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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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December 03, 2009

In Vitro Meat

By Mark Sisson
116 Comments

When Winston Churchill, in the 1932 essay “Fifty Years Hence,” mused that “we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium,” he may have been more prescient than credited. Alexis Carrel had already been keeping a cultured chunk of chicken heart “alive” in a Pyrex flask for the past twenty years by feeding it nutrients (though Carrel was only interested in whether cell death was inevitable, not whether meat could be grown in a lab for human consumption). Sci-fi author Frederik Pohl was one man who took the idea of in vitro meat seriously enough to write about it – in the novel The Space Merchants, where cultured meat is the primary source of protein. That was science fiction, sure, but most good sci-fi is borne of the author’s honest opinion of what the future might hold and it’s usually inspired by the scientific advancements of the day. And sometimes, science fiction comes true. Like this time.

Dutch scientists were able to grow pork in a lab test tube. They extracted myoblast cells from the muscle of a living pig, incubated them in a piglet fetus-blood-nutrient solution, and got “a soggy form of pork.” No one’s tried the “pork” due to lab rules, but it’s derived from the same myoblast cells that generate muscle in response to tissue damage in an actual animal – ideally, this would taste exactly like pork muscle meat. They’ve even got plans to “exercise” the tissue, which could conceivably do away with the sogginess and provide a meatier chewing experience.

The Dutch scientists weren’t the first; four years ago, a research paper detailed plans to engineer in vitro meat on a massive, industrial scale, and others have been trying in vain for years to produce a decent lab-grown steak. The soggy pork is perhaps the closest they’ve gotten. Every researcher runs into a couple basic issues. First, there are generally two accepted methods for growing in vitro meat: the generation of either loose muscle cells or structured, “real” muscle. The latter is the ideal path, because it might make cohesive cuts of meat possible, but it’s also the most challenging. Real muscle growth depends on perfusion, or the delivery of arterial blood bearing nutrients to biological tissue, and a similar system might be required for “real” lab grown muscle. Until then, only thin sheets of muscle meat have been grown. These can be compressed into meat sheets or ground up, but a three-dimensional, juicy rare steak is still far off. The easy way out is to grow loose muscle cells, but unless you’re prepared for a future of unrecognizable meat products, you might want to wait for that soggy pork to firm up.

Where do I stand on the idea of in vitro meat? Well, I’m more than a little skeptical as you might imagine. Natural animal reproduction already does a pretty good job at growing meat, and major deviations from the natural order have a spotty track record. Big Pharma, for example, represents one big attempt after another to replace the natural order. It gets things right from time to time – I won’t argue against that – but it also creates unnecessary products that purport to protect patients from conditions that could otherwise be handled through lifestyle modifications. Both Big Pharma and the in vitro meat researchers are trying to understand incredibly complicated physiological processes that took millions of years to develop naturally. The vast interplay between hormones, nutrients, and environmental factors (including exercise, diet, and drugs) in the human body is difficult – if not impossible – to parse, but that’s exactly what medicine tries to do. When you take a drug, you’ve got to hope pharmacists took every possible factor into account. They can make educated guesses, and they’re often right, but not always. Statins, as prescribed, do a helluva job at lowering cholesterol (a pretty pointless gesture, but they do what they say they’ll do – note that they don’t promise reductions in actual heart disease), but they do so by interrupting the same passages used by other important bodily players – like CoQ10. It’s a complex thing, the human body.

Animal bodies are no different, and a steak isn’t just a matrix of muscle cells. It’s got fat (several kinds!), blood vessels, collagen, and different textures (which depend on the activity level of the animal; the lab meat cubes better have access to treadmills). Nutrients have to be shuttled in and waste out (grass-fed in vitro meat?). If you want a real steak with a bloody center, how is that achieved in the lab? Blood pockets? What’s the blood made of? What if I want a cowboy ribeye, bone-in – are they trying to grow bone, too? And I worry about the saturated fat content. One scientist mentioned replacing the Omega 6s with Omega 3s, which sounds promising, but I can only think the next step is to replace the saturated fats with even more Omega 3s (or, shudder, canola oil). Will it even taste the same?

At the same time, I remain open-minded. If they’re able to grow meat with perfect Omega 3/Omega 6 ratios, no hormones, no antibiotics, on a “diet” that recreates real grassy pasture, that tastes like meat, has the same texture as meat, the same saturated fat content as meat – I might be convinced to give it a shot. And if it’s cheaper than grass-fed meat, easier on the environment than industrial farming, and easy to produce on a mass scale without sacrificing quality, why wouldn’t I support it? Remember: I don’t glorify the ancestral, natural ways because they are ancestral and natural. It’s just that paying attention to evolution and being wary of modern “improvements” has paid off. The Primal Blueprint works. If in vitro meat works (and it’s proven beyond a doubt that it’s identical to real meat – a tall order, I grant you), why shouldn’t we give it a shot?

