Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Antibiotics in Meat Could Be Damaging Our Guts (nytimes.com)
191 points by rrauenza on May 26, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 108 comments



Some FUD, but farmers definitely abuse antibiotics. But of course they do, since they buy them in bulk at the store.

I have a lot of veterinarian friends, and the fact of the matter is farmers purchase antibiotics like any other supplies. Farmers get to skirt the process most other animal owners go through, and in most states and jurisdictions don't need to go through a licensed veterinarian to obtain antibiotics.

Most veterinarians I know think it's ridiculous, and causes more harm than good. But farmers have lobbied for these freedoms. Many veterinarian friends complain that many farmers are entitled, and feel that they should be able to do whatever they want with their herd.

If you ask me, Farming is one profession that needs to have stronger regulations that are actually enforced e.g. antibiotics, humane treatment, etc.

It's a grey area for sure -- do I let my sick animals suffer so I can sell them? Or do I give them medicine that makes them ineligible for certain consumption categories.


> do I let my sick animals suffer so I can sell them?

This isn't what the antibiotics are for. They increase growth. We don't know why.

It is also a giant source of antibiotic resistance, which is why it should be illegal, much less the disruption of your gut microbiota from consuming antibiotics.


>This isn't what the antibiotics are for. They increase growth. We don't know why.

I think it’s more along the lines of this:

1. Cows evolved to eat low starch and high fiber grass;

2. We feed them corn and grain based diets that speed up growth but result in certain illnesses (rumen a layer of slime which traps gas they normally release and liver failure both which can lead to death);

3. Antibiotics are mixed in with corn and grain based feeds which help with both those issues (gas/bloating and liver failure).

I have never seen a study showing antibiotics lead to accelerated growth where a cow doesn’t also eat a corn/grain based feed.

More detail explanation here (not a study): https://www.google.com/amp/s/paleopersonaltrainer.wordpress....


Review says that grass feeding makes the antibiotic growth effect different, but it's not a monotonic difference: makes some antibiotics better, some worse.

https://www.livestockscience.com/article/S1871-1413(07)00572...


Both statements are true.

Chicken are fed antibiotics because it stimulates some growth hormone.


Not only that. Animals in factory farms are held in very poor conditions, overcrowded, consuming a very poor diet not designed for them by nature, and spending most of their lives stepping and sleeping on their own manure. So of course they get sick. Do people really need studies and articles to figure out the end product of these sick poor animals will be bad for people?


> Do people really need studies and articles to figure out the end product of these sick poor animals will be bad for people?

People don't, it's obvious.

Please refer to the history of the Tobacco industry in the United States to see how this strategy works. The same technique is being used with climate change by the fossil fuel industries.

For enforcable regulations to become enacted, suddenly the burden of the most rigorous scientific proof with zero possible doubt becomes mandatory. It's absurd.


We don't know why? I thought it was because your body can spend energy on fighting off infection or on other things. If antibiotics reduce the energy required to fight off infections, the "other things" gets more energy. Growth falls into this big second bucket.


It's very easy to tell just so stories like this, and there are a number of plausible ones. That doesn't make them correct. For example, we don't know how antibiotics kill bacteria. All the models such as impeding crosslinking of cell wall and the bacteria bursting from turgor pressure? All wrong. Still taught, but entirely wrong. We don't know how antibiotics work.


I am definitely in the bucket of people thinking this is how antibiotics work. Do you have some links I could read talking about how this isn't true?


I wish I did. The hints in the literature are spread far and wide among older papers, often misinterpreted as something else. A lot of it is unpublished data from my graduate work.

First, penicillin does bind to enzymes that cross link cell wall. It's getting from there to dead cells that's the problem. First, if you knock out a set of proteins called autolysins, cultures exposed to penicillin plateau in population, but the population does not decrease. That is, there is a suicide response. Second, changing the external turgor pressure, such as by adding PEG to the medium, doesn't change the rate of death. Third, if you watch a culture under a microscope when you add penicillin, all the cells in the culture stop growing long before they die. So the unbalanced growth model can't work. I have a vague memory that the kinetics don't work out either, but it's been too many years.

More interestingly, other antibiotics, such as rifampicin and chloramphenicol, which don't target anything related to cell wall, cause bacteria to stop growing when they are added to the medium. That implies that there are active mechanisms involved, not some random fact about cell wall synthesis that happens to stop when something is inhibited. Rifampicin is supposed to inhibit protein production (and does mess up ribosome activity), but there was an interesting paper that showed that a few mRNAs were translated as normal in the presence of rifampicin, even though most were messed up. And how would inhibiting protein synthesis lead to cells exploding (which they do) by a direct, physical mechanism?

