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”
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: