"We tend not to be especially critical when presented with evidence that seems to confirm our prejudices."

–Carl Sagan

In response to yet another "shame on carnivores" stirring, this time about lifespan, I think we need to be wary of belief-tainted promulgation. New data that are convenient and satisfying to some folks' personal biases need counter evidence to create a balanced perspective. (Even scientists and health educators, you see, are human and we have opinions that can interfere with conclusions.) Toward this end, let's examine some anthropological and physiological facts. Debate them as you will, but they are indeed food for argument...er, thought.

First, many anthropologists have concluded from the fossil record that:

And since I'm no anthropologist, let's look at some supportive physiology:

5.

Now, none of this is to say that fruits and vegetables are bad (duh). Paleo-diet studies are pretty supportive of ongoing plant intake. Isotopic skeletal and hair data are revealing ever more. We know that plant material has indeed been common in the diet throughout recent (agricultural) history–even if its presence may be a default choice due to relative scarcity of meat at times.

Heck, for chronic disease prevention, Americans could use a good doubling or more of their fruit and veggie intake. References aside, about half of us get none on a given day. Man should not live by meat alone. I'm not claiming that a meaty diet can't become heinously unhealthy, but the same can be said for a meatless one. (Ever know one of those "vegetarians" who eat no actual vegetables but condemn you as they swill cheese puffs?)

Still, there are those who are willing and capable enough to healthfully plan around a lack of meat. However unnatural, a few can even educate themselves to the point of succeeding with strict veganism (even eschewing milk and eggs). Perhaps they'll even live 2-4 years longer due to calorie reduction and certain phytochemical abundances, at least when compared to poor saps eating a typical, lousy Western diet. Although such data are correlational and therefore show no cause-and-effect (i.e. lots of lifestyle factors confound the data), they do suggest certain benefits along with their risks.

And lastly, even the global ecosystem would be more efficient with a reduction of overall meat consumption.

But why pretend we're not omnivorous by design? Let's not ignore all those anatomical and physiological features that suggest the "natural-ness" of meat consumption by predatory humans. Let's not glance over the fact that animals eating animals is a necessary part of the food chain (think about removing a single predator species and see what you eventually get). Let's not forget quality of life from a bodybuilder's point of view; a longer existence isn't appealing to everyone if it means being smaller or anemic or even frustrated. If I were a vegan, just knowing that I was missing out on certain zoochemicals (e.g. creatine, CLA, carnosine, EPA and DHA, B12, etc.) and a rich source of other nutrients (vitamins, minerals, high quality proteins) would bother me personally. I want to do all I can to get and keep a powerful physique.

So let's not forget the contribution of animal products to our specific physique goals as well as to human evolution and modern society. The fossil record and human anatomy (the latter of which I have taught at the collegiate level) supply compelling and sometimes independent evidence that meat is good.

As bodybuilders leaning toward the "hunter" rather than the (however long-lived) "grazer" part of the human spectrum, let's repeat that last phrase.

Meat is good.