Can Humans Digest Meat?

A common myth told by PETA and is ignorantly repeated today is the claim that humans are unable to digest meat and it therefore putrefies in the colon, causing disease.  I believe I may have a special insight on this one based on my unique experiences.  We have probably all read the science of human digestion and understand why this statement is erroneous.  But I would like to cover this one as living proof, not only that humans digest meat, but we digest it better than any other whole food we eat.

After I lost my intestines, I was left with only about ten inches of small bowel which was formed into a jejunostomy stoma as seen in the image.  What you see in that graphic is all of the small intestine I had left.  So in essence, I was able to see what passed directly out of the human stomach.  It really doesn’t matter even if some doctor backs this erroneous claim, because doctors never deal with ostomies.  Emptying of the ostomy bag is a job that even nurses do not perform regularly, but is the job of a “Tech” in a hospital.  For those who don’t know, the Tech is person who goes room to room checking and recording blood pressure, temperature and blood sugar.

Aside from checking and recording vitals, the Tech must empty the ostomy bags of intestinal patients.  They really don’t check the contents, just the overall volume of output.  The output must be matched with the infused fluids to prevent dehydration.  Of course, the Techs are terrible at this job and often spill the contents on the patient.  Stomach acid burns like hell when it sits on your skin for more than a minute or two (strongly suggesting that it has the ability to break down protein).  So more often than not, family members take over the job of ostomy care and recording.  In my case, my beloved wife took on the dirty chore.  For those that are curious; no, a jejunum or ileum output doesn’t smell like feces (that is a colonostomy), because the jejunum and ileum are before the colon, which houses the bacteria that create the offensive gasses.  A jejunostomy or ileostomy output have the smell of vomit, because in reality that’s what it is.

Because I had such an extremely short bowel, my output was very high because no water absorption had taken place.  I was fed and hydrated by infusion and could literally live without eating or drinking at all.   Because of my excessive output, we had to make a rig that had a hose extending from the ostomy bag that drained into a one gallon jug.  Often the hose would get clogged and my wife or sister would have to use a coat hanger wire to unplug it.  Now if this vegan pseudoscience is right, we would suspect that the hose was being plugged by pieces of meat.

Never once did we see any solid chunks of meat.  I became so curious about this that I once swallowed the largest chunk of meat I could possibly get down without choking.  Because of the shortness of my bowel, it only took about twenty minutes for my stomach to empty into the ostomy.  Better than two hours later, there were no signs of any meat chunks.  What was always clogging the ostomy tube were pieces of vegetables that were not fully chewed.

Entire pieces of olive, lettuce, broccoli florets, grains and seeds were found.  Yet, large pieces of fat were never witnessed.   As a matter of fact, all the fat from the meat was already emulsified by the bile into solution within the duodenum.  Over time, fat would coagulate on the side walls of the ostomy bag, but never were there any solid pieces observed.  Certainly we are getting a lot more nutrition from our meat than from our vegetables – unless you can chew your cud several times like a ruminant.

No mammal on earth have enzymes that can break down the cellulose from plant cells.  Cellulose membranes can only be ruptured through the mechanics of repetitive grinding and the fermentation of bacteria.  Human molars are not flat enough to grind plants very effectively and we don’t have the bacteria necessary for fermentation within our stomachs.  Who here has never observed whole corn kernels or nuts in their poop?  I raise cattle and even in spite of their large flat molars, the ability to chew their food multiple times, and a host of protozoa in their stomachs, I have seen whole corn kernels in their manure.  So, how much can a human really get out of whole grains with ridged molars and a nearly sterile stomach?

Humans have bacterial colonies only within the large intestines, but there is little nutrient absorption within the human colon.  Long before meat reaches the colon it has been completely broken down and absorbed.  All of the enzymes for breaking down meat protein and fat – pepsin, trypsin, chymotrypsin, lipase and bile are all manufactured by our stomach, liver and pancreas.  Most of these enzymes are secreted into the duodenum (the first section of small bowel directly after the stomach).  In other words, we have no need for any ingested bacteria or enzymes for meat digestion, but we need plenty of outside help for plant digestion.  If this cocktail of gastric juices ever hits your skin, you will know damn well how effectively they begin to break down protein – trust me on that one!    The fact that the human digestive system maunufactures every enzyme needed to reduce animal flesh to solution would strongly suggest that we have evolved as an omnivore with a much stronger lean towards meat consumption.

