Why We Need Meat

July 19, 2008

I’m really excited about this post! This is an exclusive post written by Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple. What I like about it is that he is shaking things up here with a controversial subject… An article on why we actually NEED to eat meat (every other girl in downtown Seattle where I live is a vegetarian…I love it that he questions this trend).
expensive kobe beef tokyo
[The world’s most expensive steak can be purchased at Aragawa Restaurant in Tokyo, Japan. An 8 ounce steak will run you $380.]

Why I Think You Will Enjoy Mark’s Writing Style

Mark’s blog is massively popular due to the fact that you just can’t find this stuff in magazines or any mainstream publication. I highly suggest you visit his site on a regular basis and subscribe to his RSS feed. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs. I am pumped that he wrote this article exclusively for this site. How cool is that?

Here is a Picture of Mark at the Age of 54!

mark sisson at 54

Mark stays this ripped year round. I like fitness authors who “walk the walk”. I guess I’m just picky about who I take advice from…I mean, why take advice from someone who is out-of-shape?

He knows a thing or two about fitness and nutrition. He was former editor of Optimum Health newsletter. He has written several books including Maximum Results, The Fat Control System, The Anti-aging Report and The Lean Lifestyle Program.

Oh yeah…he is “slightly” functionally fit as well, finishing as high as 4th place in The Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. This is a MAJOR accomplishment!

[Okay…okay…so I know you want to dig in to the article. Here goes…]

Why We Need Meat
by Mark Sisson

Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are more common than ever, especially in my neck of the woods (you guessed it, Southern California). I see the menus, hear the pitches, and even read the occasional bogus study that comes out in support of these diets (don’t get me started on the China Study). I once did four-month vegetarian experience in my 30s. I’ve even spent a week as a vegan, with an uncomfortable outcome in an otherwise fun vacation with extended family. Having studied the phenomenon (as well as the science) up close and personal, let me tell you I’m not convinced.

It’s not the most politically correct time to be a meat eater, I understand. And I empathize with those who forgo or reduce meat consumption for environmental and ethical concerns. My wife and son are among them. Nonetheless, the fact remains (as science and human history show), we need meat for optimum health.

First off, let’s get this on the table: no human civilization has ever subsisted, let alone thrived, without animal flesh of some kind. In fact, the study of past and current tribal populations shows that traditional diets contain about twice the protein intake of the typical Western diet today. On average, about a third of hunter-gatherer diets were protein-based. And protein for these folks meant mostly meat.

Research on remaining tribal cultures confirms the healthfulness of the traditional hunter-gatherer style diet. High protein, fruit- and vegetable-rich diets (with virtually no other carbs and few unhealthy fats) seem to protect against the so called “diseases of wealth” we’ve burdened ourselves with in the developed world (heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, arthritis, etc.).

In my little adventure on “Vegan Island” I got to hear the famous Dr. John McDougall’s doctrine on the health advantages of veganism. But when I looked around me, the picture didn’t fit the caption. Overweight people drawn to a philosophy that was clearly doing them no favors. As for the “thin” members of the fully fledged vegan group? I believe the label “skinny fat” would be an apt description.

evangeline lilly
[Rusty’s side note…Evangeline Lilly is an example of a slim woman who isn’t skinny fat. She is a great role model for women who want to get in great shape while still looking feminine.]

Okay! Quit looking at the picture…back to the article…

I don’t say this to be snide. I say it because the current nutritional “culture”, I believe, steers us the wrong way. To gain and maintain muscle mass, adequate protein consumption is essential for everyone (yup, men and women). For us seasoned folks out there, it’s especially critical for overall health as well as muscle mass maintenance, which is key to successful aging, of course. Fats are essential as well, you simply can’t live without them. As for all those carbs we athletes gorge ourselves on? Let me clear something up. Carbs provide glucose that serves as short-term fuel for muscles, but it doesn’t do a thing to build or maintain them. In fact, there is no actual requirement for carbs in the human diet.

As an active person, I eat (here’s an example of my daily diet break down) about 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass each day. For me, that’s about 150 grams of protein a day. (The powers that be would suggest I should be eating half that or less.) I’m 55 and have never been healthier or more fit in my life. Take a look if you like and judge for yourself.

And let me just put the big anti-protein critics to rest. One of the most common critiques links higher protein diets to impaired kidney function. Recent research suggests, however, that people without prior or developing kidney or liver impairment do not experience any kidney or liver issues with a higher protein intake (1.3 g/kg/day). People most at risk for this kind of kidney stress include those who have a personal or family history of kidney or liver problems or those who have high blood pressure or diabetes. And what about the osteoporosis link? This is an outdated claim that just doesn’t hold water. Most new research, including USDA studies, suggests bone density improves with added protein intake in most deficient or borderline people when they also have adequate Vitamin D. Stress, salt intake, and lack of weight-bearing exercise has more impact on bone loss.

But what does adequate protein intake look like in terms of a day’s menu? How do I personally fit 150 grams of protein in a day? I can tell you one thing: I’d be more than hard-pressed to do it without meat. In fact, as a vegan I think it would be pretty much impossible. Check out a few protein estimates (compliments of The Harvard School of Public Health and Northwestern University), and I think you’ll get the picture.