I've thought about going back and writing a review article on all this stuff, but biology is a long ways in my past at this point.


> This isn't what the antibiotics are for. They increase growth. We don't know why.

Do you have a source for this? Sounds very interesting if true


The article links to another article in the fourth paragraph. The use of the word seem implies we don't exactly know why.

"That’s because decades of agricultural research has shown that antibiotics seem to flip a switch in young animals’ bodies, helping them pack on pounds. Manufacturers brag about the miraculous effects of feeding antibiotics to chicks and nursing calves."

The above raises the question, do antibotics increase the BMI of human children long-term ? According to this article[1] the answer is yes.

[1] https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2015/children-who-t...


This has been known for quite a while. I'm sure you could come up with quite a few sources if you really wanted to, though I'm not sure how well the phenomena has been studied (seeing as we still don't know what causes it).


An answer to your question was already in an immediate sibling subthread half an hour before you posted: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17162574


Seriously this trend on HN to knee jerk react with "do you have sources for xyz" needs to stop. Googling it in 5 seconds will give you plenty of sources. Do your own research.


Aviv isn't just telling you not to be lazy. The observations that someone includes when they are trying to confirm their hypothesis are scientifically meaningless. Observations are only valid when they are made with good faith effort to discredit the hypothesis. This includes the meta-observations of going out and finding studies on the internet.


Lol that's such an aggressive response, no wonder HN has such limited success


"do I let my sick animals suffer so I can sell them?"

Erm, isn't the point that they use antibiotics en masse to prevent illness? I don't think anybody ever complained about treating (serious) diseases with antibiotics, but the preventive use big scale. This is just madness, among other things in the meat industry. .


Constant feeding of low, sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics boosts animal growth. Apparently, without antibiotics, some part of the energy in the food is consumed by the gut microbes, not the animal. Antibiotics tame down the gut microbes, so more of the energy in the feed goes to the animal. The farmer needs less feed, and the animals grow faster.

I would guess that with antibiotics, meat production can be like 20% more efficient, maybe somewhat more.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibiotic_use_in_livestock#Dr...


> I would guess that with antibiotics, meat production can be like 20% more efficient, maybe somewhat more.

But at great cost. The farmer makes more short-term profit, while offloading the externality of dealing with the consequences (breeding antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria) to the future[1] or just someone else entirely[2]. Are these costs really worth it for you to get cheap cuts of meat at the grocery store, or to ensure that the farmer makes more money (or remains profitable at all[3])?

[1] Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria make cattle farming impossible.

[2] Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria enter the general human population generating a significant health crisis.

[3] If the livestock industry can't stay afloat without these low-dose antibiotics, then maybe they should either charge more (meat becomes a luxury item), or they should just end livestock farming altogether. The production of meat isn't as essential to the functioning of society as people think. It's definitely not worth the risk of creating a health crisis just because "the meat must flow."


> (meat becomes a luxury item)

The European Union banned antibiotic growth promoters 12 years ago [1]. However, in my experience, grocery shopping for meat in the US east coast is, if anything, more expensive than meat in Europe.

[1] https://academic.oup.com/ps/article/86/11/2466/1573697


> Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria enter the general human population generating a significant health crisis.

From the wikipedia link above: "However, any antibiotics deemed medically important to humans by the CDC are illegal to use as growth promoters in the U.S. Only drugs that have no association with human medicine – and therefore no risk to humans – are allowed to be used for this purpose."

(I am no expert, so I don't know whats the bottom of this.)


Wait, isn't that the exact scenario that has the most danger of breeding antibiotic resistance? Constant, low doses that just suppress bacteria population but don't wipe it out.

Antibiotic resistance is becoming a huge problem recently. It sounds like farmers are slowly trading in the most effective life saving medicine we have ever discovered for a boost in margins.


Yes, its sad this train of thought is often disregarded as most of the people who I hear repeat it are anti-gmo.


Actually, the energy theory it likely incorrect. The more likely candidate for the connection between antibiotics and weight gain is the disruption they cause to the microbiome. This causes a metabolic disruption that impedes the breakdown of starches in the gut, and causes them to be converted to fat.

