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Are Humans Herbivores?

This is one of several pieces I'm writing about the natural diet of human beings. 

We all know today that we live in unnatural times, predominated by sodas, processed foods, biscuits, baked goods, and plenty of other man-made, company-made food. 

The result on our health has been disastrous. Obesity, diabetes, cancer are at an epidemic. Mental health problems are at an epidemic. 

Why is this the case? 

Obviously, our unnatural lifestyles, including our unnatural diets, contribute to this. 

In this article, specifically, in our quest for our natural diet, we will go over whether or not human beings are natural herbivores. 

Herbivores are creatures that subsist substantially on grass, weeds, leaves, stalks and stems.

Proven herbivores include cattle, buffalo, bison, gazelles, goats, sheep, deer, elk, camels, llamas, giraffes, kangaroos, koalas, horses, zebras, donkeys, rabbits ... these are creatures that subsist mostly on either eating leaves, grass, or weeds. This is pretty much all you will see these creatures eating out in nature.​​​​​​

Now it's probably obvious that human beings aren't pure herbivores. 

Does the idea of living on a diet of only leaves, grass, or weeds attract you? 

Probably not. 

These foods do not tantalize our senses and arouse our palates. 

But from a scientific views, humans are not physiologically built to eat a diet high in leaves, weeds, or vegetable matter. 

We do not secrete the enzyme, cellulase, as herbivores do, to break down the cellulose found in these food matters. Thus, digesting these foods is extremely taxing on our bodies. More over, digesting these foods is usually a long-out process. Herbivores have intestines that are 20 times its body length to deal with the long drawn out process that digesting plant and vegetable foods take. Human beings only have intestines that are 9 times its body length. Ruminants are mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions. Herbivores, such as cows, have four-chambered stomachs specifically to break down plant matter. With ruminants, such as cows, plant material is initially taken into the rumen, where it is processed mechanically and exposed to bacteria and then can break down cellulose (foregut fementation). In the reticulum, the food is further degraded. More finely-divided food is then passed to the omasum, for furhter mechanically processing. And then the food is passed to the true stomach, the abomassum, where the digestive enzyme lysozyme breaks down the bacteria so as to release nutrients. 

Human beings do not have a four-chambered stomach. We do not have a specialized compartment to break down cellulose in our bodies. Thus, physiologically, it is easy to see that we are not herbivores.

Thus, physiologically our lack of the digestive enzyme, cellulase, and our shorter intestinal tract makes us ill-equipped to eat a diet as herbivores do. 

Now human beings do supplement their diets with vegetables, especially the tender, easy-ones to eat such as lettuce, celery... but we are not primary vegetable eaters. Many of the tougher cruciferious vegetables, including brocolli and cauliflower, contain insoluble fiber, which is harsh on our bodies. Our bodies deal much better wtih soluble fiber. Though it is true that many of these vegetables are rich in nutrients, such as minerals, we can obtain the same nutrients mostly from our natural foods, chiefly which is fruit.

Thus, a diet predominated is not our natural fare. 

Thus, humans are not natural herbivores.

Tags of Post: are humans herbivores, cellulase, cellulose, ruminants

Author: Natural Living

Published on June 20, 2018


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