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Why do humans eat so many meat products? All topics relating to climate change and conservation | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW

Why do humans eat so many meat products? All topics relating to climate change and conservation | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW

Infografik Auswirkung Lebensmittel-Industrie an Klima EN

Humans have been Consuming meatSince the prehistoric period, we have been consuming more of it over time. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organizations (FAO), we have quadrupled the world’s production to 350 million tons per year in the past 50 years.  

The trend is not slowing down.  Current forecasts suggest that we will continue to produce Up to 455 millions tons a year by 2050.

Inefficient food source 

Scientists have been concerned for years about the environmental impacts of this love affair, especially with regard toIndustrially raised animals, and have deemed it an “inefficient” food source, on the basis that it requires more energy, water and land to produce than other things we eat.  

Infografik Auswirkung Lebensmittel-Industrie an Klima EN

A Study on the impact of farming for instance found beef production is responsible for six times more greenhouse gas emissions and requires 36 times more land compared to the production of plant protein, such as peas.

Avoiding meat and dairy products is the biggest way to reduce our environmental impact on the planet, the study concludes. Global farmland use could be slashed by more than 75% without meat and dairy.

What’s more, 60% of global biodiversity loss is caused by meat-based diets, according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) sources.

The psychology behind eating meat 

Many people continue to eat meat regardless. Benjamin Buttlar from the University of Trier Germany, a psychologist, attributes this to habit and culture as well as perceived needs. 

“I think that a lot people just enjoy the taste. The identity aspect of eating is another thing. Many traditional cuisines revolve about certain meat dishes,” he said, adding to the fact that many people don’t question what they are eating because of their habitual nature.  

He said that most people don’t think that meat consumption is bad, because it’s something they do all the time. 

Freshly slaughtered pigs are hanging in a cld warehouse

We don’t often see how animals are killed.

We can also dissociate easier if the food we eat doesn’t remind of an animal’s sufferings. But when we are presented with a different perspective, such as by talking to someone else, it is easier to dissociate. Vegetarian or veganButtlar says that when we watch a documentary about animal welfare, we might feel the need for justification, such as saying humans have always eaten beef.

Research shows that justifying eating meat as a natural, normal and necessary part of our diet is something that’s more typical for males.

“You see this in the trends of food,” Buttlar explained. “There are a lot more young females and fewer men who are becoming vegetarian because it’s still a masculine stereotype that men eat meat. This is due to evolutionary misconceptions about meat consumption and strong men hunting.  

The’mHypothesis: ‘Eat made us human’ 

Scientists believe that eating meat helped our ancestors build more human-like bodies. Also, eating bone marrow and meat gave us the ability to eat meat. Homo ErectusIt required energy to form and sustain a larger brain approximately 2 million years ago.

However, a recentStudy questioned the importance of meat consumption in our evolution. 

According to the study authors, the archaeological evidence supporting meat consumption increases with the appearance of H. erectus, this could also be This can be explained by the greater focus on the time period. Or, in another words, a sampling bias. 

1.5 million year old butchered animal fossil bone from Koobi Fora, Kenya

The study analyzed the number and types of fossils and butchered bones that were found in major research areas in eastern Africa, ranging from 2.6 million to about 1.2 million years ago.

The more paleontologists looked for archaeological evidence of bones being butchered, the more they found. According to the authors, the authors said that the increased number of bones observed during this period is not evidence of an increase in meat consumption.  

Briana said, “I was definitely surprised by this discovery.” Pobiner is a paleoanthropologist at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in America and co-author of the study. “I was a long-time member of that group that had this narrative. H. erectusEvolution occurred because of increased meat consumption. These findings have forced me to reexamine how I see our evolutionary history. 

What role did plant-based foods play in our evolution? 

Pobiner, a researcher who studies the evolution of human diet, suggests that eating meat may not have been responsible in supersizing our brains.  

“We don’t see a significant increase in brain size since the beginning of meat eating. With the increase in meat consumption, the brain size has gotten even larger. H. erectusIt didn’t get much bigger, so the brain was not as big as it was a million years ago.  

Skull of a homo erectus

The reason our ancestors’ brains grew may not have been because they ate meat.

There is evidence that early humans cooked their food at the same time their brains grew. Heat can unlock extra nutrients and speed up the process of digestion. Food that is soft and easy to chew will also be more digestible.   

Pobiner also believes human evolution is attributable to a healthy dietary mix.  

Pobiner said that “and interestingly, there are some ideas that it’sn’t so much one type of food driving our evolutionary history but it’s really being capable of consuming a wide range of foods that made it so successful and that kinda made us human.”

Currently, 75% of the food in the world comes from 75%Only 12 plants and five animals are available. However, excessive intake of one food source can lead to health problems. 

“Innumerable studies show that when human beings consume animal protein, it is linked to the development of a variety of cancers,” Dr. Milton Mills, an internal medicine and critical care physician in the US, told DW.

Some Mills says that vegans or vegetarians often don’t get enough nutrients and protein from their diets.Who is an advocate His own plant-based diet was created Website to raise awareness of the issue, disagrees.

“These theories were created 50-60 years ago, when people mistakenly believed that meat was healthier than plant foods. It was a grossly false belief that people used to believe that only certain amino acid could be obtained from animal tissues. Mills stated that this is flatly false. 

What’s next? 

If the appetite for meat remains unchanged, the world population could be too big to feed itself by 2050When we reach 10 billion people worldwide, 

How can we reduce global meat consumption? Psychologist Buttlar believes incremental change with “top-down intervention” is the way forward.

ForFor example, making meat products more expensive than they should be to ensure animal welfare and reduce climate change costs. And by making alternatives cheaper,” he said. 

It’s also important to note that according to Buttlar, enables people to Positive associationsAlternatives made from plants

“We should not push them away by saying, “You shouldn’t eat any meat,” but rather say, “Have your tried this?” This is It’s really good. And once they realize plant-based food tastes the same or even better, and it’s even better for my health, for the climate, and animal welfare, then change will come automatically.”

Even in the midst of a changing culture, there are already signs that things are changing. Germany is meat-loving. According to the statistics for 2021, the market for meat alternatives is thriving with a 17% increase in the production of plant-based foods compared to 2020. 

Edited By: Tamsin and Jennifer Collins

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