We also have to consider that the doctors were infusing PPIs (Proton Pump inhibitors) mixed in with my TPN in order to suppress my appetite.  This is important, because I was completely reducing animal fat and protein to solution with my stomach acid production severely crippled.  Lowered acidity also reduces enzyme activity within the stomach.  Imagine how much more efficient my stomach is at digesting meat now that I am no longer receiving PPIs.  So I am not sure on what science the vegans bases their claim that humans can’t digest meat.  As is typical with most vegan propaganda, it’s based on no science at all and was something they literally “pulled out of their ass”.   Why people continue to repeat this nonsense without checking its validity is a mystery to me.

There is a condition that late-stage diabetics can suffer called, “Gastroparesis”, where the nerves to their stomach become damaged.  As a result, all of the food consumed (not just meat, but everything they eat), does not digest and begins to ferment and putrefy.  A man who I met at Jackson Memorial Hospital, who was there to receive a pancreas and liver transplant, and was also a diabetic began to suffer this illness.  As a result, he required that a stomach tube be inserted to into his duodenum to infuse a predigested paste for the remainder of his life.  Unfortunately, his liver was perforated during the procedure and he ultimately died as a result.

Perhaps some vegan diabetic mistook this symptom of the advanced stages of their disease as proof that the human could not digest meat and that it would putrefy in their intestines, but somehow I doubt that.  It would appear to be just more desperate pseudoscience someone at PETA simply pulled out of their ass because they understand that those that want to believe in veganism will accept anything PETA says without further investigation.

It’s quite sad, because vegetarians and vegans can have some valid points about human health (certainly a vegetarian diet is a healthier option than the standard american diet (SAD) of processed crap and junk food), but when they toss out some completely falsifiable and totally fabricated nonsense, like the myth that humans cannot digest meat, no rational thinking person can take them serious and they destroy any credibility they may have had for any of their arguments.  PETA does more of a disservice to the vegetarian and vegan agenda, yet vegetarians continue to support them.

This is why I like PETA.  As long as they’re the voice for the vegetarian movement, it will never be taken seriously or proliferate.  Sometimes I wonder if PETA is not actually funded by the meat industry to sabotage the vegan agenda through the exploitation of women in advertising, funding of eco-terrorism and manufacturing of complete and total pseudoscience.  No special interest group would ruin their own credibility in that manner.

(If you want to read more scientific facts about how the human alimentary tract digests meat, J.Stanton has published a detailed breakdown in his post “Does Meat Rot In Your Colon”.   Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD wrote an excellent description entitled “The Long Hollow Tube”.)

There are several other erroneous claims that I can expose, based upon my medical experiences.   I have these subjects in these other rants:

“The Effect Of Sugar On Arteries”

“The Truth About Soy” 

Now, every time I hear a vegan proclaim that humans can’t digest meat because our stomach acid is too weak, I’ll wish I had some of my gastric juices to pour on them and see how long their epidermal protein can resist being digested.

PETA propaganda will never affect me, because I have seen what actually empties from the human stomach.  Here are some other posts I have written concerning more falsifiable and ridiculous pseudoscience created by the likes of PETA:

“Can We Feed The World”

“Is Meat Eating Causing Global Warming?” 

That’s Your Plate Michelle, Not Mine!

The U.S. government has again taken its self-appointed role of telling americans what to eat seriously by investing more of our tax dollars on their newest guideline.  Thousands of rats bravely gave their lives in manipulated research, that only government sponsorship could conjure up, in order to bring you the MyPlate.

In another attempt to curb the rise in obesity among school children, this slick new graphic will reverse the U.S. health problems in no time flat.  It is quite confusing to me why the Obamas have invested so many resources while ignoring a tanking economy, record unemployment and countless wars in Mideast Asia on a draconian government sponsored health plan, when it is obvious that once this new graphic catches on, everyone will slim down, tone up and not need a doctor.

Our government has always known what’s best for us.  After all it was a dream of the founding fathers to design a school lunch, so boring and tasteless, that students would refuse to eat it.   That is a sound investment of american tax dollars in vegetables that are rotting in the cafeteria trash cans.  Like the Obamas, our founders knew that the only way to make children healthy is to force them eat healthy food then force them to purchase a government sponsored health plan that will be as reliable as Social Security.   The next wise usage of our tax dollars will be to hire Cafeteria Marshalls to physically cram the food down their little throats.

