Since at least 2009 we have known that the incidence of *atherosclerosis-driven coronary heart attacks in other mammals is vanishingly small . So why is this same condition so prevalent in the human species? People ask, “Why do carnivores not get heart disease?” but the question is actually a little more nuanced …
* [define] Atherosclerosis (arteriosclerosis): a condition where arteries become clogged with fatty substances called plaques, or atheroma .
Why Do Carnivores Not Get Heart Disease?Carnivores do not get heart disease associated with atherosclerosis because, unlike herbivores, their bodies are built to process meat. For humans there is a recently discovered additional piece to the puzzle …
Watch: Milton Mills, MD presenting “Are humans designed to eat meat?”
(amazing lecture – over an hour, but well worth a watch. Gets started about 6 minutes in)
As veganism and plant-based lifestyles continue to make great inroads into the general consciousness of people the world over, so there are more and more anti-vegans desperately trying to discredit the movement.
The increasingly popular take-up of the “carnivore diet”, championed by perceived professionals like Shawn Baker (you can look him up, I’ll not link to him), is one of the more extreme reactions to veganism.
Since 2016, “anti-vegan activist” Mr Baker claims to have eaten red-meat almost exclusively with the occasional side order of eggs. Absolutely no plants in his diet whatsoever.
I’m no doctor but I’m pretty sure humans were not evolved to be carnivorous.
Incidentally, Mr Baker is a doctor … or at least, he was. He still refers to himself as ‘MD’ on socials and in his promotions but his medical licence was revoked in 2017 for “incompetence to practice as a licensee” … a trustworthy man?
Human’s Plumbing + Carnivory = Bad News
Humans evolved primarily as herbivorous. Meat was in very short supply and in fact our earliest ancestors survived almost exclusively on plants for 4.5 million years.
We began eating meat around 2.5 million years ago and have evolved to digest it, to some degree … but even to this day, we cannot tolerate too much without adverse health outcomes.
As recently as July 2022, University of California researchers at the San Diego School of Medicine suggested the loss of a single gene 2-3 million years ago in our ancestors could explain the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in modern humans , while …
“Also setting up a further risk for red-meat eating humans”
Do lions get heart attacks? No, like other animals, they do not seem to suffer from this same condition. Their arteries can be full of LDL cholesterol but they do not develop atherosclerotic plaques in the blood vessels .
Scientists are not sure why but we can only assume their bodies are constructed in such a way because they eat meat.
When herbivores are fed a meat-heavy diet, guess what? Atherosclerosis is a common outcome.
This ties in with UoC research above and all suggests a diet consisting primarily of meat is not optimal for humans.
Common sense should tell us this simply by looking at what our ancestors ate.
The Great Saturated Fat Debunk!
Is it really a coincidence that as the consumption of meat has increased in the “Western” world so the incidence of atherosclerotic driven heart disease has also mushroomed?
If you accept that humans are primarily herbivores with a little omnivory thrown in then is it any surprise we have seen this great increase in heart attacks and arterial plaque related CVD?
I think not.
Most scientists agree that herbivores, omnivores and carnivores in the wild simply do not experience these conditions. The same applies to domesticated dogs and cats.
However in recent years, as the human ‘carnivores’ gain traction, we’re seeing some studies show weaker links between red meat and LDL cholesterol. I think it’s important to include that for balance.
Although one study enthusiastically cited by Mr Baker was partially funded by a powerful US dairy lobby … say no more!
There is still a large body of evidence linking meat consumption with higher LDL blood cholesterol and so CVD events associated with atherosclerosis. Here’s just one meta-analysis stating “red meat was the worst at LDL cholesterol reduction”.
It’s pretty clear that diet is driving this type of heart disease – a type not seen in carnivores. Why? Because carnivores are designed to eat meat.
The question then becomes, why do humans experience such higher rates of this specific condition than other herbivores?
Could it possibly be the meat? (chicken is just as bad as beef, it seems!)
Diet & Lifestyle Drive Heart Disease
Let’s suppose, for a minute, the recent evidence on red meat and LDL cholesterol is accurate.
It’s convenient for the carnivores because they can drive the narrative with their newly found vindication. They’re using it to discredit veganism.
This pushes into the background the masses of evidence supporting whole food, plant-based diets and improvements in health. Especially cardiovascular health.
Y’know what? Even though I despair about people like Mr Shawn Baker, I honestly hope red meat isn’t as bad for you as first thought.
Because … and this might be difficult for those aggressive carnivores to understand, being a vegan means I care about all sentient life on our planet, including humans.
Looking at what Mr Baker eats, I hope the established science is wrong for his sake!
Do you really want to take the risk?
Plant Based For a Hopeful Future
All these arguments we become involved in over the minutiae of which nutrients do what are at risk of losing sight of the big picture.
When you step back from the canvas for a second and consider the human race slaughters 80 billion land animals every single year for food, any rational person can surely see this is wholly unsustainable.
Related: How many animals do you save by not eating meat?
Let alone the unspeakable cruelty we dish out to these BILLIONS of intelligent, sentient animals … and that figure doesn’t even include the fish (trillions).
We are eating the planet alive.
For what? The taste of a steak?
Come on people. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. If we’re to survive the next couple of hundred years we’re going to need a massive shift in our food systems.
If you don’t care about animals and how they are treated then don’t go vegan but you can make dietary changes for the sake of the actual planet you live on, surely?
Or is the climate change debate just another ‘deep state’ hoax to you as well?
I hope this article has helped you see the issue more clearly and cut through some of the noise surrounding the rise of human carnivory. I’d give it a wide berth if I were you!
I’d love to know what you think so please leave your comments below and share with your friends using the social buttons 🙂
Thanks for reading and have a compassionate day!
Sources: – University Of California. Scott LaFee, UC San Diego. July 23, 2019. News. Why are humans the only species prone to heart attacks?  – NHS. Health A to Z. Conditions. Atherosclerosis. Retrieved 31/10/2022. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atherosclerosis/  – Ashley P. Taylor. Live Science. Life’s Little Mysteries. May 09 2021. Do other animals get heart attacks? https://www.livescience.com/do-animals-get-heart-attacks.html