This is not just in cattle, by the way. It's also in humans. Antibiotic over-prescription has been linked to obesity and fatty liver disease. See, for example: https://www.nature.com/articles/pr2014157


"Erm, isn't the point that they use antibiotics en masse to prevent illness?"

Another great way to prevent illness would be to actually provide suitable conditions for the animals to live. Their current conditions are abhorrent.

I agree with the other commenters about the use of antibiotics to raise larger animals as opposed to healthier ones.


Farmers are under strong economic pressures to reduce sickness in their animals. And as mentioned be others, baseline antibiotics use is not about reducing sickness. Animal welfare is a valid and important concern, but the best place to focus is on places where the farmer's incentives are not well aligned.


But that’s not what they’re used for. Because antibiotics affect the gut flora of the animals, they tend to get fatter faster. Which is good for a farmer trying to make as much money in as little time as possible.

This is what they’re mostly used for, sadly.


I thought this thread about how farms operate was pretty interesting:

https://twitter.com/SarahTaber_bww/status/973765381017034753

Of course I don't really have the context to evaluate it.


Wow, that was a super interesting perspective. Thanks for the share.


Are these submarine articles?

There are lots of "Natural" beef / poultry / pork which are Anti-Biotics free ( Or claiming they are when they are not ) that are selling at a premium. Being pushed especially by the big companies, Cargill / Tyson ( IBP ) and National Beef.

I do agree it is a tough call though. Beef Industry has a huge lead time compare to Pork and Poultry. Making it not as easy / clear cut.


I found that instead of using antibionics, using probiotics on a sick animal works even better. I had a sick animal that I didn't think would make it and loaded their food with pro-biotics and she eventually powered through it. Maybe the solution is just the right bacteria vs the wrong ones. This might be a middle ground farmers might like because they can brew their own bacteria pretty easily (I use rotten milk and a bucket) and actually save money


Why is the article FUD?


We give antibiotics to cattle to get them to absorb more energy from grain and get fat.

We eat those antibiotics.

We eat grain and get fat.


One of the reasons why I'm trying to cut down meat consumption. Evidence seems to be mounting that it's not the greatest plan...


There is so much vegan propaganda for reasons other than health (e.g animal rights, saving the planet) masquerading as science since the early 70s when the "limits to growth" and "the population bomb" were published that it's hard to not just throw it all out. A recent egregious example was the netflix propaganda piece "What The Health" which was so over the top vegan propaganda that a long debunk article was written by just about every non-vegetarian health writer of note.


What is wrong with "vegan propaganda" ? Plant-based diets aren't a religion (except for some). What is wrong with propaganda that's good for people ? Let me guess : you LOVE eating meat and you don't want to stop. You're scared by people wanting to take your meat away. So you just call all what they say "vegan propaganda" and be done with it.

The fact that you just used the "science" argument to justify your meat consumption is absolutely insane to me. Modern meat consumption HAS enormous consequences, that's a science fact. Stop trying to accomodate reality to your convenience.


So a lie or distortion (propaganda) about the health impact of eating meat is totally ok if it supports veganism because you're going to save the earth or save animals? Then I'm just describing reality in my post and you seem to be confirming it and you are mad that I don't agree with you that lying to people is great.


There will always be some craziest on either side of these arguments - that shouldn't be the focus & detracts from sound arguments.

>reasons other than health (e.g animal rights

I don't much care for the concept of animal rights, but having inspected a handful of industrial scale farm ops I can kinda see where they're coming from. Lots of disgusting stuff & it doesn't seem isolated either.


Start watching nutrition facts on yt. It will be encouraging and Dr Gregor supplies all his sources.


Dr Gregor also claims all pro-meat and pro-sat-fat results at conspiracies.


example?


Sorry if this is a bad question. I only buy meat and vegetables from whole foods, does it shield me from the ill effects of meat.

Only thing holding me back from keto diet is amount of meat I have to eat.


>I only buy meat and vegetables from whole foods, does it shield me from the ill effects of meat.

For processed meat at least the current WHO consensus seems to be that no level of it is safe. It's literally classified as a carcinogenic same as smoking.


Focus on where the meat comes from, the condition the animals were raised in (if you can find anything about that), and whether the animals were given various hormones, antibiotics, et al.

