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The human omnivore and carnivore myth

Most people think that there is such as thing as a human omnivore or a human carnivore.

The truth is, we are frugivores, 98.5% anatomically identical to a chimpanzee, and thrive on a diet that consists on fruit and vegetables. If you find this hard to believe, let me prove to you without a doubt that you do not thrive by pretending to be a human omnivore, but as a frugivore.

"You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I'll buy you a new car."

- Harvey Diamond – author of Fit for Life

Human Omnivore, Carnivore or Frugivore: What are we?

My response to this question is: If we were natural carnivores or omnivores, we would eat and be attracted to the sight and smell of raw meat. We’d want to rip the flesh off a freshly hunted rabbit that we’d killed with our bare hands!

Truth be told, if there was such as thing as a human omnivore or carnivore, we'd be able to run down, kill (without the use of any tools), rip apart with our teeth, and properly digest a RAW animal. What's more, natural omnivores and carnivores do not CHEW their flesh, they swallow it hole (more on this later).

In fact, most of us love animals. We might delude ourselves into thinking we only love cats or dogs or birds, but the truth is that we would love a chicken or a pig equally if we got to know one. I doubt very many of us would kill their pet for dinner.

What’s more, human beings naturally detest the sight and smell of a slaughterhouse or  butcher shop.

In fact, slaughterhouses have the highest employee turnover rate of any industry and high rates of premature death, alcoholism, homicide, suicide, smoking, drug use, mental illness, domestic violence, poverty, cancer, and heart disease, as documented by author Gail Eisnitz (Chief investigator for the Humane Farming Association) in her book Slaughterhouse. Read this article for a review of the book, or buy it here.

So if you naturally detest meat in its natural form, how could you possibly be a human omnivore or carnivore?

Furthermore, the reason so many of us find the smell of (cooked) meat to be enticing is because it is cooked in tasty marinades and spices. I do not know a single person who eats raw meat without any flavouring whatsoever (like other carnivores or omnivores).

What's more, we do not eat cow, pig or sheep; instead we call it mutton, pork and ham, disguising it to look nothing like an actual animal.

I’ve often seen (and experienced myself) absolute revulsion on the face of someone finding a hair on their chicken breast. So we kill our animals by proxy, with the vast majority of adults agreeing that if they had to kill the animal in order to eat, they would not eat meat ever again.

"Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them – beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care." (Slaughterhouse, page 87).

Human Omnivore, Carnivore, or Frugivore: The origins of man's diet

Because meat-eating is so endemic amongst our society, it's generally accepted that you're either a human omnivore (can eat a meat and/or plant-based diet) or a carnivore.

In a study on the Origins of Agriculture – a biological perspective and a new hypothesis, undertaken by the University of Melbourne, anthropologists state that the farming of grains, and civilizations’ reliance on eating them, came within the last 10,000 years, the same length of time researchers say man has been using fire to prepare food.

If we've only been using fire for the last 10, 000 years, do you really think man was eating raw meat before then, unless he absolutely had to, for survival? Still convinced you're either a human omnivore or carnivore?

In terms of human evolutionary history, 10, 000 years is an extremely short period of time, not nearly enough for our digestive physiology to have adapted to the kind of wholesale degradation that cooking causes to our food, says Douglas Graham.

Physiologists suggest that it generally takes 50,000 to 500,000 years or longer for evolutionary change to occur. Even then, we could not adapt in a healthful fashion to the nutritional losses or toxins created by cooking food. Please visit Raw Food Health for more information on the shortcomings of cooked food.

Human Omnivore, Carnivore or Frugivore: What did our ancestors eat?

The most widely held view of the historical diet of humans is that early man was exclusively a fruit eater. Dr. Alan Walker, an anthropologist of John Hopkins University has revolutionised the science of Anthropology by dismissing the cave-man-as-carnivore concept.

Using electron microscopes to study fossilised teeth and remains, his research team proved that our ancestors were until quite recently (in evolutionary terms) total fruitarians.

"Preliminary studies of fossil teeth have led to the startling suggestion that our early human ancestors (Australopithecus) were not predominantly meat-eaters or even eaters of seeds, shoots, leaves or grasses, nor were they omnivorous. Instead they appear to have subsisted chiefly on a diet of fruit. Every tooth examined from the hominids of the 12 million year period leading up to Homo Erectus appeared to be that of a fruit-eater." - NY Times, May 1979

The essence of the Walker research is that even though humans have adopted omnivorous eating practices in very recent history, our anatomy and physiology have not changed — we remain biologically a species of fruit eaters. A few hundred years or even a few thousand years of perverted eating will not change our dietary requirements.

For more information on the evolution of humans and our natural diet, please read this article, which offers some extremely convincing arguments.