Was it James Madison’s idea, when framing our Constitution, that the government should be the arbiter of how the american people should eat?   Believe it or not, the american people were once free to make these decisions on their own.  Had Madison the warnings of modern food corporations, he may have penned the first amendment to read: “A well-regulated diet, being necessary to stay alive, the right of the people to keep the greedy-ass government’s special interests off of their plates, should not be infringed.”.   Unfortunately, Mr. Madison did not see this coming.  So, why won’t these children eat this food that the government has deemed healthy and when did the government decide to take over our meal planning?

The answer to the first part is easiest; because they have removed any traces of natural fat from all of the food and use filler, like soybean or some other low-fat meat or egg substitute; at worst it taste like crap and at best, has no taste at all.  With no fat, it is not satiating and they know they’ll just be hungry in an hour or so anyway.  The food is most likely loaded with so much bran fiber, that the poor tikes know they’ll spend all of third period on the toilet.  Then they have to wash it all down with skim milk – an unnatural beverage that even hogs turn their noses up at.

The second question is a little more complicated, but the founders certainly never entertained the idea of taking away a parent’s freedom of choice concerning what food their children eat.  There were plenty of less fortunate people, who lived below the poverty line throughout U.S. history.   They had little choice than to attempt to exist on beans and rice, and their health suffered as a result of the low nutrition available without complete protein and fat.  The government’s answer was to have us all eat that way.  Let me give a little more history on how this happened.

From 1776 until 1976, government made no recommendations on what americans should eat, and for those 200 years, children above the poverty line were healthy, active and childhood obesity was so rare that it was actually embarrassing to be the fat kid on the playground.   Is it simply a coincidence that school desks needed to be reinforced to support the weight of a rhino about the same time the government began doling out nutritional advice?   Just how and when did the government take charge of our food choices?

In 1968, the McGovern Committee was formed to investigate and improve the growing malnutrition  in the U.S., these were those poor people who attempted on live on grains and starch.  By 1974, the committee had improved upon those problems and George McGovern decided to expand the scope of the committee to address the over-eaters as well as the under-eaters.  He felt that the government could reduce the incidence of diseases, especially heart disease (which was a fraction of what it is today), by creating a government standard for the american diet.   The USDA pyramid would later be based on guidelines set forth by the McGovern committee.

That diet included sugar laden meals, which endorsed over-consumption of starchy, government subsidized grains.  6 to 11 servings of these hybrid seeds could range from bread, pasta, donuts, bagels, cup cakes, pizza crust, chips, macaroni, and a whole host of baked goods and confections.  Corn was included in the vegetable category, even though it’s actually another starchy grain (double jeopardy).   The fact that grains, especially wheat, were a major commodity used in the triangular negotiations between the U.S., U.S.S.R. and China during the Nixon Administration at the height of the “Cold War”, I’m sure had nothing to do with the USDA’s proliferation of grain through government subsidizing (add sarcasm here).

These grains became more important to the health of the U.S. economy than to the health of the american people.  Suddenly, all of the research funded by the U.S. government showed that grains were essential to human health, even though humans had existed millions of years prior to consuming them.  Now we were expected to increase our daily intake fourfold, which was quite easy as thousands of new snack foods, chips and cereals were hitting the market every day.  Grain commodities grew nearly as quickly as the american waistlines as those all-important extra servings of grains could be crammed into the american diet by lots of snacking.  Whereas the poorer people attempted to live on the starches alone, the well-to-do now added all that starch to a diet already rich in dietary fat, protein and carbohydrates, thereby increasing their overall calories to insane levels with all the high carbohydrate snacking between meals.

By the new millennium, americans were fatter and sicker than ever.  The fast sugar spike of these starchy snacks would send the blood sugar crashing every two hours, increasing hunger and appetite.  Would the government now have to admit that their silly pyramid was at fault?  Of course not!  The american people had to be convinced that they had somehow increased their intake of saturated fat, even though butter and lard consumption was a fraction of what it was in the 1970s, because the McGovern Committee had convinced them into giving up the fat in exchange for more grains.   With the help of the media and filmmakers, like Morgan Spurlock, fast food was an easy target – and not just all fast food, but particularly that beef paddy, with all its saturated fat.  Forget the fact that the average fast-food meal is actually a high carbohydrate affair, served with mounds of potatoes, wheat buns and a huge sugary soda; it just had to be that greasy burger causing all of our ills.