Fortunately it's now easy to buy meat at grocery stores in the US without antibiotics. Every major grocery store chain carries selections of antibiotic-free meat. Just ten years ago that wasn't the case. Typically you can read the packaging and it'll tell you that it wasn't raised with antibiotics, if that's the case (and if it doesn't say that, the odds are that it was raised with antibiotics; the antibiotic-free meat packaging tends to trumpet that as a selling point).


That still leaves the question of whether meat of any kind is healthy. The jury still seems out on that one.


certain proteins and animal based nutrients are important during gestation and early-life, but, from my humble opinon, are only necessary in much smaller quantities, after we reach a certain level of maturity.

I have a plant and cheese based diet, eating meat once or twice every one or two weeks, and even then in small quantities. I practice cycling every day, at 40kmph average at about 50-100km per day. My staple food is oats with peanut butter, cane sugar (rapadura/panela) and cinnamon.

Last month a friend moved in with me, and has taken charge of the meals. Since then I've begun eating meat a lot more. Explosive strength is a little better, but I have noticed a considerable decline in the oxygen uptake in my muscles, to the tune of -40-50%. It also seems to be harder to get into the ketogenic burn cycle.

Admitedly, i'm also riding less than usual (30-40km/day), but this isn't the first time i've taken a break and i've never experienced muscle wasting like this before.


I don't think regular plants with all kinds of pesticides, or GMO plants with all kinds of non-long-term-tested gene modifications to improve sale-ability and profit margins, would be much better...


Could you source information on this? This speculation on GMOs being bad just cause of gene modifications is by itself unsubstantiated. To compare the risk of the two, especially without taking into account the nutritional value of plants and vegetables is unreasonable.


My objection to GMOs is not the gene modifications; it is that in practice they're modified to allow an increased use of pesticides/herbicides such as glysophate. I'd rather not have glysophate in my food. However, this is difficult to quantify, and often disputed by industry groups.

Ideally, the use of pesticides/herbicides would be tracked throughout the entire supply chain, so that consumers could have an accurate accounting of the use of pesticides on the food they're consuming. Sadly, the odds of this happening are nil, so we're left with the choice of buying organic and hoping the pesticides/herbicides they used aren't too bad for us. Of course, we can also buy directly from farmers, but that is not practical for most of us, and certainly not for all of our foods.

I just want to be able to choose my poison ;)


See that is a measured opinion that I can agree with. :)

I do agree with the pesticide/herbicide use tracking and that lobbying is keeping the much needed regulations from being put in place.

OP's contention ("GMO plants with all kinds of non-long-term-tested gene modifications"), however, is just meaningless speculation.


What I pay attention to in that statement is "non-long-term-tested". Without multiple life-long studies that reach a consensus, people will fear GMOs are going to turn out like cigarettes.


We hardly put that level of scrutiny on any day to day use products. Multiple studies show that there are various carcinogens we live with on a regular basis. Thousands of new intermediary chemicals are created on an everyday basis without any sensible level of regulation.

Even cigarettes, in your analogy were created without any regulation, and continue till date. Overconsumption of calories from soda is a well known problem, but as a society we love them anyway.

Somehow when it comes to GMO, for some reason the burden of proof is so much higher. The chances that GMOs would be terribly bad for our health is much closer to sci-fi than reality, given how much leeway is provided for other consumer products we regularly use, apply, and consume in our lives.


>We hardly put that level of scrutiny on any day to day use products.

We really should.

https://io9.gizmodo.com/seriously-scary-radioactive-consumer...


> I'd rather not have glysophate in my food.

Glyphosate (you spelled it wrong) is widely used in non-GMO agriculture as well. Avoiding GMO doesn't do much in avoiding glyphosate. Glyphosate is also probably the most widely studied and the most harmless of the herbicides. Replacing glyphosate with some other chemicals is not necessarily a win.

Even going organic doesn't free you from all herbicides and pesticides, some of them are allowed to be used in organic farming. And if you really go pesticide free, you start to have more insect damage in crops, which provide entry points for molds to attack the crops. And some of the toxins produced by molds are really potent.

If you want to avoid residues of harmful chemicals, going 100% pesticide free is probably not the optimum.


>Avoiding GMO doesn't do much in avoiding glyphosate

Uh, being able to tolerate more glyphosate was the entire reason for genetically modifying a lot of the GMOs currently in widespread use.

In other words, glyphosate is used at many times the concentration it used to be used at precisely because of the introduction of GMOs (because that was the whole point of introducing those particular GMOs).

>insect damage in crops, which provide entry points for molds to attack the crops. And some of the toxins produced by molds are really potent.