Human Omnivore, Carnivore, or Frugivore: The hard, cold science

Modern science has clearly and indisputably proven that we are anatomically frugivores. Not a single person can live an effective or healthy life as a human omnivore or carnivore, as we've been led to believe.

If you compare the anatomy and digestive organs of a carnivore like a lion, cheetah or coyote, to the anatomy of the human body, you'll find vast differences.

In fact, evolutionists agree that we are 98% anatomically identical to a chimpanzee. Read The Essence of Anthropology for more information. Our digestive systems, from our dentition to our colons, are structurally and functionally very similar to that of other primates.

Throughout the animal kingdom similar digestive systems digest similar types of food. Therefore it should be assumed that our natural diet could quite easily be very similar to, or identical to other primates. You don't see cheetahs suddenly developing a taste for wild spinach. Or elephants with a taste for fresh lamb.


So what do primates eat?

Chimpanzees and other primates are frugivores. According to Jane Goodall's research, their diet primarily consists of fresh fruit, with a substantial amount of fresh greens and blossoms (25-50%), a smaller quantity of pith, bark, seeds and a minor amount of insects (never more than 1%).

chimpanzee diet

What's more, all primates have blood types like humans. None of them eat differently in a natural setting based upon different needs or blood types. So next time someone says they need to eat a diet different to yours based on what their doctor told them, or because they've got a certain kind of illness, or are following a specific diet, please encourage them to think again.

Scientific evidence shows that following a diet that closely resembles our natural diet is best for us nutritionally.

If you trace the increase in meat, dairy and grain consumption with the increase in diseases such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, kidney and liver failure, to name a few, you'll find clear, and chilling correlation. Read The China Study to find out more.

For further information of the costs of attempting to eat as if you're a human omnivore, in terms of health and nutrition, please visit Raw Food Health.

Says Mark Blackburn, "Contrary to what we might think, during the period of recorded human history beginning with the Egyptian empire on and through the 1800s, eating of animals was rare and indulged in generally only by the rich and then on special occasion". So you might wonder when it became endemic in our society to eat meat? But that's another article!

Human Omnivore, Carnivore, or Frugivore: Anatomical Differences

If you take the time to examine the human body, there are several clues that lead us to the fact that each and every person is not a human omnivore, carnivore or herbivore, but a frugivore. Just plain, logical common sense observation can show us some of the following:

  • Hands: We share amazing, dextrous hands with most primates. Our lack of claws makes ripping skin or tough flesh extemely difficult. We have much weaker, flat fingernails compared to carnivores. It's clear our hands are designed allow us to easily peel oranges, or pick fruits easily and quickly.
  • Speed: Most animals can run away from us really easily. If we were truly carnivores, we'd be able to chase down and tear apart our prey, without the use of tools.
  • Teeth: The molars of a carnivore are pointed and sharp. Ours are primarily flat, for mashing food. Also, the human jaw moves side to side, in order to allow chewing, whereas carnivore jaws are only vertically mobile, for flesh eating. Our “canine” teeth bear no resemblance to true fangs. Nor do we have a full mouth of them, as a true carnivore does.
  • Tongues: Only the truly carnivorous animals have rasping (rough) tongues. All others have smooth tongues.
  • Colons: Our convoluted colons are quite different in design from the smooth colons of carnivorous animals.
  • Tolerance for fat: we do not handle more than small quantities of fat well. Meat eaters thrive on a high-fat diet.
  • Intestinal length: Our intestinal tracts measure roughly 12 times the length of our torsos (about 30 feet). This allows for slow absorption of sugars and other water-born nutrients from fruit. In contrast, the digestive tract of a carnivore is only three times the length of its torso. The carnivores' stomach has 10 times the amount of acid, to digest blood and muscle and avoid rotting or decomposition of flesh inside the animal. The carnivore depends upon highly acidic secretions to facilitate rapid digestion and absorption in its very short tube. Still, the putrefaction of proteins and the rancidity of fats is evident in their feces.
  • Natural appetite: Our mouths water at the sight and smells of the produce market. These are living foods, the source of our sustenance. But the smell of animals puts us off. We are revolted by the sight of roadkill and slaughterhouses. Meat eaters’ mouths water at the sight of prey, and they react to the smell of animals as though they sense food.
  • Sleep: Humans spend roughly 2/3rds of every 24-hour cycle actively awake. Carnivores typically sleep and rest from 18 to 20 hours per day and sometimes more.
  • Microbial tolerance: Most carnivores can digest microbes that would be deadly for humans, such as those that cause botulism.
  • Perspiration: Humans sweat from pores on their entire body. Carnivores sweat from the tongue only.
  • Vision: Our sense of vision responds to a full spectrum of colour, making it possible to distinguish between ripe and unripe fruit at a distance. Meat eaters typically do not see in full colour.
  • Birthing: Humans usually give birth to one child at a time. Carnivores have litters.
  • Meal size: Food is in scale with our requirements, it fits into our hands. A few pieces of fruit are enough to make a meal, leaving no waste. Carnivores typically eat the whole animal when they kill it.
  • Drinking: We cannot lap up water with our tongues. Carnivores' tongues protrude outwards so they can lap water when they need to drink.
  • Vitamin C: Carnivores manufacture their own Vitamin C. We must get ours from our food.
  • Dental formula: Mammalogists use this sytem to describe the arrangement of teeth in each quadrant of the jaws of an animal's mouth. This refers to the number of incisors, canines and molars in each of the four quadrants. Starting from the centre and moving outward, our formula and that of most anthropoids, is 2/1/5. Carnivores is 3/1/5-to -8.
  • Saliva and urinary pH: All of the plant-eating creatures (including healthy humans) maintain alkaline saliva and urine most of the time. The saliva and urine of carnivorous animals is acidic.
  • Diet pH: Carnivores thrive on a diet of acid-forming foods, whereas such a diet is deadly to humans, setting the stage for a wide variety of disease states. Our preferred foods are all alkaline-forming.
  • Cleanliness: Humans are the most particular of all creatures about the cleanliness of food. Carnivores are the least picky and will eat dirt, bugs, organic debris and other items along with their food.
  • Liver size: Carnivores have proportionately larger livers in comparison to their body size than humans.
  • Intestinal flora: Humans have different bacterial colonies (flora) in their intestines than those found in carnivores. The ones that are similar are in different ratios.