Still, I can’t help but doubt it. It’s not so much that I’m wary of processed food, because perfect in vitro meat that recreates actual meat is theoretically different than HFCS, boxed goods, and industrial vegetable oils, and it has the potential to revolutionize food (you mean I get to eat a black panther steak? Sign me up!); it’s that following the natural order has been so good to me. I eat according to human evolution, I exercise in accordance with my body’s design, and things have generally worked out well. Eating real steak raised the way it was intended to live has also worked out okay. I’ll keep my real meat for now and watch warily from the sidelines, curious and always skeptical.

Both Pohl and Churchill were undoubtedly inspired by Carrel’s experiment, but the prevailing public opinion was that the decades-old chicken heart was an abomination. It still lived when Carrel died, 28 years later, but the experiment was soon halted. If it weren’t for the negative public reaction, that chicken heart might still be pumping today. I suspect the initial public reaction to in vitro meat would be pretty similar, but what do you think?

[poll id=”19″]

If no, what would it take to convince you? Anything? Is there any possible scenario in which in vitro meat is a good thing for this world? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

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112 Comments on "In Vitro Meat"

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Jeremy
Jeremy
7 years 12 hours ago

Are you for real? Seriously…

Diana Renata
7 years 12 hours ago

I’m sorry. It’s just creepy.

Jason
Jason
6 years 11 months ago

I couldn’t agree more. Creep-tastic!

Danny
Danny
7 years 12 hours ago

Mark, I know this is off topic, but I noticed you will be at Catalyst Athletics on Sunday night, then Diablo CF on Monday. Any other dates in Northern Cali in the upcoming weeks? Thanks

Mark Sisson
7 years 9 hours ago

Danny, just those dates for now.

Adam Kayce
7 years 12 hours ago
Where do I stand on the idea of in vitro meat? Well, I’m more than a little skeptical as you might imagine. “Skeptical” isn’t the word that comes to mind for me… “disgusted”? Yeah, that comes closer! I just think of all the times Man has tried to duplicate what Nature has already perfected… and I think we should just let Nature do its job. There are just so many factors that a lab can’t even touch, no matter how hard they try… Besides, isn’t grass-fed meat expensive enough as it is? I can’t imagine test-tube meat being any better,… Read more »
Jon
Jon
7 years 8 hours ago

Theoretically, it could be cheaper because cattle require a lot of grazing land to produce mean. Granted, I think I would let other people experiment with this for a couple of decades before I gave it a try.

Icarus
Icarus
6 years 11 months ago

I’m especially worried about environmental impact. I can’t imagine that growing 500 lbs of meat in a lab is less damaging to the environment than raising a cow on pasture – and with actual cattle you have potential for milk, as well as byproducts like blood, bone and manure for use as fertilizer and skin for use as clothing. The cow wins out, methinks.

I tend to think (or is it hope?) that in vitro meat and hydroponic farms are a futuristic fantasy that will never come to pass.

Jon
Jon
6 years 11 months ago
It’s important to think in terms of the energy cycle. Essentially all food energy comes from the sun. If the sun shines on a path of land over several months, delivering 1000 calories of energy, a plant will soak up something like 30 calories of that solar energy and turn it into chemical energy (i.e., things that can be burned for energy: wood, carbs, fat, protein, etc.). If cattle then eat these plants, they transform this 30 calories into about 3 calories of energy. Therefore, when you eat 3 calories worth of meat, you are “eating” 1000 calories worth of… Read more »
chute
chute
7 years 11 hours ago

Even holding true to the evolutionary theory, which I do not personally accept, the prospect of lab produced meat seems to fly in the face of what drives the developement of our species. Will you be happy to sit in a lounger when they invent an artificial form of excersize?

Mike
Mike
7 years 11 hours ago

“evolutionary theory, which I do not personally accept”

Excuse my rudeness, but why are you here? Mark’s whole philosophy on exercise, diet, and lifestyle are all based on the fact that humans HAVE evolved this way for 100,000+ years.

Kristin J
Kristin J
7 years 11 hours ago

This site offers a dearth of good information, whether or not you accept evolutionary theory. Don’t be a hater!

Mike
Mike
7 years 11 hours ago

Not being a hater. I’m just wondering why someone who is most likely very set in their religious beliefs (which even though I am not, I can respect it, as my parents are both traditional Catholics) is on a blog where evolution is talked about on a weekly (or daily on the forum) basis.

Ed
Ed
7 years 3 hours ago

Hi Kristin,
A minor point–I think you meant “plethora”, not “dearth”, above. These antonyms are sometimes confused.

Cheers!

