Column #332 January 14, 2022
Kevin Stock, dentist, nutrition devotee, and carnivore, made a few interesting points about the best food for humans in his weekly, December 11, 2021, “Saturday 7" newsletter. That letter is his condensed roundup on health and wealth, art and science, creativity and innovation, laughs and life.
What was interesting about this issue was it provided an introduction into how he analyzes and evaluates diets and nutritional outcomes. It’s not even close to covering his big nutrition picture and the science behind the whats and whys. But nonetheless, the following quote is a good condensed version on what we’re supposed to eat and why.1
“I think it's important to understand both sides of an argument, so I frequently try and understand plant-based diet rationale. I was listening to a plant-based diet advocate this week, and his argument was that since fruits and vegetables pass through the digestive system quickly it's evidence that we should be eating mostly/only plant-based foods.
“I truly cannot understand this perspective. These foods pass through the alimentary canal quickly because they can't be absorbed or used. It is waste. However, as you may have experienced, if you only eat meat there's not a lot of waste. It's absorbed extremely efficiently.
“While I'd argue the extreme efficiency that meat is absorbed in the small intestines is evidence for a meat-based diet, it's just one piece of an overwhelming amount [of evidence], such as:
● Humans have among the most acidic stomachs in the animal kingdom comparable to carrion feeders and common to carnivorous animals.2
● We have largely lost our ability to ferment fibers into SCFAs [short-chain fatty acids] as our cecum is mostly a useless vestigial appendage.
● We share similar, well-developed gallbladders comparable to that of wolves and lions.
● We have vertical up-and-down chewing jaws rather than the side-to-side, rotary mechanism of herbivores that graze all day.
● The human brain is over 7X bigger and uses 30X more energy than would be predicted for an animal our size...meaning meat allowed humans to escape the energetic constraint that limits the number of cortical neurons that can be afforded by a raw plant-based diet in the wild.3
“Most omnivorous animals specialize in eating animals or plants (~70%+ of one or the other), and the evidence is overwhelming that humans are omnivores specialized for eating meat (could even be classified as facultative carnivores).4
“But what about our teeth?! They look like ‘herbivore teeth’ so we must be plant-based eaters, right?
“Humans are primates and our evolutionary biology is derived from this heritage. Therefore we have teeth similar to other apes in terms of size, shape and number. Yet we have developed more ridged molars like wolves instead of flat ones like sheep. Yes, we do have small canine teeth and relatively smaller jaws. But this is because humans started using tools millions of years ago and fire hundreds of thousands of years ago to kill, cut, and cook the meat. Less mastication forces were needed. Additionally, since canines were predominately defense and intimidation mechanisms, the smaller canine represents a shift in social structure and mating behavior that results from cooperation, communication, and a reduction in male-to-male conflict.
“For similar reasons, we have nails instead of claws—because we are primates. Primates don’t have claws. In no way does this suggest we are designed for a plant-based diet.”
Kevin was a competitive body builder some years ago and he’s still very fit. But when he was competing as a body builder he didn’t feel as healthy as he looked. He knew something was wrong and that motivated him to gain a better understanding of nutrition. That led him to significant changes in his diet and eventually he determined meat was the best food. What pleases him most now is how great he feels today compared to the days of old.
About a year ago he compiled his many essays on nutrition, that were based on his journey to superior health, and condensed them into a three-month course that he calls the “Meat Health Academy.” It’s a first-class, science-based, nutritional-education-program unlike any other. Check it out.5
To your health.
Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.
Don’t miss these links for additional reading:
1. Saturday 7 by Kevin Stock
2. The Evolution of Stomach Acidity and Its Relevance to the Human Microbiome by DeAnna E. Beasley, et al.
3. Metabolic Constraint Imposes Tradeoff Between Body Size and Number of Brain Neurons in Human Evolution by Karina Fonseca-Azevedo and Suzana Herculano-Houzel
4. Dietary Characterization of Terrestrial Mammals by Silvia Pineda-Munoz and John Alroy