• Question: Hi, scientist, Why do we as humans eat animals and we are herbivores. We have nothing that a carnivore have eg sharp claws and large canine teeth, we can't even stand blood or seeing someone kill an animal but people still eat them?

    Asked by beans21 to Sudhin, Sergio, Katie, Frances, Diarmuid, Aoife on 20 Nov 2019.
    • Photo: Katie Fala

      Katie Fala answered on 20 Nov 2019:

      I suppose that humans aren’t exactly herbivores, we have certain adaptations to allow us to extract nutrients from animal-based foods, such as pointed canine teeth, or enzymes which absorb iron better from animal sources than from plant sources; as such we are generally referred to as omnivores because we can eat both plants and animals. This probably helped our survival in prehistoric times because animal-sourced foods tend to be more nutrient-dense.

      Of course, just because we evolved to be able to consume and absorb nutrients from animal sources doesn’t mean that we have to – it is possible, although more difficult, to obtain all necessary nutrients from a plant-based diet. However, if avoiding meat or animal products, be it for health or ethical motivations, it’s really important to link in with a dietician to make sure that your diet is achieving your requirements and avoid becoming deficient in any nutrient(s).