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Does Meat Rot In Your Colon? No. What Does? Beans, Grains, and Vegetables!
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December 6, 2013
2:35 am
Imp
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This article or writer seems to neglect some things about meat eaters of nature? Meat eaters transpire tru their tongue. How can u say we are more carnivores then even omnivores? No matter how many studies or articles arises, any1 stating a human is a meat-eater, thus needing to kill another living thing, which is alike you, also alive by the divine breath of spirit?

December 6, 2013
2:36 am
Imp
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And it seems by reading some comments that most meat-eaters are not aware of the transpire fact..

December 6, 2013
7:19 am
Alex
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It's funny how vegans have to ignore what actually happened during the last 3 million years of hominid evolution and insist on a rigid set of dietary rules set forth by other animals. And even then, they can't even get their facts straight. Dogs cool themselves by panting, and they're actually omnivores. Cats rarely pant, and they're obligate carnivores.

December 8, 2013
7:43 pm
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Bobby:

I've seen variants on that Steve Pavlina article in many different places, and all the versions contain a large number of trivially false statements. 

Stated less diplomatically, they're bunk.  To demonstrate this, I'll go through the first three items.

Quoth Steve Pavlina: "Carnivorous animals have intestinal tracts that are 3-6x their body length, while herbivores have intestinal tracts 10-12x their body length. Human beings have the same intestinal tract ratio as herbivores."

Trivially false.  The length of a human GI tract depends whether you remove it from the body and stretch it out (~30 feet), or whether you measure its length in the body (~20 feet).  That's between 3.5x and 5.2x average body length, not 10-12x -- the same as carnivores.

In contrast, the GI tract of an average horse is just shy of 100 feet long, which is indeed 10-12x body length.

Quoth Steve Pavlina: "Carnivores’ stomachs are 20x more acidic than the stomachs of herbivores. Human stomach acidity matches that of herbivores.'  Trivially false.  As I footnoted above:

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Dec;34(11-12):1269-81. Systematic review: the use of proton pump inhibitors and increased susceptibility to enteric infection. Bavishi C, Dupont HL.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21999643
“Parietal cells secrete hydrochloric acid at a concentration of pH 0.8 and maintain a median daily pH in human stomach around 1.4.”

Furthermore, as I noted above:

A dog has a stomach pH of 1-2, rising to 3 with digestion on a raw diet and 6 on a diet of dry dog food (source).  (Note that meat increases stomach acidity for both carnivores and omnivores.)

And unfortunately for the herbivore/carnivore theory, a cow's abomasum (stomach) has a pH of 2 (source).  It turns out that digestion works best at low pH no matter what you're digesting...so Pavlina's propaganda is wrong in all respects, and the comparison isn't even meaningful.

Quoth Steve Pavlina: "The saliva of carnivores is acidic. The saliva of herbivores is alkaline, which helps pre-digest plant foods. Human saliva is alkaline."

Trivially false.  As I noted above, human saliva has a pH between 6.0 and 7.4 (7.0 being neutral), so if anything, it's a very weak acid on average.  And guess what?  Dog saliva is slightly more basic than human saliva! (source)  Again, Pavlina's propaganda is wrong in all respects...and the comparison isn't even meaningful.

And I've only covered the first three items in his list!

I don't have time to cover the rest -- but they're bunk, just like the first three.

 

Imp:

Antelope don't sweat -- they pant.  Does that mean they're carnivores?

 

Everyone:

Even if some of these purported distinctions were true, they're not important -- because the difference between a carnivore and an herbivore is that the carnivore eats meat, while the herbivore eats plants.  To suggest that (for instance) whether an animal sweats or not is related to whether it eats meat or not is silly.  (Bonus factoid: horses are, AFAIK, the only herbivore that cools itself primarily by sweating...antelope can't get "lathered" like a horse can, which is why it's possible to hunt old male kudu by persistence.  So the distinction is prima facie invalid...yet another bunk veg*an myth I'll have to write an article about someday!)

 

Alex:

If you'll recall that veg*anism is religious in origin, it'll make a lot more sense.

 

JS

December 23, 2013
8:21 pm
Robin
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None of the great apes is carnivorous, in fact all monkeys are herbivorous or omni. And they are our cousins by anatomy. Why humans should be such extreme exception? I don't believe it.

Last year I've changed my diet to vegan one, and for a first time in my life i am regular in the toilet, i go every day. This never happened before when i ate mostly meat & cheese...
No constipation, once I cut all animal products. Also my sinuses cleared, my skin too I feel better in general.
I allow my self to eat meat sometimes - but only if it is from homegrown animals. Gladly, I dont have cravings anymore - i love beans and potatoes now 🙂

December 24, 2013
10:52 pm
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Robin:

Humans are indeed omnivorous...but the archaeological evidence is clear: hunter-foragers (whose diet, even today, is comprised on average of 2/3 animal products and only 1/3 plants) are always in better health than the agriculturalists who came after them and depended primarily on grains.

Also, keep in mind that the average veg*an diet is far healthier in many ways than the Standard American Diet -- in the short term.  In the long term, the vitamin, mineral, and protein deficiencies tend to catch up unless you supplement with great care, and you'll probably find that a paleo diet (which looks a lot like a raw vegan diet, plus eggs and meat) will allow you to succeed in the long term.

Anyway, as I've repeatedly stated, making the general case for omnivory vs. veg*anism is far beyond the scope of this article, which exists only to debunk the specific claim that "meat rots in your colon".

JS

January 6, 2014
11:09 am
Donna
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I just ran across your blog. This is the only article I've read so far and I am amazed at the length of time you have been answering questions. I am diabetic and just learned last year that eating a very low carb diet helps. You have reinforced my lchf (low carb/high fat) program. You are amazing. Thank you so much.

January 6, 2014
7:44 pm
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Donna:

I'm glad you're seeing success!  It's always mystified me that the ADA's "solution" to a disease of uncontrolled blood sugar is to eat more sugar.  

Feel free to explore the rest of my articles at your leisure: I hope they're useful to you.

JS

January 16, 2014
5:45 am
AC
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"The average Ethiopian woman has nine children"

Source?

January 17, 2014
7:59 pm
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AC:

The number is somewhat squishy, since it's based on estimates…and apparently the figure has been revised since I last looked it up.

Today's estimates: the figure as of 2009 (the comment you're referring to is three years old) was seven children, which has decreased to 6.4.  (Source: United Nations.)  The crude birth rate is apparently falling even faster, but improvements in life expectancy are counterbalancing that to some extent…so the good news is that things are improving — though they're a long way from sustainability.

JS

January 17, 2014
9:04 pm
AC
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Yeah, I don't think "squishy" means what you think it means.

The term you're looking for is grossly exaggerated, wildly inaccurate, or completely worthless.

Pro tip: squishy made-up numbers that are passed off as "the real problem" don't really contain any science.

January 18, 2014
2:13 am
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AC:

The estimate of TFR in Somalia indeed depends where you get it from: the UN, CIA, or the World Bank.  (Or Wikipedia, which claims to reprint the UN statistics, though their tables seem to be incorrect.) 

Here's the link to the World Bank statistics, which estimate the fertility rate at 7.0 per woman as of 2009 -- the last year that would have been available three years ago in early 2011, when I made the original comment.

In contrast, the CIA estimated it at 6.1 in 2009 (source), and the UN estimated it at either 7.1 (source) or 5.5 (source).

So yes, I feel justified in calling the number "squishy".

I will admit that I don't remember where I got the "nine children" figure from: the figure appears to be seven.  Mea culpa.  If you believe 9 vs 7 is "wildly exaggerated" relative to a replacement rate of 2.1 (and a worldwide TFR of ~2.8 in 2002), go right ahead.

