The age-old controversy of whether to be a meat-eater or an animal-saving vegetarian is an argument that may never end, but it is clear that there is a plausible solution, and it is not one of these polar extremes.
Since the dawn of man, both diets have been around—an assumption that can be made via cave drawings and the fact that humans have a digestive system resembling that of a plant-eater more so than that of a meat-eater. But is this fact alone enough justification to say that people are not meant to eat animals?
Actually, human beings are called omnivores specifically because of their ability to survive off of both plants and meat; however, living strictly on just one of these food groups is both difficult and unhealthy.
A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2003 shows that two out of three vegetarians have a vitamin B12 deficiency, but that the liver of a meat-eater cannot detoxify excess levels of vitamin A found in meat like a carnivore can, meaning that too much meat is equally detrimental.
And although meat is the easiest source of protein, iron and many essential vitamins and minerals, overconsumption of an animal-based diet can lead to various diseases like heart disease and cancer, as stated in the Austrian Health Interview Survey. On the opposite end of the spectrum, similar results may show when one is strictly living off of a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarians also carry increased chances of cancer, according to recent studies from the Medical University of Graz in Austria, as well as mental health disorders, heightened amounts of allergies and a 50-percent increase in chance of a heart attack than those with a well-balanced omnivorous diet.
Some people with plant-based meal patterns justify their dietary choice by advocating the end to animal cruelty, and others argue that they are fighting world hunger by giving the grain used for feeding the cows to those in poverty who can use it as their own source of protein.
These reasons are thoughtful, and possibly even true, but the fact of the matter is that people need meat in their diet, even if it is through fish or poultry, simply because it provides necessary nutrients that just aren’t offered in an animal-free diet.
Even if one does survive mainly off products from the ground, a well-balanced diet containing at least leaner meats such as fish or poultry will result fewer health problems, more energy and even elevated mental health.
The safest answer, despite what one might believe, is to equalize nutrition from both meat and greens to experience the greatest health results.