Beef (6 oz.) – 54 grams
Turkey, breast (6 oz.) – 51.4 grams
Pork Chop (6 oz.) 49 grams
Turkey, dark meat (6 oz.) – 48.6 grams
Hamburger (6 oz.) – 48.6 grams
Chicken, dark meat (6 oz.) – 47.2 grams
Tuna (6 oz.) – 40.1 grams
Chicken, breast (6 oz.) – 37.8 grams
Salmon (6 oz.) – 33.6 grams

Cottage cheese (1 cup) – 28.1 grams
Yogurt, low fat (1 cup) – 10.7 grams
Skim milk (1 cup) – 8.3 grams
Whole milk (1 cup) – 8 grams
American cheese (1 oz.) – 7 grams
Soymilk (6 oz.) – 6.7 grams
Egg (1 large) – 6.3 grams

Beans and Legumes, Nuts
Tofu (6 oz.) – 13.8 grams
Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp.) – 8.1 grams
Almond Butter (2 Tbsp.) – 7 grams
Lentils (1/2 cup) – 9 grams
Split Peas (1/2 cup) – 8.1 grams
Kidney Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.6 grams
Sesame Seeds (1 oz.) – 7.5 grams
Black Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.5 grams

Fruits and Vegetables
Orange (large) – 1.7 grams
Banana (medium) – 1.2 grams
Green Beans (1/2 cup) – 1 gram
Carrots (1/2 cup) – .8 gram
Apple (large) – 0 grams

Let’s put it this way. As a vegetarian, I’d have to consume a boat load of dairy, which isn’t the healthiest choice and often presents some rather uncomfortable consequences. As a vegan, I’d be gorging on beans (you fill in the blank on that one) trying in vain to get enough protein, all the while cramming in more starchy carbs. Tofu? There are many reasons to avoid it, and I certainly wouldn’t ever make it a staple food. Nut butter? I love almond butter as much as the next guy or gal, but I’d be shoveling away more than a jar of it a day if I was depending on it for a central protein source. How does that feel in your stomach?

world's most expensive chicken dish
[The World’s most expensive chicken dish is $231 at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris.]

The fact is, we need meat for an efficient, bioavailable source of essential protein. But let me say that I do still believe in feeding your body the “cleanest” protein you can. Factory-farmed meats and fish can carry the heaviest “toxic” burden of our modern food supply. These toxins can be plentiful enough over time to put a strain on anyone’s body, including liver and kidneys. Choose organic, grass-fed meat and poultry whenever possible, and go for wild instead of farmed fish. Short of that, trim the excess fat off those supermarket family-pack steaks.

After my own week-long foray into vegan living, I found myself a few pounds short of muscle (which I was able to regain) and more convinced than ever that meat was essential for healthy living. An essential part of human evolutionary design, meat holds a central place in my Primal Blueprint philosophy. That first night back from vacation, it was also the main fare for dinner. A Porterhouse steak never tasted so good.

Important Message: Although this site has received 25+ million visitors, I am starting from scratch and abandoning it. This site is dated and old school looking, terrible to read on mobile, etc.

It's like a Ford Pinto compared to my new site...which is like a Ferrari. Click the link to head over to my new site.

Starting Over...R.I.P. Fitness Black Book!

Thanks for reading all these years!


----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

matt January 21, 2010 at 6:45 am

Whilst i do believe that many forms of meat includes lots of protein, iron and other vitamins and minerals, i do not believe that it means it is right to go ahead and gorge on the flesh of what was a living thing… i mean human meat might be full of protein but do we eat it… no… and besides you can find all that is needed to live a largely successful and healthy life without meat..

So for all of you who read this article full of honest factual evidence.. just remember sometimes the easiest solution is not necessarily the most right. Einstein said it himself – “Vegetarian food leaves a deep impression on our nature. If the whole world adopts vegetarianism, it can change the destiny of humankind.” Albert Einstein

Bill February 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Protein anyone? We cannot eat protein and still be vegetarian? Sad… 🙁
We obviously have to eat meat!!!

Lucas March 21, 2010 at 12:30 am

I’ll have to disagree with this information.
I was a meat eater for 25 years, then turned vegetarian and now wont eat meat or dairy and eat very little processed food. My energy is better than ever. My metabolism sped up and I can now use the bathroom 2 times a day instead of 2 times a week. I’ve seen a 72 year old who eats only beans, fruit, vegetables and nuts and is in excellent build shape and looks more like hes 45 years old. Recent studies show that some people need more sugars some need more protein and some can just plain live off a balanced diet and not crave too much of anything.

The body breaks down the protein for amino acids which are in the vegetables you eat and the vegetables the animal eats before you eat the animal. The USA no longer goes by the advice of the farmer but by the advice of a pencil pusher creating a factory farm process. I can go on and on about this but the truth is that some of us need more protein than others and not necessarily meat. Keep in mind that its the meat which causes so many of the diseased in people who then have to medicate themselves.

Also human teeth are designed for grain breakdown, our bodies cant tolerate cholesterol in meat and if you eat a raw chicken like a wolf would you would be dead. Wouldn’t evolution adjust all this for us? Nope the body tries to adjust but not conform. My results speak for themselves and I would never go back to eating meat.

