Get Vegetarian Teeth and Eat Less Meat

Van Mensvoort
June 28th 2011

Want to live a greener life? Eat less meat. Recently the UN appealed for a radical shift in diet, to improve individual health and ease conditions affecting the global environment. Reducing meat consumption by 10% reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, humans are omnivores. Our teeth are designed to eat both meat and plants. Susana Soares and her colleagues designers and engineers of the Material Beliefs program propose to alter human teeth structures into those of herbivores, in order to become a better vegetarian.

Teeth are an essential tool for nutrition and their shape is related to diet. Herbivore animals have developed teeth structures suited to the consumption of plant material. Can our teeth structure be replaced to encourage dietary shifts that reflect social concerns?

Soon at a local dentist near you? Perhaps your government will even give you a tax cut for adopting a more sustainable veggy lifestyle? No seriously, this is bio play.

See also: Phone Tooth, Orthorexia Nervosa: the healty eating disorder.

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Bob
Posted 10/02/2012 – 10:54

Oh yeah...the Krebs cycle also utilizes energy from protein or fat. Seriously, you can even find this on wikipedia. It's in the first paragraph!
Fake science knowledge fail.

Bob
Posted 10/02/2012 – 10:49

Yeah...no. We're not the same as herbivores. Anyone with even basic knowledge of comparative anatomy is aware of this; however, we're not massive carnivores either. We're omnivores. We're made to eat mostly plant matter and can handle a modicum of meat. It's a good system: we can eat pretty much anything.
First off, carnivores don't have short digestive systems to "Expel meat as soon as possible". Meat, compared to plant matter, just takes less energy to digest since many of the processes that do so are present in all animals to begin with. It only takes a few tweaks to make a system that recycles old tissue assimilate energy from flesh as well. They have short digestive tracts because they don't NEED a long one. Plant matter, on the other hand, can be a pain to digest. A large portion of it isn't easily digested and must be first broken down by bacteria in the gut, or if it is digestible isn't as readily absorbed, hence the need for increased length and surface area. Just as an aside, cows and many other ruminants get their necessary protein by growing bacteria in their gut: bacteria that has a protein content similar to that of animal tissue. I'm not saying carnivory is better than herbivory; simply that it's easier from a biological standpoint.
Second, it doesn't matter that we don't have long fangs and claws. We never needed them so we didn't evolve them; pointy body parts and carnivory is NOT a package deal. Many "herbivorous" freshwater fish will happily munch on their comrades and lack teeth altogether. Cannibalism among field mice is not uncommon and they are granivores. We began eating meat fairly late in our evolution as a species and at that point had the necessary equipment to obtain and consume animal flesh. The addition of teeth and claws would just be an unnecessary expenditure of precious energy.
Lastly, no, there is not more protein in plants than meat. Whereas the support structure of animal tissue is mostly protein based, the support structure of plant tissue is mostly cellulose. Cellulose is indigestible by humans and, even if it was, is a complex carbohydrate. Also, plants have a much higher water-solid ratio than meat, so even if they were both purely protein animal tissue has a larger percentage of protein by mass. Looking at some nutritional labels for vegetables vs meat proves this.
So here's my point: I agree, we need to eat way less meat. A small portion every day or two is more than sufficient; however, don't try to base this viewpoint on blatant misinformation. A little research disproves almost everything Schmidt says, something which seriously detracts from the overall message.

Chris
Posted 07/02/2012 – 10:38

What Schmidt says is true. Our digestive system is in line with being herbivores. Don't fool yourselves people!

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