It would appear that americans understood the pyramid well and were eager to heed its advice and wash down fat-free foods with low-fat beverages, yet somehow they continued to get fatter and heart disease and diabetes became our biggest killers.  Americans were told that they are unique in the world of mammals.  Whereas grains are the farmer’s choice for fattening livestock for slaughter, the government scientists have claimed that humans get thinner the more grains that they eat (I guess we’re aliens) – and when has the U.S. government ever lied to its people?  The problem was not the USDA pyramid, but the stupid american people’s ability to understand it.

So, Mrs. Obama and the USDA felt the need for a face lift and were willing to spare no expense (2 million tax dollars) in updating it to something more relevant.  Given the fact that few people eat off of plates anymore (microwaveable styrofoam and cardboard containers), I fail to see the relevancy.   Not only was this damned pyramid too hard to understand, but  Mrs. Obama knew that it was no longer hip, because her design was going to be colorful and contemporary – like MySpace (no one told her that MySpace was yesterday’s news and has crumpled to a lurking ground for pedophiles and Facebook was what was in).

I personally felt that the pyramid was a perfect icon for the government dietary recommendations.  After all, it is the symbol of a tomb and also the shape which represents a now illegal business scam.  A scam and a tomb; what could be more befitting of this disease promoting advice?   But Michelle has educated me that it wasn’t poor nutritional advice that was designed to maximize agribusiness profits, but just the fact that it was not cool and far too complex and confusing.

So the USDA simplified the main course by removing the word “Meat” and replaced it with “Protein”.   Now our children can drop all that nasty meat, with all its fat, vitamin B12 and iron and replace it with low-fat beans!  Our children can fart their way to a slimmer physique and be excused from class with their bi-hourly bowel movements.  We no longer have to worry about the youth of america attempting to smoke, because with all that methane gas around, they dare not strike a match!   Then they can also avoid that dangerous cancer-causing sun because of their pale complexions, resulting from their induced anemia from lack of B12, iron and blood loss from their bleeding colons and spend far more time inside on their gamestations.

By design, this new MyPlate is even more vague than the pyramid and leaves a lot to interpretation, which is great for corporate profits (and her husbands re-election fundraising).  Roll your mouse over the portions on my version of the MyPlate below to see how I believe people will adhere to it. (also roll over the MyPlate text at the bottom to reveal its real name):

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Not that americans will make these assumptions on their own – they will get plenty of direction from manufacturers who will use the government guidelines to make their highly processed swill appear healthy.   If you don’t believe me, take a look at the images below.

Both Chef Boyardee and Manwich have run ads boasting that their products equate to a full serving of vegetables.  The GMO vegetables within this toxic cocktail have been torched to within an inch of its life.  If there ever were any nutrients in these foods at the start, it has been well destroyed by all the excessive heating, grinding and pressing.  Then it will have a whole host of preservatives and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fat) added and ultimately be heated for pasteurization within a tin can coated in Bisphenol A (BPA).  And let’s not forget the secret ingredient in all processed food – plenty of sugar!  We are being embalmed by all the chemicals within this glop, which brings to mind the picture of a mummy, which is found in a pyramid – still the appropriate icon, in my opinion.

No matter how adulterated these processed foods become, as long as they once resembled an actual whole food product a long time ago, far down the assembly line, our government will credit them with fulfilling one of their recommended servings.  This is the same government that classified pizza sauce as a serving of vegetables – as they also did Ketchup.  If you take a look at what’s served in the school cafeterias today you will see plenty of highly processed crap containing the suggested staples put forth in the pyramid and newly updated MyPlate.  It may not be long before we see something like this marketed towards americans:

How much longer will these just remain recommendations?   Some cities have now begun to mandate that children no longer bring lunches from home, but must eat the refuse of hotdogs and tater tots ladled out in the school lunch program.  A gruel that even Oliver Twist would dare not ask for more.  When government can enforce what kinds of food we can eat, we are in much bigger trouble than we are now.

Remember, this is the Obamas we’re talking about.  The same people who brought us government mandated health insurance.  Barack Obama believes that it his position as President to mandate anything he believes is best for us (or more accurately for the special interest who financed his election).  Obama is not unique in this, but he does seem more aggressive than most due to his popularity.  You can bet that whoever follows him, Democrat or Republican, will continue this assault on your right to real food.

Do we really need government to tell us what’s best for us?  Freedom includes freedom to do the wrong thing.  Who among us is wise enough to make the decision for the entire populace?  Though I agree with Dr. Lustig that sugar is at the heart of most health problems, including diabetes, I am in complete disagreement with Dr. Lustig’s proposal that sugar should be banned, over-taxed (a sin tax) or forbidden in any way.  I simply believe that people should be given the truth concerning their safety (just like with smoking, drinking or drugs) and if people still choose to consume them, then so be it.  Prohibition only creates crime and an underworld to supply the demand.