The above (just a taste of the hundreds of basic physical differences between carnivores/omnivores and frugivores) is sourced from The 80/10/10 Diet by Douglas Graham, who concludes that humans are in fact frugivores, a creature that lives primarily on fruit, with the addition of tender greens (including nonsweet seeded fruits such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, okra, zucchini and other squashes, and eggplant).

He states that fruit is replete with the nutrients our bodies require – in the proportion that we need them.

If after reading all this you still think you're a human omnivore, visit this article by Milton R. Mills, M.D., a Stanford University-trained physician specializing in nutrition and associate director of preventative medicine at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Human omnivore, carnivore or frugivore: Transitioning

Unfortunately, for those not ready to give up meat yet, it's hard to transition from the human omnivore mindset to a frugivorous diet. So take small steps and try adopt a more natural, whole foods diet, while slowly cutting down on your meat consumption.

You can also consider cutting out processed foods and grains to start, and adopt a healthy frugivorous diet consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables instead.

And if you want that full, starchy feeling that breads and other grains give you, eat cooked starchy vegetables like potatoes and squash. You might experience detoxification, which means you'll feel bad for a week or so, but I can promise you that you'll soon feel a major difference.

"Vegetables are the food of the earth; fruit seems more the food of the heavens". 

- Sepal Felicivant

Related Articles

Click one of the following links and get to know more about the health and wellness you experience when you follow our natural diet:

What is a Vegan: In this fascinating article, you'll learn everything you'd ever want to know about becoming a vegan.

Raw Vegan Diet: A raw vegan diet is not a diet; it's a lifestyle. Discover a lifestyle that is filled with fabulous health, joy and an abundance of fruit and vegetables.

Raw Food Weight Loss: Imagine feeling full and satisfied all the time, and dropping weight! Learn how to eat right, be inspired by raw food diet weight loss success stories and get the top weight loss tips and guides.

Raw Food Health: Get passionate about raw food health and nutrition, learn how cooking food destroys its nutrients and how illness and disease becomes a thing of the past with a raw food lifestyle.

The Health Benefits of Olive Oil: Find out the truth behind the Mediterranean Diet, the effects of a high-fat meal and other mind-boggling information that will change your perceptions for good.

Benefits of a Raw Food Diet: Get inspired! Learn what the top 15 raw food diet benefits really are.

Save the Earth with a Raw Food Diet: Adopt a raw food diet and reduce your carbon and water footprint instantly, leading to a more sustainable way of living that will ultimately save the earth.

The Longevity Diet: The longevity diet gives you a blueprint for health, happiness and long-lasting life. Discover the diet and lifestyle similarities between world's longest-living cultures.

Raw Food Travel Tips: At last, Raw Food Travel Tips allows you to travel as a raw vegan without worrying that you're going to fall off the wagon. Find out the best strategies for remaining committed to raw food, anytime, anywhere.

Return from the Human Omnivore and Carnivore Myth to the Raw Vegan Diet

Return from the Human Omnivore and Carnivore Myth to Eco-friendly Africa Travel



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