Dr Rajiv Desai

An Educational Blog


The health of a human being is dependent on his nutrition which is dependent on his diet(Food).The healthy diet is defined as a diet which maintains/improves the health and prevents disease.
The diet choice is dependent on family tradition,eating habits,religion,culture,food availability,food taste,socio-economic factors,nutritional value,animal love,doctor’s advice,etc.
Vegetarianism is defined as a practice/habit of diet which avoids/prohibits eating meat/poultry/fish etc.(no flesh). Non-vegetarianism means eating food from animal sources plus plant sources.Even plants have life like animals albeit with lesser consciousness than animals and therefore the issue is not cruelty on animals as far as meat eating is concerned.WHO has classified milk as vegetarian.I believe that eggs are vegetarian because there is no flesh in it.Pure Vegans avoid all animal products including dairy products,eggs,honey etc.Generally speaking,vegetarian diet means eating cereals,pulses,fruits,vegetables,nuts,milk/yogurt etc.
2.8 % Americans and 11 % Britons are vegetarians.30 % Indians are vegetarians which constitute 70 % of world’s vegetarian population. The majority of world’s population is non-vegetarian.
Animals like elephant/rhino/rabbit are herbivores means eat only plant based food.
Animals like lion/snakes are carnivores means eat only meat(flesh).
Omnivores eat both plant food and meat.Humans are classified as omnivores but I disagree.Biologist and anthropologist who study human anatomy and human history suggest that humans are natural herbivores who lack physical,physiological and psychological characteristics of natural carnivore that drive them to kill animals and eat meat.
I will discuss comparisions between carnivore(CV),herbivore(HV) and human being(HB).
1) Length of intestinal tract: HV has long intestinal tract to digest complex veg food but CV has short intestinal tract to prevent putrefaction of meat.HB has long intestinal tract.
2) Teeth: CV has large canine teeth to tear meat but HV has no canine teeth with flat molars to grind veg food. HB has small canine teeth with flat molars.
3) Salivary gland: HV has well developed salivary glands with alkaline saliva with enzyme amylase to digest food but CV has acidic saliva with no amylase.HB has alkaline saliva with enzyme amylase.
4) Chewing: CV does not chew food in mouth but swallow it whole but HV/HB chew food well in mouth before swallowing it.
5)Drink water: CV drink water by tongue but HV/HB drink water by lips.
6)Claws: CV has claws to catch/hold prey but HV/HB has no claws.
7)Night vision: CV has good night vision to hunt prey but HV/HB has poor night vision.
8)Stomach acidity: CV has 20 times strong stomach acid as compared to HV with pH 1 to digest meat.Human has weak stomach acid with pH 4 to 5.
9) Sweating: HV/HB has skin pores for sweating but CV has no skin pores and sweat through tongue.
10)Cholesterol: CV can assimilate large quantity of cholesterol/saturated fat without hardening blood vessels/heart disease. HV/HB develop heart disease after consuming large quantity of cholesterol/saturated fat.
From above 10 points it is clear that humans are natural herbivores and opportunistically omnivore.Humans eat meat because they can and not because they were meant to eat.
Average comparitive nutritive values of 100 gms of meat/eggs/fish/cereals/pulses/soybeans.
Meat:protein 18%,carbohydrates 0%,calories 194
Eggs:protein 13%,carbohydrates 0%,calories 173
Fish:protein 19%,carbohydrates 0%,calories 105
Cereals:protein 22%,carbohydrates 56%,calories 350
Pulses:protein 25%,carbohydrates 60%,calories 350
Soybean:protein 43%,carbohydrates 23%,calories 450
Cereals plus Pulses have high biological value proteins as good as meat/fish.Meat is deficient in carbohydrates and fibers and has excess of harmful saturated fat/cholesterol.Fish has unsaturated fat with omega 3 fatty acid which is good for heart.Vegetables/fruits have carbohydrates,minerals,vitamins plus 80 to 90 % natural mineral water.