Lucas March 21, 2010 at 12:34 am

Kara tell him to go watch Food Inc.

vegan friend May 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Check these websites out…


Anonymousa May 19, 2010 at 2:41 am

That 72 year old could have started his diet very early in his life. The effects are only immediate if the diet isn’t done right. Its the long term effects that get people, and yes, the long term effects of heme iron deficiency and B12 deficiency can be severe (Heme iron is found strictly in meat. Not even dairy products have it in them. While B12 is simply in smaller amounts).

And finally, our teeth very much resemble a pigs and a chimpanzees, both being omnivores; We also cook and sanitize our vegetables, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t built to be able to digest them too.

Lightspeed May 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm

“Properly planned vegan diets are healthful and have been found to satisfy nutritional needs, and may offer protection against heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. – American Dietetic Association”


sciatica cure July 20, 2010 at 10:19 am

I like to vegetables very much , not only for nutrition,but also I like green

sue August 30, 2010 at 11:56 am

We dont need meat at all. Go to drday.com and a Dr from america will tell you all about it. Meat has no enzymes, it has no fibre, and we need this to digest our food. Listen to Dr Day. It was the best thing I ever did.

Dana September 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I wish meat-eating advocates would quit focusing on the protein question because, to me, it’s not even the most important one. More on that in a minute.

First off, whether you can get enough protein on a vegan diet (obviously you can on ovo-lacto) is irrelevant. What’s coming along with that protein? If you get it by combining grains and pulses (even if throughout the day rather than at one meal–yes, I’m aware of that controversy), you’re intaking a hell of a lot of starch along with that protein. If you get it by eating a lot of soy, you’re chelating your mineral intake before your body ever gets to use it, and you’re killing your thyroid gland. You can get around the chelation problem somewhat by eating traditionally fermented soy since that destroys most or all of the phytic acid in soy, but you can’t ferment away the goitrogenic compounds also present. If anyone has any other ideas for vegan protein sources that don’t involve making up some fake industrial food crap in a factory, I’d love to hear ’em. It won’t sway me any, but maybe it’ll help someone else.

Second off, you’re not getting the right fatty acid profile in your diet if you never eat animal foods. Despite propaganda to the contrary, we desperately need saturated fat in our diets. If we don’t eat it, our bodies make it–from the carbs we eat, no less. The process involved in making fatty acids from carbs is not exactly good for the body.

Third off, you’re getting no cholesterol at all. Again, despite the propaganda, you need cholesterol–to feed your brain, to make hormones, and so on. If you don’t eat it, your body will make it–and again, carbohydrates are involved and, again, the process is not exactly good for the body.

Fourth off, you’re either not getting or you’re not getting the best form of several micronutrients. Off the top of my head I can name vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin K. In the case of vitamin B12 you MUST rely on industrial supplement sources if you are a vegan. In the case of A and K your body must convert them. If you’re diabetic or hypothyroid, you can NOT convert beta carotene to vitamin A. You simply do not have the ability to undergo the process. Now, vitamin A can be stored in the liver, which is why liver is such a good dietary source of the vitamin. But eventually your stores will run out, and then you’re in trouble. And there is NO plant food with vitamin A in it, no matter what the USDA says. What you want is the preformed retinol. Beta carotene is about as much vitamin A as a lump of clay is a brick. I found this one out the hard way when I developed reproductive health problems. My daughter’s kidney defects may have also been caused by my over-reliance on beta carotene.

If I am not mistaken, the form of K in plant foods is K3, which is pretty well useless. The proper form for human bodies is K2. You not only need it for blood clotting, you also need it for optimal maintenance of your skeletal structure. Going without it means your body deposits calcium wherever it feels like putting it, rather than putting it into your bones where it belongs. This is where some of that hardening of the arteries comes from in people who eat industrial diets. It also occurs in vegetarians and vegans, particularly the latter, whether they like to admit it or not.

Vitamin B12 is a sneaky bugger just like vitamin A is. Again, you can’t get the ideal form of it from plant foods–actually you can’t get it there at all. Vegans must take supplements. Your body can sort of get by on cyanocobalamin, but eventually you’re going to use up your B12 stores (as far as I know this is the only B vitamin we can store) and you’ll wind up with pernicious anemia. The only populations of vegans I know of who get away with not supplementing are Jains in India who eat the market produce. Why? It’s got bug eggs on it. When they emigrate to someplace like the UK with tighter standards for insect parts and that kind of thing, they get sick.

And finally, there are indigenous tribal communities that get by on nothing but meat and fat, or meat and dairy. There are no extant vegan indigenous tribal communities. You must have the support of a modern food industry to eat vegan and get away with it for any real length of time. Human beings are primates, primates are insectivores, and bugs are meat. End of story. The fact we can eat plant foods and get away with it says only that we are non-obligate carnivores, not that we’re herbivores like cows or rabbits. Even orangutans eat bugs, and chimpanzees hunt!

Dana September 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Oh! Vitamin D! I forgot vitamin D. Guess what? There is only one non-animal food source of vitamin D: mushrooms! What if you’re allergic to fungus? A lot of people are. And you do have to eat vitamin D to get enough in your body if you don’t happen to live at the equator year round. Especially if you live north of South Carolina, which most of the country does.

Allan Innes November 5, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Dana, I hope you realize that, by advocating for (and practicing) the consumption of other living and feeling creatures, you leave yourself open to this same mode of logic.