Insect damage is easy to see (at least on whole produce, not counting processed foods); glyphosate residues on the other hand is hard to detect.


Glyphosate is also used as a "desiccant" to prepare the crop (talking about crops like grains, corn, beans, but also others) for harvest. You spray a desiccant to either kill or at least harm the crop plants, a little before harvest so that in the subsequent days the plants start to wilt and dry in the field. Then you can harvest a drier crop, need to spend less effort to dry it post-harvest, and a drier crop is less susceptible to spoilage.

Your very purpose is to "desiccate", that is to kill or harm, the plants before harvest. So you don't need to care about concentrations (expect from the point of view of regulations, how much glyphosate residue is allowed in the food products).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_desiccation#Glyphosate

Using glyphosate like this is banned in some countries (Switzerland, Nordic Countries come to mind), but it is widely used in most of the world. It has nothing to do with GMOs, it is widely used to desiccate wheat, for example, and there is no GMO wheat anywhere in commercial production.

I am no expert, but I'd guess this is the main source of glyphosate residues in food.


"We found that honeybees that had been fed with solution containing 10 mg l−1 GLY spent more time performing homeward flights than control bees or bees treated with lower concentrations. They also performed more indirect homing flights. Moreover, the proportion of direct homeward flights performed after a second release from the same site increased in control bees but not in treated bees. These results suggest that, in honeybees, exposure to levels of GLY commonly found in agricultural settings impairs the cognitive capacities needed to retrieve and integrate spatial information for a successful return to the hive. "

Glyphosate is also not allowed in organic produce. Because of allegedly inappropriate involvement of pesticide manufacturers in scientific reviews, glyphosate has also only been approved for five years in the EU (2017).

> And if you really go pesticide free, you start to have more insect damage in crops

There is an organic solution to insect damage and that is predators. I know some green houses that is run here uses sterile large insects that targets crop damaging insects, after which they are just washed off the plants. 100% toxin free and naturally you could balance that to get rid of molds as well. Costly but very effective.


> Avoiding GMO doesn't do much in avoiding glyphosate.

Here's some facts.

Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybean seeds are designed to be sprayed with glyphosate.

> Monsanto projects that acreage will double this year, accounting for about 44 percent of all planted acres. (1)

If you're not buying organic, it seems incredibly likely you're getting glyphosate in your soybeans, and by extension, many numerous products that the beans are processed into.

Of course, if you are buying organic, it doesn't mean your food wasn't treated with a natural chemical. As I said before, it would nice to know which ones/

1: https://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCAKBN1FD0G2-OC...


>Could you source information on this? This speculation on GMOs being bad just cause of gene modifications is by itself unsubstantiated.

Isn't the "we modified hundreds of thousands of years of evolution with cool tools with surgical gene altering power not had by farmers before", while science still doesn't have a clear picture of nutrition and human metabolism, and did so in a few decades, and with a profit motive that has been shown time and again to make companies to make hasty decisions and sacrifice quality control and even bypass safety regulations, side the one that should prove that it's safe?

I guess, someone warning merely inspired by basic precaution for the new and relatively unknown elements being passed over to consumer in the case of radioactive substances used in commercial products and sold all other the place, was also making an unsubstantiated claim. Until someone else substantiated them...

https://io9.gizmodo.com/seriously-scary-radioactive-consumer...


You make a valid point, and you can choose to keep the policy for yourself. Doesn't mean you can make policy against those products considering them guilty.

GMOs have nowhere close to catastrophic potential for human health. On the other hand, we still heavily consume excess fats and sugars on a regular basis, which are well known to cause health problems in the long run. If you are really concerned about your health, or that of other people, and would like to see this legislated, maybe we should be starting with the ones with substantiated evidence against them.


So buy organic. And I’m guessing any GMO plants will be much safer than antibiotic-laced alternatives.


Given the strong congressional lobby against labeling, organic doesn't mean much in and of itself. The problem with genetically engineered foodstuffs is not necessarily the foodstuff itself but that in practice it's mostly synonymous with herbicide resistance. And that herbicide is mostly synonymous with glyphosate which is looking to also be really screwing with our gut biome on top of being a probable carcinogen. On the topic of glyphosate there was an interesting submission here [1].