The vitB12 is required for synthesis of DNA in humans.A lie is perpetuated by vested interest that vegetarian diet has no vitB12 and therefore humans must eat meat or take tablets of vitB12.To prove the lie,lower levels of vitB12 are shown in the blood of vegetarians as evidence.I have to clean the mess.VitB12 is synthesized only by bacteria and not by any plant/animal. Animals get vitB12 from bacteria in their intestines.Even human intestine has bacteria which can synthesize vitB12 and which can be absorbed by terminal ileum.Also,milk/curd has vitB12.Also,now,due to modern technology,vitB12 can be essayed from seaweeds,raspberries,other fruits which can be utilised by humans.Also,human body can preserve it and reuse it without destroying it and body store can supply vitB12 for 30 years without any replenishment in diet and therefore vitB12 clinical deficiency is rare even in pure vegans.Also,Blood levels of vitB12 doesnot correlate with tissue level and it’s utility in tissues.Also,commonest cause of vitB12 deficiency is poor absorption in intestines and not diet deficiency.SO VEGETARIANS HAVE LOW VITAMIN B12 IS A MARKETING LIE SPREAD BY PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY TO SELL VITAMIN TABLETS.
Does meat eating harm human being ?
WHO report says that 159 types of diseases are caused by meat eating food practice.WHO estimates 2.7 million deaths every year due to diet deficient in fruits/vegetables.WHO recommend 400 gms of fruits/vegetables every day to prevent heart disease/cancer.
Meat eating leads to obesity,high blood pressure,high cholesterol and increased incidence of heart disease,cancer,diabetes,kidney disease,strokes,gall stones,osteoporosis,piles,food poisoning,etc as compared to vegetarian diet.
Even though,many indians are vegetarians, coronary heart disease cause 3 million deaths every year in India because indian vegetarian diet traditionally contain high saturated fat from cooking oil,butter,cream,ghee,cheese,etc due to unhealthy cooking practice.Also, indian cooking oil contain 20% trans fat as compared to western cooking oil having 2% trans fat.An increase by 5 gms of trans fat every day increases risk of heart disease by 25%.
A British study followed 6000 vegetarians and 5000 meat eaters for 12 years and found that risk of cancer 40 % less and mortality risk from other diseases 20% less in vegetarians as compared to meat eaters.
Life expectancy is 2 to 5 year less in meat eater as compared to vegetarian.
Does meat eating harm environment/economy/ecology ?
Meat eating is environment unfriendly and leads to global warming. 18% of all the green-house gases including carbon dioxide in the world comes from animal agriculture for meat production as compared to 13 % of all green-house gases come from emissions of all automobiles in the world.The person’s ecological footprint means how much land and water he needs to cater to his life and to absorb his wastes. A vegetarian has smaller footprint than meat eater because 1 ton of veg food needs 0.78 hectares of land but 1 ton of meat needs 2.71 hestares of land.It takes 20940 liters of water to produce 1 kg meat but it takes 503 liters of water to produce 1 kg wheat.A vegetarian diet needs 1137 liters of water per day but a meat based diet needs 15160 liters of water per day.Animal agriculture for meat production gives 26 kgs of protein per hectare land per year but wheat crop gives 220 kgs of protein per hectare land per year.It takes 10 kg of food grains fed to animals to produce 1 kg meat. 1 calorie of energy from meat is obtained by burning 7 calories of veg food. It requires 10 times more crops to feed animals who are bred for meat production as it would be to feed the same number of people on veg diet.Eating animal is an amazing waste of resources if we first feed them food that we ourselves could eat.One out of six persons goes hungry every day in the world.The amount of food given to animals for meat production every day can satisfy hunger of 50% of world’s population.If a person stops eating meat and becomes vegetarian,then,he can save the life of a poor person from starvation and also get better health as a reward.
Even though eating fish is good for health,the fishing industry has exterminated 90 % of fishing population in the ocean.Fishing net not only catches fish but also other marine species resulting in destruction of marine life.An average 16 kg of fish sold per person per year worldwide result in 200 kg of marine animals inadvertently caught and discarded as by-catch.
1) Humans are natural herbivores and circumstantial omnivore.
2) Meat eating adversely affects health and reduces life expectancy.
3) Meat eating food practice is an ecological/economical disaster.
4) A vegetarian diet consisting of variety of cereals,pulses,fruits,vegetables,nuts and milk/yogurt cooked in a healthy way is best diet for humans.
5) The genetic factors can adversely affect health of an individual despite having best diet.
6) Traditionally eating a specific diet for thousands of years by a species/race/tribe does modify digestive system to repel/deter other types of food.
Dr.Rajiv Desai.MD.

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