Within such, why should you not be on the dinner plate? Because you can speak out?


John December 14, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Gee, I wonder why all of the vegetarians and vegans aren’t just dying off instead of multiplying. This guy is full of crap, literally. “the body has no need for carbs at all”?! The brain functions on glucose exclusively, supplied by carbs. In the absence of carbs, the body converts protein to glucose thru gluconeogenisis, producing toxic byproducts, ketones. Ever see actor/bodybuilder Carl Weathers of Rocky fame? Vegetarian. Bill Pearl, Mr. Universe at 40, vegetarian. Vegetarians, statistically, live longer, have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower body weight than meat eaters. Also lower incidence of heart disease and of colon and prostate cancer. If not for health reasons, then for humanitarian and environmental reasons we should all adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Bianca March 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I’m 23 and have been Vegetarian since I was four. While I gym and dance regularly and am fit, I fall into the overweight category (statistically the average size 12 in the US and 14 in UK/Aus) and have done so my entire life. I have no trouble with other people eating meat, I can’t even stomach the thought of starting.. I do wonder however, if by not eating meat my body is missing out on something?

victoria April 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I’m so glad I came across this article for many reasons. This is a lenthy post so I apologize in advance lol.
I too feel that it is not PC to admit that you eat meat (I am a 26 yr old female in Toronto) given the shifting political, environmental and ethical climate we find ourselves living in. However, I am an omnivore and I firmly believe that it’s the best thing for my body and many others, as well as the environment, given one doesn’t go overboard w meat and dairy and consume it in an ethically produced manner. A focus on consuming local fresh veggies and fruit, healthy fats w some whole grains added in would also be beneficial imo.
Now, notice how I say “many others” and don’t lump everyone into one collective entity as “ALL others”?? That is because I believe it is not my right to tell somebody what they should eat and am a firm believer in what is one mans medicine, may be another mans poison and I would expect the same consideration in return.
I don’t question for one moment that there are ppl who thrive on a vegetarian or even vegan diet when done properly, but to say that EVERYONE can and SHOULD based on their own personal beliefs is dangerous on many levels. First, every human has a unique bio chemistry that synthesizes proteins and enzymes and absorbs nutrients differently. The notion that everyone can absorb all essential nutrients from plant based material is absurd and if you don’t take my word for it, perhaps consider all the many ex-vegans who had to convert back to consuming at least some animal products to get their health and energy back.
There is an online forum of ex-vegans (some were vegan for more than 15 yrs) who share their stories of feeling amazing at first on a vegan diet, then gradually over the years, got sick with low evergy, anemia, poor teeth condition, diabetes, not to mention their physical appearance was sallow w no muscle mass. This wasn’t as shocking to me as were the responses these ppl received from current vegans; “well you just werent doing it right” or werent “trying hard enough” and even “you were just looking for an excuse to eat a cheeseburger, and don’t care about the animals welfare” are some nasty retorts I read, to which I reply, seriously? I mean…Seriously? Firstly, going back to the point about absorbtion of nutrients, these people spent alot of time properly researching veganism, buying books, going to seminars and NDs so I don’t think they just were doing “it” wrong or half-assed so much as their bodies just couldn’t sustain themselves properly in the long run without at least some animal supplementation no matter how much they believed it was the “right” thing to do.
Now, this isn’t an attempt to prove that veganism is wrong in any way, it just only demonstrates that not everyone can thrive on it, even when they truly believe it’s best way to live. It also raises the question that if veganism is supposed to be the most natural, best way to live for everyone (including animals) why do most humans have such a hard time adhering to it and aren’t reaping the benefits of it? Humans are adaptable creatures by nature and yet it seems like this “perfect diet” has been set up for the majority of the world to fail, giving those who do succeed a cavaliar, elitist view on the world which makes them also feel entitled to not only make dietary choices for the rest if us, but to also impress on us whatever standpoint they have regarding religion, politics, environment and personal ethics they have concerning eating animals.
To sum this all up, I don’t believe there is a one size fits all diet when it comes to all aspects of how humans thrive and their relationship to animals. Being an omnivore, | feel and look great and have boundless energy but I also try to make ethical choices in the animal products I do consume as to ease suffering and support local agriculture.
In the meantime, bc I am considerate of others choices as much as I may not agree with them, I can only ask the same in return from those who dont share the same view. Ohhh man that was a mouthful lol (no pun intended):)

Jesse April 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Just because it didn’t work for you, Mr. Author, does not mean that others will be as uncomfortable as you were. You spent one week as a vegan? I have friends that are healthy and are sustaining their nutrition just off of vegan diets.

Meat is processed in disgusting factories, and more often than not is tampered with to alter taste, appearance, and nutrition. If you ask me, that’s the worse end of the stick.

Ibrahim September 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I was stuck on the picture for 20min 😛
Great article man 🙂

saab September 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm

“In my little adventure on “Vegan Island” I got to hear the famous Dr. John McDougall’s doctrine on the health advantages of veganism. But when I looked around me, the picture didn’t fit the caption. Overweight people drawn to a philosophy that was clearly doing them no favors. As for the “thin” members of the fully fledged vegan group? I believe the label “skinny fat” would be an apt description”

You also have to remember the fact that Mark Sisson also puts great emphasis into exercise whereas vegans tend to rely solely on diet alone. This can be a factor to why vegans seemed to have the “skinny fat” mentioned here. There are vegan athletes and body builders that look like Mark Sisson. Just type in “vegan bodybuilding” in Google and look at the images as well. Here, Mark Sisson is comparing meat-eaters that exercise to vegans that don’t exercise.

saab September 14, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I wanted to share something with all of you.

