According to leading food scientists, the nutrients our cells need are the same as the animals we eat, and we need animal meat in a nutritious human diet, because we simply can’t get all of it from a plant based diet.
Professor Neil Mann is Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
He was in Ireland this week to attend his two-day international summit called “The Social Role of Meat-What the Science Says” hosted by Teagasc. Prof. Mann said: “We are mammals, so just like the meat we eat, our cells and their nutritional requirements are exactly the same as the animals we eat.” “We are not plants, are we? We are animals, so what we need is the same as what they have and what they need. You can get all your nutrients from animals. “We also get many nutrients from plants. However, there are some [nutrients] that are not found in plants but only in animals. We really need to eat animal foods to get these essential nutrients that we don’t get,” he said.
While some nutrients are more bioavailable in animals, they are also present in plants, but are not well digested or absorbed by humans, unless consumed through meat. These nutrients are “essential to our bodies,” says Professor Mann. “For example, iron is part of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the blood. However, iron and zinc are also very important for immune function and brain function. Your brain uses a fair amount of iron and zinc,” he explained.
Iron and zinc are found in plants, but are not always an adequate source for humans. “[Iron and zinc] are found in plants, but they bind to other plant compounds and inhibit their absorption in the gut, so basically most of the iron and zinc in plants “But in animals, iron and zinc are bound to protein molecules.
“For example, heme iron, which means that iron attaches to hemoglobin.” He continued: “Zinc is also transported by proteins in animal tissues. When we eat it and it enters the intestines, these iron and zinc atoms bind to proteins.” According to Professor Mann, the amount of plant food a person must eat to get the same amount of iron and zinc is more than that of meat.” This is called bioavailability. As such, iron and zinc are poorly bioavailable [for humans] in plants, but are highly bioavailable in animal foods.”
However, humans cannot obtain other nutrients available in meat from plant foods. Professor Mann said: The first is vitamin B12. Many vegans and vegetarians believe they can get their vitamin B12 from plants. It’s a complete myth, but they spread it among themselves and believe it. Over the years, they suffer irreversible nerve and brain damage,” he added. “He gets his B12 mainly from animal foods. It’s found in eggs,milk and fish, but the best and most abundant source is red meat. Although-3 fatty acids are found in plants, they are not required by humans.
One thought on “Why we have to eat meat – scientific evidence”
Someone needs to tell Prof Mann that vegetarians survive perfectly well without animal sources of B12. Maybe he is not aware that ocean-based algae (e.g., Japanese nori) can be a rich source, and last I checked, they are plants and not animals.
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