As it stands now, we have not been given the truth concerning the dangers of sugar and the heavy starches and toxic proteins in grains, beans and legumes.  On the reverse side, we have been given false information and bogus dangers concerning the safety of meat and raw dairy.  These lies are perpetuated by the powerful agribusiness, bioengineering companies (Monsanto), cereal companies and other food manufacturers.

The U.S. government will continue to chip away at the last freedoms we inherited, right down to the very morsels we can eat.  Once the government declared smoking a public health risk, they were able to tax the living hell out of it and place bans on it wherever they wanted.  You may agree and feel it was warranted and maybe so, but it also opened the floodgates of what the government can deem a health risk and tax it out of existence or outright ban it.

You may say that there were inherent risks of second-hand smoke and I will agree, but that has not stopped the government from placing bans on organic farm produce and raw milk co-ops, including cow-shares.  Though you may not agree with raw dairy consumption and casually stood by as petitions were offered for its protection – the government has now used this ban to seize all produce delivered to co-ops, farmer’s markets and tossed thousands of dollars worth of organically grown produce into landfills.

It will not end here as any food can be deemed by the government as a health threat, with no proof of contamination – only suspicion.  Entire herds of goats and sheep have been seized and destroyed in the U.S. by simply claiming a suspicion of disease (Mad Cow).  It will be soon that the CDC will not allow any foods that are not irradiated (cold pasteurization) or sterilized in some other manner to be sold.  This will be the final nail in the coffin of the small family farms.  The agenda of this government is for the large food corporations and bioengineering companies to have complete control of the food supply.  If you believe we are seeing poor health in the U.S. now, it will be ten times worse when Monsanto runs it all.

Health experts have already predicted a shortening of the human life-span based on the present rates of diabetes, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Autism and all other types of diseases (including cancer) reaching record highs in children.  When americans no longer have access to whole, unadulterated farm foods this experiment of GMOs and sterile food could fail on a global scale.

I hope that americans will soon wake up and mandate that the government get out of the nutrition business while we still can.  Grain commodities will always be more important to bureaucrats than the health of your family.  The USDA is quite comfortable in the deep pockets of the grain and soybean industries and show their favor through huge subsidies.  I’m not suggesting that the government officials know that these foods are unhealthy.  They are brain-washed by the ad marketing from the bioengineering and agribusiness companies too and feel it is just convenient that they are profitable to the U.S. economy and healthy for the people.  They even feed them to their own families.  But such a highly processed carbohydrate diet has proven disastrous to our health care system.

Before the government got into the diet business, americans were much healthier making their own decisions based on family traditions.  Sure, there were still people suffering from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, but it was much, much less than we have today and far fewer than we will have in the future.

The Planet That Went Ape!

This is really not a movie review. I just wanted to use the idea in this film as a springboard to discuss why the vegetarian ape cannot support a human sized brain, as this ill-conceived movie suggests, and why humans evolved to eat meat.  Unfortunately, this newest fiasco in the science fiction film series, “The Planet Of The Apes” attempts to create a scenario where scientists increase the capacity of the simian brain to human proportions virtually overnight.  The writer makes the same erroneous assumption that many vegans and vegetarians do – that humans and apes are exactly the same physiologically.  But could a chimpanzee’s or gorilla’s body support the energy-hog that is the human brain?  Could the human brain have evolved on the raw vegetarian diet of the apes?  Is it simply just a matter of giving an ape a larger brain to create our worst adversary?  Let’s take a look at the internal differences of an ape to a human.

First, we have to look at the digestive system of the great apes, which include gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutangs and bonobos.  Though vegans and vegetarians insist that humans are herbivores because we externally resemble apes, internally we are significantly different.  They continue to argue that humans and apes have a similar overall length to their intestines.  This is true, but there is a huge difference in the way the gut is distributed.  The following graph illustrates the wide variation in the amount of foregut and hindgut in man and other primates:

Humans have a much longer small intestine for nutrient absorption and a shorter hindgut (cecum and colon) for the fermentation of vegetable fibers than do other primates.  The distribution of intestines are completely opposite of one another.  This fact disproves the idea that apes and humans have the same gut length and therefore share similar dietary needs.  There is obviously a huge difference in the ancestral diet between man and ape to explain this dramatic difference.

