Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Microstory 313: Vitamins, Minerals, and Proteins

Click here for a list of every step.

The problem with pretty much any diet fad is that they almost all remove at least one chemical important to healthy living. Humans regularly produce chemicals necessary to life just by breathing, eating, and drinking water. There are certain substances, however, that the body cannot produce on its own, and so they must be ingested directly. Scientists, since 1920, have referred to these as vitamins. Similarly, minerals are elements that must be in an organism’s diet in order to support their continued survival. I’m not going to list them all, but you’ll recognize them. As a few examples, iron is used to transport oxygen through the blood, calcium strengthens bones, and iodine assists with the release of certain bodily hormones. Restrictive dietists often like to claim that humans are not biologically designed to ingest certain foods, particularly meat, and that removing these altogether fortifies the body. I want to make sure you understand that these claims are entirely baseless and sometimes flat-out lies. That’s the best way to describe them. They’re either lying, or they are ignorant on the matter themselves. Every living organism needs protein. Humans have evolved to metabolize proteins by the consumption of other animals. Make all the moral accusations you want, but you leave science and health out of it, because you’re straight up wrong if you think we’re not physiologically meant to eat meat. Vegans and vegetarians can supplement their diet with vitamins and minerals they forfeit because of their exclusions, but this requires commitment, and an enormous amount of work. You can’t just stop eating meat or animal byproducts. You have to be diligent and careful, keeping a record of everything you eat so that you don’t miss anything. And you have to find other ways of maintaining a healthy diet of vitamins and minerals. Research every diet fad you try. Do not just believe the hype.


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