2 Eggs: 12.6g
2 Orange: 3.4g
1 cup natto: 31g
100g Pecan: 9.17g
100g Hazelnut: 14.95g
1 cup brown rice: 5g
20 cups of vegetables: ~60g

Altogether: 136.12g of protein without any meat at all.

I don’t know what all this anti-vegetarian/vegan stuff is all about, but it looks here you can still get plenty of protein without meat. By the way, natto is type of fermented legume(soya) originally from Japan. Since it’s fermented, the toxins are deactivated, and will cause no intestinal gas like eating un-fermented soya or legumes. So if you are a vegan, you can replace the two eggs with a sum of natto. To get twenty cups of vegetables in one day, snack on them.

However, with all those muscular vegan bodybuilders out there, the quantity of protein needed as Mr. Sisson suggests in this article comes into question. As I said in my previous comment, type in “vegan bodybuilder” or “Avi Lehyani” and click on the images as well.

Michelle Black October 2, 2011 at 9:47 am

NOT TRUE!!! As long as you are eating a balanced, healthy vegetarian or vegan diet you can achieve the heights of fitness! Watch this video on monks performing very cool kung fu moves.. impressive & they live on a vegetarian diet. veglov.blogspot.com/20…meat-myth.html
Also there are examples of olympic athletes and bodybuilders who are vegetarian/vegan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIcSuA2b_Wc
Just because meat-eating works for him, doesn’t mean that vegetarian wouldn’t work for him, or for someone else. What he is writing about is an OPINION, not fact.
Since becoming vegan, I have no issues with energy levels. I can perform my workouts just as intensely. A balanced diet is key. Making sure you get all your vitamins & minerals, vegetarian sources of protein are extremely easy to get.. beans, lentils, soy, grains, nuts & seeds, some fruits & veggies. All you need is B12 supplement for vegans.

Jack November 11, 2011 at 11:26 am

Whether you are active or not I can’t believe that you need 1gram of protein per pound of body weight. I would really like to know where you got that information from or if you just made it up.

I have found quite a bit of research that shows that protein intake is directly related to osteoporosis, not the other way around like you are suggesting. Studies have shown that the countries that eat the most meat and dairy are shown to have the highest rate of osteoporosis. You might want to read some of these articles

Beyond that, there are so many sources of protein that you do not need to rely on meat to attain the amount of protein you need (unless of course you think you need a lot more than you do.) I am not saying meat is bad, I eat meat sometimes, maybe once or twice a week, but I also won’t say it is the best thing for you. How do you think that the animals you eat get their muscles? In most cases (cows, chickens, etc/) it is from eating plants and using the amino acids from those plants to create protein not from eating meat…

[My Opinion and nothing more]
No matter what type of diet you eat(vegetarian, omnivore), exercise is just as or more important than what you are eating in terms of your appearance and cardiovascular health, in terms of overall health, I really believe it is a mistake to eat a lot meat.

sciatica November 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Great pictures and nice articles.
I think it’s better to eat vegetable.

Brandic2020 November 18, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Only meat contains several amino acids like taurine, creatine, and carnitine that can only be found in meat. The body can produce them, but at small amounts. Meat also contains the DHA and EPA forms of omega-3, while plants only contain the ALA form. The body can convert ALA into DHA and EPA, but at inadequate amounts.

The studies that show how protein supposedly causes osteoporosis was done using isolated amino acids and fractionated protein powders rather than consuming protein from the meat as a whole. When meat is consumed as a whole, it has cholecalciferol and retinol which prevents the protein from disturbing the body’s biochemistry, which would also prevent the supposed mineral loss.

The reason why cows or chickens can get all the amino acids from only eating plants is because they are HERBIVORES. Humans are OMNIVORES. Herbivores have a digestive system that can harbor certain bacteria than ferment certain plant materials like cellulose which humans CANNOT digest. As a result of this fermentation, all the amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins are a by-product of the bacteria, which allows the cows and chickens to get the essential nutrients they need. Because humans cannot do this, we must naturally like other omnivores, eat herbivores to obtain all the nutrients that we cannot obtain just by eating plants.

Carbohydrates are the cause of cardiovascular disease, not cholesterol or saturated fat.

Peter December 11, 2011 at 9:46 am

This article is the product of Mark Sisson’s cowardice.

Here, Mark Sisson is comparing himself who is a fit athlete to vegans that do not do much exercise. Of course it’s going to make him look better than vegans because he is only comparing the worst of vegans to the best of meat-eaters.

If you want an accurate comparison, you should compare people Robert Cheeke or Ed Bauer. Take a look at those vegans instead of comparing the worst vegans that you can find.