Meanwhile, the inverse relationship between per-capita GDP and fertility, and the even stronger inverse relationship between the development index and fertility, are strongly established.  If you're going to imply that I don't know what I'm talking about, you'll have to swim against a very strong tide of evidence -- and you'll have to propose your own replacement theory.  

What do you suggest?

JS

January 22, 2014
1:34 am
Ana
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I planned a couple of times to be a raw vegan planning to eat omnivorously occasionally, but it didn't lasted more than 2 days. Why? Because fruit, vegetables, and all of those, as we call them, sweet and delicious, juicy fruits - lost the taste and appeal to me, just like when you follow the advice to drink, I don't know, 8 glasses of water a day, the water that once drenched your thirst so deeply satisfyingly, now becomes dull and nauseous. And I don't want to give those NATURAL pleasures up for something that works only in theory, at least for the majority of us.

And I believe many raw vegans experience the same on a daily basis, but don't have the objectivity to admit it.

January 23, 2014
6:56 pm
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Ana:

Our tastes are often a useful guide -- so long as we limit their choices to natural foods. 

It's well-known that people lose weight on any sufficiently monotonous diet, due to the effect of sensory-specific satiety (discussed here).  I believe this is because most individual foods only contain a subset of the myriad nutrients we need to live...and once we've got all we need, our desire for that particular food drops dramatically. 

In the case of raw fruit and veg, we can eat them for a while...but finally our tastes tell us "Better go eat some meat and fat.  We've got plenty of carotene and K1, and there's no protein, choline, A/D/E/K2, or essential fats in this stuff."

JS

January 25, 2014
2:39 am
David Green
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This is a pretty biased report.

Meat may not 'rot' as you so apltly put it. However, it does stay in the human gut for far longer transit times than fruit and veg. Look at epidemiological studies by the British Journal of Nutrition. Meat takes an average of 1 day (24 hours) longer to digest.

January 28, 2014
4:22 am
Chris O
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Well put together piece but does not address the key concern with meat consumption, inflammation which is the real threat to well being.

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/why-meat-causes-inflammation.html

January 30, 2014
12:32 am
Jackie
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I want to know your opinion about my problem. I have the runs when I eat meat, raw veggies and too many grains. I eat mostly fish. Its the only meat I can eat. I can eat as much as I want and stay good. I am suspecting a lack of bile in my system tho and possibly a lack of enzymes. If I take enzymes and ox bile I can digest more. I also have to take tons of billions of different kinds of probiotics, alfalfa and papya enzymes (papya enzymes are amazing but make u feel hungry after it takes your stomach ache away). Plus my stool isn't an odd orange color while taking ox bile pills. I haven't eaten meat in years and actually went through withdrawals when I first had to stop eating it. I recently spoke with a doctor who also suspected my adrenal glands (would explain my heart problems too). She also stated a good point. We don't all have the same ancestors and not enough time has past for us to completely evolve away from how they ate. In my opinion, my ancestors had to have eaten fish and light fruit because that's all I can tolerate (avacados are a staple for some reason). My digestive issues I'm sure play a part too in that I'm sure I don't have enough bile or enzymes or good bacteria for that matter. Also, I heard an interesting theory about blood type. Apparently certain blood types can digest certain foods more easily. I read that type A has a harder time with meat than other blood types. Looking at my family, it totally fits. Most of us have a hard time with some meat, not all. My family is mostly a chicken and turkey family. However, there are some who devour beef and pork like nothing and it just so happens that we all fit into the blood type theory. Its all interesting. Now, if someone out there could tell me exactly how to digest meat and raw veggies again, I'd be on my way because believe me, I still miss meat other than all the fish I eat. Not that I have a problem with fish. I really do like it but used to enjoy other meat as well. Anyway, I was just curious as to what your thoughts were on my awful situation.

February 3, 2014
1:56 pm
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David Green:

Do you have a source for that?  "Somewhere in the archives of the British Journal of Nutrition" doesn't get me there.

Also, yes, meat takes longer to digest -- because protein takes longer to digest, and meat is high in protein.  Acid and enzymes have to break down proteins into chains of three or less amino acids, at which point we can finally absorb them.  One reason fruit and veg digest more quickly is because they don't have significant protein, just sugar and fiber (which does indeed ferment, or rot, in the colon). 

The only high-protein vegetable is beans -- which we can't eat in their raw state, and must "pre-digest" by soaking them.  Even then, beans take much longer to digest than veggies, primarily because of the protein content -- and the raffinose and other indigestible sugars most definitely ferment, or rot, in the colon. 

Thank you for adding a pertinent comment! 

 

Chris O:

Apparently you didn't read the BOLD-FACED WARNING which I've repeated many times. I'll reprint it here:

1. The purpose of this article is to address one very specific topic: the claim that “meat rots in your colon”.  Making the general case for veg*anism vs. omnivory, or addressing other issues like inflammation, is not only a non sequitur, it's beyond the scope of one article — and most certainly beyond the scope of a comment.  Don't move the goalposts.

2. Please read, at the very least, my responses to comments before asking a question (or making a statement).  I have previously answered many of these questions: asking them again says, to me, that you're not interested in productive dialogue and are just spouting off.

Yes, there are a lot of comments!  Deal with it.

Moving on:

That "Why Meat Causes Inflammation" article is bunk: I challenge you to show any peer-reviewed science showing a mechanism by which meat causes leaky gut.  You won't find it.  In contrast, wheat protein is proven to cause leaky gut, because partially digested gliadin peptides mimick zonulin, opening intestinal TJs.  See Fasano 2011.

JS

February 3, 2014
2:20 pm
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Jackie:

First, let me repeat my disclaimer from the left sidebar:

• Your life and health are your own responsibility.
• Your decisions to act (or not act) based on information or advice anyone provides you—including me—are your own responsibility.

That being said, chronic orange stool is usually a sign of bile insufficiency -- and the fact that it goes away when taking ox bile pretty much seals the deal on that one.  Here are some possibilities to explore:

1. Have you had your gallbladder removed?  Surgeons like to cut it out for any reason at all, just like they used to cut out tonsils because they figured they didn't do anything (wrong).

2. Gallstones, or other biliary duct blockage?

3. Cholesterol is a necessary building block for the production of bile acids.  If you're eating a cholesterol-deficient diet (possibly due to misguided, unhealthy advice to 'avoid cholesterol' -- and if you can't eat meat, that's a double whammy), it is possible that you lack the substrate to produce sufficient bile acids.  This seems likely to me. 

Solution: eat egg yolks (raw if possible...don't eat raw whites, though) and supplement with taurine (Bellantani 1987).  They'll also provide you with lots of choline, another nutrient you may be deficient in.

4. If you're still eating wheat products or any gluten grains, ditch them, as they tend to cause leaky gut and/or malabsorption.  Stick to tubers and white rice for your starches.

5. In the absence of sufficient bile, coconut oil will be more easily digested than other fats for you.

Hope this helps!  Let us know what you find out...and in the future, it's probably best to post these sorts of questions in the forum.

JS

February 4, 2014
3:25 pm
Vassilios
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1. If we are meat-eaters, why is our physiology most closely associated with herbivores, particularly the chimp?

2. Why do countless studies show that a vegetarian diet is healthier than a carnivorous one for humans (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324423904578523190441042514)?

3. Humans do not salivate at the site or roadkill as carnivores do. Our physiology and instinct is to salivate for fruits, berries, and plants-things we can naturally consume (i.e. without the use of cooking) without getting sick (I challenge the author to consume all his meat henceforth raw).

Just a few among countless points why this article is not bona fide. Common sense really.

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