[1] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17043629


Organic doesn't mean they're not using pesticides at all, and no fertilizer and singing kumbaya to their crops every night. The problem with the term "organic" is that it means different things to different agencies.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a lack of proper regulation for organic food products? The USDA fine is "only" $11,000 -- that's nothing for major distributors. I've always heard that it's impossible for the Certified Organic label to be regulated properly due to sheer volume, and most people don't know the difference between that and just buying something labeled "organic" (which has absolutely no regulation).


>And I’m guessing any GMO plants will be much safer than antibiotic-laced alternatives.

Would they? For one, there's nothing about GMOs that says they can't also lace them with all kinds of crap.

And it's mostly profit-driven amateur magicians engineers driving them, not actual scientists interested in improving learning and testing them long term. So I'd trust their safety guarantees as much as I trust tobacco or drug companies...


Hmm.. wouldn't all those plants be fed to animals? GMO in EU is only allowed as animal feed. Those plants get treated with the same pesticides (if not stronger), but now a cow eats through tons of grains while you would never eat that much food in a lifetime. Then, the cow's body bioaccumulates the pesticides and then you keep dosing yourself with larger amounts than if you just ate the plants directly?


This 2011 chart shows antibiotic use in livestock in countries around the world, including New Zealand, the US and the EU. The use of antibiotics varies hugely between countries. If anyone has more recent figures, please post:

https://amr-review.org/sites/default/files/Info%204%20bar%20...


And what about antibiotic résistance for human induced by that ?

We ask out doctors to try to avoid giving antibiotics if it can be avoided, but there are sole cases where animals are massively dosed with it.


I wonder what the perfect diet ends up being once you consider things like antibiotics, heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants and not just macro/micro nutrition.


After getting worked up in the past about all the things that you mentioned and trying every diet under the sun a whole food plants based diet has done wonders for me. Been on it for two years now and never felt better. I am not in the camp that says that a diet like keto is bad for you. But in my experience it is exponentially harder to get quality meat products than quality (or least bad) plant based foods.

Wrote a blog post a while back about my thoughts on diet if you want to give it a read: https://medium.com/@manibatra23/2016-a-reflection-diet-30c15...


I‘ve done Slow-Carb and Leangains for muscle gains, eating LOTS of meat in the process, but I‘ve never felt as good as now, eating little meat and lots of raw vegetables (salads, whole carrots, you get the idea). Of course, I‘ve lost a lot of muscle, but I currently don’t really care.


The answer is most definitely a whole food plant-based diet.

See the book How Not to Die for more here: https://www.amazon.com/How-Not-Die-Discover-Scientifically/d...


I would reword plant-based to be plant-centric. Vegan/Vegetarian diets have many many issues (xenoestrogen, B12 deficiency, reduced sex hormone levels just to name a few) and are not a normal consumption pattern for genetic omnivores like us humans.


And most of those are actually misinformation. B12 being the only real one, but that isn't an issue because you can just supplement it. The B12 from meat comes from supplements anyways, so there is no difference. Just cutting out the middleman.


And B12 is found in soil bacteria, which before our filtered and cleaned food supply, would probably have usually found its way into our guts.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4765460/


Exactly this. It's mind-blowing what kind of questions my well-educated ask about being a vegetarian. "Where do you get proteins from?" or "What about iron?". Really?!

The only real thing missing is B12 and of that the body needs so tiny amounts that every idiot can supplement it easily.


Not a vegan but B12 is easy to get (I have Crohns and B12 deficiency is fairly common), 1 energy drink is ~250% of RDA (They are stuffed with it).


Vitamin D, too, especially if you don't eat dairy. I managed to develop a deficiency which caused seriously low bone density.

The only reason I found out was because I got a compression fracture of one of the T vertebrae while snowboarding (just riding, too---no crash or anything like that). My point being that I felt otherwise completely normal so somebody with a sedentary lifestyle may not notice until it gets really bad.

Vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption; my calcium levels were normal. I think regular diets are more resistant to lower vitamin D levels because they contain more calcium on average.


Or as dr. Gregor says, "cut out the middle moo." ;)


Actually they're estrogen blockers and slightly increase testosterone. Meat eaters have lower testosterone than vegetarians. This is all found in Dr. Gregor's videos on yt.


Omnivore does not mean "should eat meat along plants. It just means you are allowed to digest it (although our gut is NOT evolved to digest either herbs OR meat).


We are biologically herbivores. We cannot digest raw meat and we have to flavour it to make it appealing. Our digestion system, jaw, and other features are those of a herbivore, and we develop atherosclerosis from eating too much fat, unlike any non-herbivores.