TC January 7, 2012 at 10:40 pm

UMMMMMMM…… If Humans are Carnivores then why cant we manufacture our own Vitamin C, why do we have GOBBS of Carbohydrate digestive enzymes in our saliva? Why do we have Molars for chewing, carnivores don’t chew, they tear and swallow… I’m willing to bet that if 99% of the pro meat eaters on this site had to hunt, kill, gut, etc every animal they ate THEY WOULD NOT DO IT! Go run trough the jungle, jump on a wild boar (which you couldn’t catch on foot btw) and sink your teeth into the back of its neck…LOL all of you are ignorant nuts trying to act like were badass predators.. if we were we would be designed to run 30+ mph, have sharp claws and an abundance of sharp teeth with a long jawbone structure and way more concentrated stomach acid so we can kill all the nasty shit in raw meats ( pork in particular)!!! you all buy your meat at the stores in packages bypassing all the killing and blood, and don’t even really THINK about what you are eating…. FLESH. I COMPLETELY understand eating them as a means for survival purposes, but most people aren’t in that situation.. And Mark Sisson advocates a HIGH FAT PRIMAL DIET…LOLOLOL High Fat Doesn’t EXIST IN NON ARCTIC AREAS!!! All the deer, elk, moose, turkey’s etc that people would in eat all have single digit body fat % levels…. SOOOOO low fat, no carbohydrates, Where is this energy coming from to kill these animals…Oh I know STARCHES!! Mark Sisson says that ALL groups of people have included meat in their diet but what he fails to mention is that meat came behind STARCHES.. The Native Americans had corn, not just meat.. don’t be dumb………MAN THAT FELT GOOD!!!!

VeganIsTheWayToBe February 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm

That˙s pretty pathetic. We’re in a NEW age and there are ways to get protien WITHOUT KILLING ANIMALS. We CLEARLY are not supposed to eat meat- THE HUMAN BODY IS 100 PERCENT HERBIVOROUS. I think this is a LAME article- so you’re healthy eating dead animals. What about the 54% of all Americans who are obese? EATING DEAD ANIMALS HAS KILLED MORE PEOPLE IN THE LAST CENTURY THAN ALL OF THE CAR ACCIDENTS, ALL OF THE WARS, AND ALL OF THE NATURAL DISASTERS COMBINED.
Stop trying to find excuses to kill animals so we can cook and eats parts of their bodies.

Maya February 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm

You completely rejected peaches in your fruits and vegetables. One peach contains 46% of daily protein intake.

Andrea February 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Lets get the facts straight about EPA/DHA.

Vegans efficiently convert ALA to EPA/DHA and here is the proof:

Vegans actually had more EPA/DHA in plasma(blood) than fish-eaters, meat-eaters and vegetarians.

If we can’t digest cellulose, why does mark sisson advocate vegetables? The only reason is because they have zero carbs and anything with carbohydrates like fruits would kick the body out of ketosis(survival mechanism of non-meat eating mammals).

Mark thinks he has it all figured out.. copy&paste of heart attack atkins diet.

VeganIsTheWayToBe February 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm


michelle April 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm

my husband and I have lead a well and wonderfull life (we are both vegetarians). after having a recent medical… we are both in good health, perfect blood pressure, and a perfect B.M.I….better than most meat eaters huh? (we havent eaten annimals for 20 years)

laura June 12, 2012 at 9:19 am

Simple fact check (with my lentils box and other stuff) :
In half a cup of lentils, so 100g; there are 25g of protein, so half you daily intake. Not 9 grams
In 6oz of tofu, so 170grams, there is 22gs of proteins.
With the rest of the meals, even vegan (pasta, vegies, soymilk) thats enough for the day. And before a workout, a protein shake, don’t you all do that anyways ?
Stick to the facts, they should speak out for themselves, and if they don’t…accept it and shut up.

jake June 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I just watched the documentary, “Forks Over Knives,” with my vegan brother. I am a large supporter of meat and animal products, so naturally we disagreed on everything. I feel that this article proved most of the things in the documentary wrong. You also mentioned most of the doctors/studies that they mentioned in the movie.

YouGetACForEffort June 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Unconvincing job. Sure it’s more difficult to get protein in your diet: difficult in the sense that you should expend more effort in meal-planning. No idiot chugs jars of almond butter a day.

Figgzie July 4, 2012 at 2:59 am

Vegans and vegetarians take pride in telling people that they are vegans and vegetarians. They think its cool to be in the minority of the population, rebels in a sense. These same vegans who say they don’t eat meat because it’s wrong will still wear leather shoes and jackets. Most of the vegans I have met are d-bags, seriously. My brother in law is a vegan and he is always making tired comments about how unhealthy meat is. He weighs 115 pounds and has no muscle definition at all (skinny fat mentioned in the blog is perfect in this case!). I was eating a steak and he said my steak probably had a name when it was alive. I said “Yeah, it’s name is dinner”. If they weren’t so fanatical about their beliefs and if they weren’t always trying to convert meat eaters they might be tolerable. Throw away the vegans that are body builders and the remaining vegans look unhealthy and frail. The 2 vegans I know are always sick. You wanna obstain from eating meat? No problem. Do it without trying to suck up the attention you are dying for by being a vegan.

ricky July 4, 2012 at 10:21 am

This article sucks, he doesn’t give one single scientific reason why humans need meat. All he said was the same weak argument all the paleo guys use “our ancectors did it therefore we should too”

Meateater August 24, 2012 at 3:06 am

Meat is not complaining, why are you all complaining?

Drea @twomotivate.com September 12, 2012 at 10:51 am

Cow fed! I am a highly competitive athlete (marathon runner) and must maintain a lean powerful frame of 107 lbs at 5’4″. Every time I have tried to NOT eat meat- I have critical drops in my ferritin levels. I consume legumes, almonds, tofu, dairy, fruits and veggies etc- BUT if I do not eat RED MEAT (I even swallow liquid iron daily!), my ferritin levels do not stay up and I run like crap. Sorry cow haters- but this girl needs the grizzle.

Timhole September 29, 2012 at 9:25 am

Figgzie: Vegans are douchebags is a weak argument. I like the one about how they wear animal products though. I always found that bizarre, but I put it down to them using the label of vegan incorrectly, because wearing animal products isn’t consistent with veganism. Also, lack of muscle definition could be genetic. Ask any non-vegan bodybuilder.

D.bags aside, perhaps the bodybuilders you spoke of could help you understand that veganism is simply a lifestyle choice, and that your skinny bro-in-law is simply projecting his unhappiness with the world onto everyone he meets, inadvertently ensuring that they will come to loathe anyone who adopts the vegan life style.

Good day sir!

Soothe-Sayer October 3, 2012 at 9:56 am

I feel the article states an opinion over fact and wished that he had used some scientific backing. I am however going to back Dana on this one (100% correct and I’ve been researching this while being unbiased. I don’t care if I’m vegan, a vegetarian, an omnivore, or a carnivore as long as I am as healthy as possible because I believe the number one reason to exist in this universe is to make yourself into the best possible being possible; mentally and physically.)

Plants are great for our diet, but so is meat. At this stage in the game though, you can basically limit your diet in almost anyway desired and still remain healthy through supplemental nutrition.

Pro-life, all life November 17, 2012 at 1:42 am

This was a very poorly put together blog entry on a very important topic. I hope anyone reading this trash has the common sense to do a moment of study before deciding vegan-ism is just a ‘life choice’.

It’s funny … because being vegan is the choice OF life. Deciding that because we don’t *need* to harm and maim and kill, because we are perfectly able to live full and happy lives without eating eachother, we just *shouldn’t*.

Hell, if protein is the only problem there is 57g of it in every 100 of seaweed. Just as much in most nuts and nut flours. 88g in every 100 of many soy proteins. All of which have a 80-99/100 amino acid score (a score of protein quality dependent on having all the essential amino acids in the proper proportions.)

This far surpasses your revolting addiction of consuming the corpses of innocent beings. I know how you feel, though, because I am hooked on the stuff. I smell melted cheese or a neighbour barbecuing and a part of me says “You will never taste that wonderful flavour again.”

But despite the cravings for a despicable act I was raised to commit daily, I know I could never do it again. I’d like to say it’s because I’m not a conceited disgrace of a thinking, reasoning entity, but that kind of truth is too rude…

Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t scalp another person simply because my ancestors did. Nor would I let my doctor operate on me with barber scissors, as was the norm once upon a time. And I definitely wont refuse a healthy and filling meal to dine instead on the ligaments, sinew, muscle tissue and cells of a living, breathing earthling.

wolf January 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I’d like to see mention of bugs as a protein source. I’m dead serious, not being a smartarse or something. They’re usually pretty abundant and a pest, they’re a great source of protein, they don’t consume nearly as much as a cow or pig or even a chicken, they’re low in fat, and it’s not like other places in the world don’t eat them so it can obviously be done. I’d be interested in trying bugs as a meat source, but somehow I don’t see those coming to a farmer’s market or store near me any time soon, ha-ha. Imagine if our country could get past the “eww” factor and give it a real chance…I wonder if it could change things for the better?

As someone with a lot of allergies (not even food allergies, either!), I was told when I finally went in for an allergy test that I should avoid fruit at all costs, and only eat cooked vegetables…I always wondered why my favorite fruits would make my stomach ache for hours after just a few bites (why yes, I am a slow learner apparently!), or why my throat would burn after certain meals with no way to make that feeling go away until it ran its course, or why certain areas of my skin would break out in rashes (ok, I still don’t understand how the heck that even works). And here I was hoping I could live on a “raw” diet with minimal meat, especially very little red meat! Overall giving up meat isn’t an option for me (of the many times I’ve tried, every time it led to some HORRIBLE digestive problems that were bad enough to make me call it quits before reaching my minimum time goals for giving vegetarianism an honest chance). And best part? Allergies in the US affect 1 in 5 people, and the trend is growing (and is growing in all developed countries, actually). I don’t have food allergies, save for a minor wheat allergy (the doctor said not to worry about it though), so even if you don’t have a food allergy you can be affected! As someone who deals with it, I can honestly say IT SUCKS and I wish it weren’t even an issue. I couldn’t even begin to explain how hard it is to cook for my LARP group, so many food allergies and such in the people I know.

So to everyone touting on about how vegetarianism/veganism is really the way it should be and this article is full of BS, remember that it’s really true, NOT ALL OF US CAN DO IT. If you can, that’s AWESOME, and if you choose to live that lifestyle I say power to you and you rock! But to degrade those of us who literally can’t, or even the ones who choose not to, watch you’re mouth, please. What’s healthy to you may not be for the next person, that’s the wonderful world we live in (we aren’t all clones, yay!). No one should insult anyone for their diet, unless they’re doing something ridiculous and/or harmful to others like feeding on the flesh of their neighbors’ babies or something. In the end, as far as ethics go, there’s plenty wrong with agriculture as a whole (animals AND plants), and no matter what you do you are choosing your life over another living being’s life. To live is to consume, and to consume is to kill. So be nice to one another, and stop pointing fingers and saying, “No, MY way is superior!” (and yes, I realize this article isn’t being kind to vegetarians/vegans with that title alone, never-the-less the content…because OBVIOUSLY there are plenty of people who CAN and DO live without meat just fine…I mean, there’s more to how healthy you’ll be than what you eat! ha-ha There’s more reason than our ancestors eating meat to them being healthy! And gosh that’s BEFORE they had additives and chemicals and antibiotics and the like in their food).

John February 18, 2013 at 6:44 am

Human beings are not herbivores. You people have been conditioned to care about your looks and not your health, especially women. Sorry ladies you were not designed to look good. You were designed to store fat for milk production during times of famine.

This culture has you brainwashed in believing the opposite. I guess we should also prevent all of the meat eating animals like lions and wolves to stop eating meat since it’s not ethical to do so. My Grandmother lived to be 98 years old. She along with the rest of my relatives had a farm and their diet consisted of a lot of meat.

Life expectancy today is actually shorter due to all of the chemicals that are ingested from processed foods. Nothing is natural anymore. Eating meat is just part of the cycle of life. We’ve been doing for thousands of years and we have thrived as a species. Without this cycle there would be no ecosystem. We are everything and everything is us. Deal with it, it’s who we are.

VIC CAVIN March 14, 2013 at 10:53 am

Dimwits about with their meat eating ways. We need protein. Whether it comes from plant (there are many sources not just beans btw) or animal (funny how choosy people are on which animals are food and which are pets/entertainment/sport/cuddly – double standards or some kind of schizophrenic aspect of modern humanity) . The fact is land water and crops go to feed livestock that could be far more useful and efficient if used to feed populations. yes that’s right country’s where there are starving people are growing food for export to feed animals for other people to eat. Now how screwed up is that? The CO2 and methane produced from livestock farming is a greater than all the transport by a factor of 2 at least and yet fuel is taxed hugely but meat not? Double standards or lobbyist influence. Drinking cows milk does much less good for you than it is suggested. Bacteria, Calcium depletion and fat are just a few of the nasties that come from that fantasy.
The meat industry is responsible for the destruction of rainforests because there’s money involved in selling meat as exports to cretins like this guy.
And there is also the moral issue but when you have people who use fantasy characters and superstition as their guiding principle then perhaps morality is a fluid thing,
So in the end you need the proteins, you can get them from plants at a much less cost environmentally socially and economically or you can leave the world in a worse place and opt for the easy option and ignore the fact that as humans we have developed a conscience that allows us to shape our world as we need it and we can accept the consequences or not of our actions.
Oh and the fact that you can produce between 20 to 100 times more nutrition from land used for graxing

Lulu April 11, 2013 at 5:04 am

The whole vegetarian/vegan thing is like a religion of culture – you believe in whatever that make you feel the best but don’t force it upon others or worse, judge people based on it.

JC CS June 9, 2013 at 8:06 pm

I see several people are in favor of being vegetarian which is a person’s right to choose to be and I don’t really care if someone wants to be vegetarian or not personally. I have a problem with someone telling me or other omnivores that we shouldn’t eat meat cause ultimately they believed some study that made them change their mind and think we should as well.
So say everyone stopped eating meat. What would happen to all the cows, pigs, chickens, and any other animals humans keep caged and fenced up? Do we let them stay there and die? Sounds a little inhumane. Do we release them? Can’t wait to see that backfire on us, wrecks and such.

That’s the question I think everyone needs to consider. If all the vegans and vegetarians succeeded and the world stopped eating meat altogether what would we do with all of the animals? Also, when you discover your answer I would like everyone to consider the potential future that action would create for everyone.
And since I do feel so strongly about this why don’t we let the animals in the zoo go as well? It’s not their natural habitat so we should respect their rights and release them. When you consider fighting for animal rights consider every animal on earth whether near or far and also place yourself in this position. If you were faced against a bull that was angry and you were in an enclosed area with no escape, would you rather respect that bull’s right to live and let him take your life or would you like to have a gun to save yourself?

The point is that if we let animals out they will overrun us and there will be fatalities. Some of you may still not care but when it’s you and your loved ones in that incident you will care then.

tony kopy June 14, 2013 at 1:19 am

It is an unfortunate fact that we have evolved over 6 million years as omnivores, which makes meat an essential part of our diet. You woúldn´t feed nut cutlets to a lion or beef steak to a cow, they would die. We are what we are and millions of years in the making, live with it.

Pablo nox September 13, 2014 at 7:17 am

Another completely rubbish argument… Just check out markus rothkranz. At least he puts up a good vegan argument.

Also google “vegan bodybuilders” and tell me they don’t get their protein!

Amy January 18, 2015 at 5:50 am

I know this is an old article, but I am bothered that in his list of foods he completely excludes things like quinoa, lentils, brown rice, amaranth seeds, and cracked wheat, which make up large parts of vegan diets. These provide more than enough protein and calcium for a day. Otherwise interesting article!

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