Apes have a much larger hind gut for the fermentation of plant foods.  No mammal on earth can digest plant cellulose, so herbivores depend on gut bacteria to break down the plant cells and then absorb the fatty acid by-products via the colon (read my post “Only One Mammal Survives On Low Fat Nutrition” for more on this).  The human colon is capable of very little nutrient absorption.  It is predominantly used for water absorption to help recycle fluids lost in digestion.  The human hind gut can only supply about 10% of the energy requirements for our body, whereas the ape’s hind gut provides about 65% of their energy needs.  It is possible for a human to live without a colon as many cancer and Ulcerative Colitis patients have proven after colectomies.  Apes on the other hand, will die if their colon is removed.  I personally have only about ¼ of a normal colon (11 inches transplanted, 10 inches native) and I am living just fine.  An ape couldn’t survive on the small amount of hind gut I am left with.

Apes do not live in the rainforests just to avoid colder climates.  Many tribes of mountain gorillas endure extreme cold temperatures.  They never migrated out of the tropical forests because it is the only place where there is enough fruit and vegetation available year round to support their massive bodies. Chimpanzees are primarily frugivores and gorillas are more vegetarian.  The apes in the movie take up residence in the California Redwood Forest – an idea that is completely ridiculous.  There would not be enough wild fruit and non-toxic vegetation year round to maintain their body’s nutritional requirements, much less their newly acquired, virus induced larger brain.  Humans began migrating out of the forests and populating the globe only after we had adapted to the food that is available virtually everywhere – meat.  The Inuit people thrived in icy areas where little vegetation grew, but meat and fish were abundant.  An ape (or vegan) wouldn’t last a couple of days there (sorry Yeti believers).  In order for an ape to support a human sized brain, there would have to be some serious physiological changes made to their digestive system.

According to Kleiber’s law, it would be impossible for an animal to meet the energy demand of a human size brain and an ape size gut.  The colon is an extreme energy hog.  It generates a tremendous amount of heat when fermenting vegetation.  Hominids had to sacrifice the large colon of their predecessor, who probably more closely resembled the vegetarian Australopithecus, in order to spare the energy required to support a larger brain.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too, yet the writer of this drivel thought that apes could have both.  Even if the ape could intake enough dietary calories to support a human size brain and an ape size colon, their body temperature would become dangerously high from the calorie expenditure.  The human brain gobbles up over 25% of the calories ingested, whereas the ape (and probably vegan) brain only uses about 8% of their energy intake.

The ape must maintain a smaller brain in order to feed the massive colon necessary to survive on a low nutrient diet of vegetation.  The image below illustrates the differences in skeletal structure between a man and chimpanzee.

If we follow the angle of the ribs, we can see that the chimpanzee’s abdomen flares out into a more pear-shaped figure.  We also notice that the pelvis is a taller bowl to hold the massive amount of hind gut.  The human rib cage angles inward towards the hips, creating a more wedge-shaped torso and flat stomach.  The large pear-shaped abdomen seen on some people is an accumulation of fat around their waist and not intestines.  The gorilla’s pot belly is not fat, but a huge, gas-filled colon.  The fermentation of cellulose creates a lot of flatulence in the ape and vegan colon.

As unlikely as it is that a virus could enlarge the brain of an ape, it is even a further stretch to assume that the virus could also restructure their entire digestive tract, shortening the colon and cecum, and increasing the size of their small bowels.  It took a couple of million years for humans to make this adaptation.  The option of eating nutrient dense meat is quite suicidal for apes, especially gorillas.  According Finch and Stanford in their quarterly “Meat-adaptive Genes And The Evolution Of Slower Aging In Humans”, it is proposed that the evolution of the apolipoprotein E 3 gene, may provide humans protection from diseases suffered by apes when consuming meat. [PDF]   The following is a quote from the abstract:

Chimpanzees eat more meat than other great apes, but in captivity are sensitive to hypercholesterolemia and vascular disease. We argue that this dietary shift to increased regular consumption of fatty animal tissues in the course of hominid evolution was mediated by selection for “meat-adaptive” genes. This selection conferred resistance to disease risks associated with meat-eating also increased life expectancy. One candidate gene is apolipoprotein E (apoE), with the E3 allele evolved in the genus Homo that reduces the risks for Alzheimer’s and vascular disease, as well as influencing inflammation, infection, and neuronal growth. Other evolved genes mediate lipid metabolism and host defense…”

– Finch and Stanford, 2004

So switching to a meat based diet is not in the cards for the apes anytime soon because Alzheimer’s and heart disease would overcome them quickly.  An ape army would have a real logistics nightmare having to carry tons of vegetation from battlefield to battlefield.  Instead of spending time planning their strategies for the overthrow of man, they would continue to eat and poop every waking hour of the day to obtain their nutrition from their low nutrient diet.   Not a very formidable foe.

I know folks will tell me to lighten up and enjoy the movie because it’s only science fiction.  My purpose of this rant was not to disprove a ridiculous movie storyline, but to use it to disprove a popular piece of vegan propaganda.  Hominid brain growth was the result of a shrinking gut, based on a diet of nutrient dense meat, and the larger brain would later lead us to better food preparation.  Grinding, cooking and even the fermentation of food made digestion and the extraction of nutrients much easier and therefore required less intestines for internal processing.  More of our absorbed food energy could then be routed to the brain, rather than the gut.  Humans had to first grow their brains from meat consumption before we could have the intellect to discover fire, agriculture and food processing to make nutrients more accessible from plant foods.  The modern vegan would not be possible had humans not first thrived on meat.

Hollywood, being the Mecca of vegetarianism and other pseudoscience, found this movie to be quite plausible.  The film’s director Rupert Wyatt was quoted as saying;

I think we’re ending with certain questions, which is quite exciting.  To me, I can think of all sorts of sequels to this film, but this is just the beginning.”

Most likely the apes will take over the world at some point.  I don’t even want to imagine what silly writing will be applied to explain how endangered species of primates, that number in the thousands, can overtake a human population of over six billion humans!   Sometimes I think the apes have already taken over Hollywood and are writing the scripts for new movies.

Is Splenda really Splendid?

Splenda, that wonderful trick on nature that allows us to have our cake and eat it too.  Unlike its predecessor Aspartame (NutraSweet), it can hold up to cooking temperatures and not breakdown – It can probably hold up to a nuclear blast as I think nothing can break this crap down!  People claim it tastes just like sugar, but I think it taste like a sugar and aspirin combination.  I accidentally drank some in a beverage once and gagged and tossed the rest of the drink away.  But for those who like a little pharmaceutical taste with their confections or just love the taste of sweets so much they can tolerate the bitter after taste – Splenda seems like a real cheat on nature.  But is Splenda really that splendid in the larger picture?  Let’s take a look at what we know, and more importantly what we don’t know yet.

Splenda contains a man-made compound named sucralose.  Sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than sugar.  The amount needed to sweeten your coffee would be so tiny, that you wouldn’t be able to get it out of the little yellow packet because static would bind the dust to the side of the paper.  So to solve this problem, the manufacturer adds filler in the form of dextrose, sucrose or maltodextrin, which are sugars, giving each pack about four calories – even though they claim zero calories.  The manufacturer claims that Splenda taste like sugar, because it’s made from sugar.  So how much processing does sugar go through to become sucralose?  The following is the recipe for making sucralose.  Try to make it at home:

  1. Sucrose is tritylated with trityl chloride in the presence of dimethylformamide and 4-methylmorpholine, and the tritylated sucrose is then acetylated with acetic anhydride.
  2. The resulting sucrose molecule TRISPA is chlorinated with hydrogen chlorine in the presence of toluene.
  3. The resulting 4-PAS is heated in the presence of methyl isobutyl ketone and acetic acid.
  4. The resulting 6-PAS is chlorinated with thionyl chloride in the presence of toluene and benzyltriethylammonium chloride.
  5. The resulting TOSPA is treated with methanol in the presence of sodium methoxide to produce sucralose.

Ahhhh… just the way grandma used to make it.  Hardly the idea that is suggested when the package states; “Tastes like sugar because it’s made from sugar.”.  Being made from sugar gives the impression of something that’s natural.  This is nothing nature would have the audacity to create, because it serves no purpose. I am confused as to why anyone would consume mass quantities of a substance that has no nutritional value and is not even a food by any definition of the word.

Sucralose is a sugar molecule that does not exist in nature.  Sucralose begins its journey as a sucrose disaccharide (meaning it’s made of two simple sugars or monosaccharides).  The two sugars in sucrose are glucose and fructose.  Sucrose is the sugar found in fruits, honey, cane, beets and syrups, including HFCS.  Through an elaborate chemical process that would make any mad scientist proud, the stereochemistry of the glucose molecule is changed, making it more resemble galactose.  A fructose/galactose disaccharide is not anything commonly found in food, so how is the body to deal with such a monstrosity?  The real secret to sucralose is that the final product replaces the three oxygen and hydrogen atoms at the end of the now deformed glucose molecule with chlorine molecules, making the compound a organochlorine.