We’re pretty poorly adapted to be herbivores. We can’t eat most plants at all, and we can’t eat most parts of most plants we do eat; because we can’t digest cellulose. Some staple foods require cooking; potatoes and beans for example. Many other plants, like spinach, are much easier to digest when cooked.


We are biologically omnivores. We can digest raw meat, however Homo sapiens has always had access to fire - unflavoured, blue, fillet steak is my favourite meal - delicious!


Um, you're still going to die, no matter what you eat. Sorry.


Whole foods, mostly vegetables, grown organically and without antibiotics, prepared at home.


Added to that, I like Valter Longo's recommendation of focusing on (healthy) foods that your ancestors ate; your body is more likely to be adapted to doing well on those foods.


We use unnatural tricks to lower the cost of production, the production of a luxury (read: not a necessity at the levels being consumed) that is very natural resources intensive to produce; to say nothing of the pollution produced by production.

The lower cost increases consumption; using more resources, producing more pollution. That is contributing to health issues in those who consume it. The lower peoduction coat is eaten up by medical coats.

It sounds like a terrorist plot.


I'll say it, although this isn't popular.

The world has too many people. We had to engineer our food supply to keep up with what is needed to feed everyone.


> We had to engineer our food supply to keep up with what is needed to feed everyone.

Nah, not needed. It's only because people eat so much meat.


However, meat is a complement to vegetables because it restores what they take out of the soil, so it's not as inefficient as it seems.

https://twitter.com/SarahTaber_bww/status/993309884711129088


Where do cows get their nutrients from?


I guess what she's saying must only apply to grass fed.


It seems that there are two replies:

1. No there aren't too many people; people just need to change their lifestyles.

2. Yes, there are too many people, because with far fewer people, we could have all the things we like (like lots of meat, cell phones, automobiles), and the overall impact will be small.

Given how hard it is to change lifestyles, maybe #2 is the more practical alternative.


I don't see how significantly reducing the number of people on the planet is practical.

Yes, current models predict global population capping, but it will stabilize higher than it currently is.

There are two actions that modify the population count. Birth and Death. We can decrease our birth rate while increasing freedom by offering better reproductive healthcare to those without access, but I don't think it will decrease the birth rate enough to make it lower than the death rate.

To reduce the current population to a level with "far fewer" it would involve involuntarily death increasing (war, murder, fatal accidents, illness), or involuntary decrease in birthrate (China's one-child-per-family policy, forced sterilization). Both of those seem horrific to me, especially if the motivation is to give more luxury resources to the living.


What is the limit of the argument that we should make do with less so that more can live?

Involuntary interventions are morally questionable, and often don't work in the long run. However, Europe, Japan, and the US (absent migration) have been voluntarily reducing their populations for years now, though the consequences of that shift present economic challenges.

No, I do not think that the projected human population can all drive cars, have big homes, have computers and cell phones, regularly fly around the world, and eat lots of meat without irreversible ecological collapse. However, for the most part all those things are good things absent their externalities, and the externalities really are only bad because of the scale.


My stance isn’t that we should maximize population instead of lifestyle. My argument is that involuntary interventions are morally wrong, and the global population will not decrease without them.


Or have a massive antibiotic resistant bacteria wipe out a significant number or the population.


I covered that in illness.

I think we are better armed to handle epidemic infectious disease than we ever have been, and a Black Plague level of population decrease is unlikely for a few reasons.

1. The disease model is very useful for identifying root causes of infection. Knowledge is a very powerful tool in prevention.

2. We have experience fighting infectious disease that do not respond to anti-biotics. They are a very powerful tool, but not our only tool.

3. State level actors, such as the United States CDC, have broad authority in the case of epidemics. Antibiotic resistant bacteria is a scenario they have war gamed many times, and a situation they monitor closely.


Not really, sorry.. first we are not feeding everyone. Second, animals take more space and resourced than vegetables.


People are starving because we don't drive food over to give to them, not because there isn't enough food being harvested due to meat or anything else.


„Too many“ for what?


How about, "too many to sustain and give a lifestyle that maximizes human potential"?


What is "human potential"? What if my life goals are to enjoy tasty food?


What do you mean "our?"


I'm more worried about the Disease Resistant Bacteria than a blanket claim from a grass-fed organic beef producer that it's causing obesity, etc.

Perhaps he figures that "causes obesity" would get more people concerned that about the risks of resistant infections.




Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: