasant female... to digest. I doesn't require big bacterial fermenting chambers like folivores need, but it takes a lot of energy to break down all the proteins. Too much meat also causes health problems like higher incidences of colon cancer. Our systems just aren't designed to take it.

 

Now as to why, physiologically, I'll leave that to someone who actually knows what he's talking about.

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Wouldn't there be a slight problem with health concerned with the level of toxins consumed? These tend to increase as you go up the food chain, the level of toxins increases, and so perhaps for that reason human meat would not be that healthy....unles you're eating vegetarians:D.

 

I suppose it woul depend on the conditions of the entire ecosystem inhabited by whatever organism you are about to consume.

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Specifically, human meat! It's made of exactly the same stuff we are, so it seems like it should have all the nutrients we need, in pretty much the right proportions.

 

I'm not a biologist and/or I may have misunderstood you but are you suggesting that because we've had all the nutrients to make our body that we should be able to extract them from ourselves and re-use?

 

If this is the case, then it would not be correct because some reactions would be irreversible and some nutrients would be initiators or intermediates and may be lost once used.

 

Sorry if this is irrelevant, but it's what stood out to me.

:)

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