 Organochlorines have historically had a bad reputation.  Usually only used as a pesticide, they would include a family tree containing chlordane, DDT, Agent Orange and PCBs.  All of these compounds were such a disaster, they have been banned from usage.  Sucralose was invented accidentally while trying to create a new pesticide.  The worse attribute of organochlorines is their resistance to biodegradation, causing an accumulation of the compound in the environment.  Supporters of Splenda’s safety will argue that the chlorine (a compound toxic to all living things) is of no threat to the consumer, because the human body can’t break down sucralose and release the chlorine into the tissues.  I am not going to follow along with the typical scare tactic of the chlorine causing health problems.  After all, the body cannot metabolize the sucralose, so the chlorine never reaches the cells.  Although, the FDA final report on sucralose states that 11 to 27% is absorbed by the human body and has a half-life in the blood of 3–5 hours.  The Japanese Food Sanitation Council found that the body can metabolize up to 40% of sucralose, which if true, could be a health risk to those who consume a lot of it. [link]  But until more information and studies are released on this, I will not use this argument.

The real problem with sucralose is the mechanism that makes it work as a sugar substitute – the fact that nothing living can break it down.  Studies done on rats have shown that the rodents fed sucralose had a 50% reduction in gut bacteria. [link]  This could be something to consider.  No human studies have yet been conducted, but I cannot see why human gut bacteria (which are mostly the same bacteria found in rat colons) would fare any better against this substance.  So anyone eating yogurt sweetened with Splenda in hopes of restoring gut flora are kind of like a dog chasing its own tail.

Whenever anything we eat is not digested or absorbed, the bacteria within the colon will attempt to feed on it.  Oligosaccharides (fiber) are also indigestible. When these natural carbohydrates reach the colon undigested, the bacteria begin to ferment and convert them to butyric acid, a short chain fatty acid used by the cells of the colon.  But, when sucralose reaches the large intestines undigested, the bacteria can’t deal with it in any way.  The rat study would suggest that the bacteria may die-off in the attempt to metabolize it.  So what happens next is that the sucralose passes out with the stool, unchanged.  The percentage of sucralose that is absorbed into the bloodstream, is filtered out by the kidneys and passes with the urine.  If you eat sucralose, then you are defecating and urinating sucralose with each trip to the bathroom.  You’re probably saying to yourself; “So, I have sweet tasting urine and poop and what’s wrong with that?”.

Studies have proven that modern waste treatment does not remove the sucralose from waste water.  Details on the study here.  So this sweet frankenfood is finding its way back into the water supply.  Sucralose breaks down very slowly, if at all, in nature and we have absolutely no idea of its impact on the environment yet.  I would imagine that in time, our water will begin to have a sweet (and aspirin) flavor.  Look, if someone insists on being the subject of a giant experiment by the food manufacturers and risk possible side effects because they can’t tame their sweet tooth, then fine.  But what about those of us who choose not be a corporate guinea pig and are suspicious of the safety claims of sucralose.  They’re telling us and every other animal on the planet, that they don’t give a damn and we will have to learn to enjoy their second-hand franken-sweets and share in whatever health risks that they’re willing to take to satisfy their never-ending lust for sweets.

Everyone bitches about second-hand smoke, but no one is contemplating the effects of second-hand sucralose.  What if the bacteria in the rat colons are an indication of what could happen to the bacteria in the top soil if sucralose builds up over time from irrigation?  How will crops be affected by high concentrations of sucralose in their water?  These are serious questions that no one has the answers to at this time, and unfortunately, no one seems to care.  Do we have to spend billions of dollars inventing and implementing waste water modifications just so some people can have an artificial sweetener?  Like I said at the beginning of this rant, the things we don’t know about sucralose may be the most alarming.   If someone can’t apply moderation when it comes to sweets, they should at least eat sugar, aspartame or better yet, stevia.  These can at least break down quickly and stop at the end-user.  Even though excessive sugar consumption can cause obesity, diabetes and heart disease, at least they won’t be pissing their indestructible organochlorines all over the rest of us who can practice self-control.   Then they alone are the one gambling a health risk, not the entire planet.