SG
SG
7 years 10 hours ago
I won’t presume to respond for chute, but as one who also does not recognize evolution as fact but gets this RSS feed daily, I thought I’d share why I personally see no disconnect. From a strict Biblical perspective, humankind has been making bad decisions since Eve listened to the wrong advisor and ate from the tree, Adam followed without questioning and then pushed Eve under the bus, figuratively speaking, when he was asked about it by God. All manner of bad things followed, including death (and the poor health that leads to death). I’ll stop here to avoid starting… Read more »
Mike
Mike
7 years 10 hours ago

Thanks for the response! I, personally, am a huge fan of the “why?” and ask it often about everything, which is why I didn’t quite understand chute being here. The way you put it, though, makes sense!

To each his own. Cheers! 🙂

brad taylor
brad taylor
4 years 10 months ago

if adam and eve created the first baby and he was white, where do black people come from?

Kristin J
Kristin J
7 years 10 hours ago

I rescind my hater comment. I see where you were coming from now. These darn blogs aren’t very good at conveying intent 🙂

Jeromie
Jeromie
6 years 11 months ago

You should read “The greatest show on Earth” by Richard Dawkins. It talks about how Evolution is a fact, provides evidence to it, and how it is not merely a “hypothesis” to evaluate truth falsehood. Evolution is real and anyone who tries to find evidence against it, fails to do so. Every time.

Jon
Jon
7 years 8 hours ago

“Will you be happy to sit in a lounger when they invent an artificial form of excersize?”

You haven’t been following the news. Artificial exercise already exists! (google “exercise in a pill”)

PeterB
PeterB
7 years 11 hours ago

The principal benefit of this kind of research is creating transplant tissue and organs for humans. Lost a leg? Liver given out? No problem we’ll just grow you a new one.

Whilst we are a long way from that, simple things have already been tried. I believe replacement bladder wall tissue but I couldn’t find the link.

As for the meat; I think I’ll pass. If the want people interested they should never have used the phrase “soggy pork”.

P.S. Love the site. Is the book available in Australia? Haven’t seen it in any bookstores here.

Sam
Sam
7 years 11 hours ago

I hope that the purpose of this experiment was not to produce meat for consumption. Sure, this technology could be transferred to regrowing human organs in the future, but if the purpose was to produce food, there is a serious problem with the distribution of research grants. It not only worries me, it sickens me to my stomach.

From a scientific perspective though, this is amazing progress. (I just threw up a little)

gcb
7 years 11 hours ago

At one time, I would have been all for it.

Now, not so much. Not at all, in fact, unless the alternative was soy-based faux-food.

Dan
7 years 11 hours ago
I’d say that I too am “open-minded” about this, but not very hopeful. Open-minded because if they were to do it right and create a meat product that (1) mimics nature and (2) is easy/easier on the environment than traditional farming, then they’ll have gone a long way toward providing what could be a low cost and very healthy way to feed the billions of people on the planet without tons upon tons of grains and the ecological stress that goes with that. My lack of hope comes from the fact that they’re more likely to aim for a low… Read more »
Al
Al
7 years 10 hours ago

Feeding billions of people surely will require tons upon tons of whatever the stuff is made of.

Everything comes from the good mother earth.

Tara
7 years 11 hours ago
Mmm… sheet meat. Uh, no thanks. In vitro anything raises my suspicions. There are things that can’t be quantified or measured. I wouldn’t care if they could run down the nutrient list and produce something that had the same attributes of the real deal. There are just too many things that we just don’t have the knowledge on to start trying to duplicate mother nature. We’re just wee, little peons in this game. I’m with you on the fallout we endure from messing with the natural order of this great, big ball we live on. Blah, count me out.
chute
chute
7 years 11 hours ago

Mike, because I believe when it comes to diet and excersize, the theories of what man was “created” to do or “evolved” to do (depending on your perspective)doesnt change what is profitable for man to do. I dont come here for theology, just advice from a learned man on whats good for my body.

OLDDUDE
OLDDUDE
7 years 11 hours ago

Creepy?Maybe.Stupid?Of course.For those in the creepy camp how do you feel about killing,gutting,skinning, and cutting your own real meat?

Jason
Jason
7 years 11 hours ago

I just gutted an elk and can’t wait for that organic, grass-fed goodness to get dry-aged and in my freezer. I even kept the heart and liver (his liver weighed at least 10 lbs) for some good organ meats. Yes, field dressing an animal is a little bloody, but “cultured meat” is just plain creepy.

For the record, I let a professional game processor cut/grind the meat. I don’t have those skills.

SerialSinner
SerialSinner
7 years 11 hours ago

If we can recreate the nutrient concentrations of the blood and plasma of a grass-fed hervivore, I’m *ALL OVER* those meat sheets.

Kristin J
Kristin J
7 years 11 hours ago

If it was proven to be impossible to devise a test that could distinguish in vitro meat from real grass-fed beef, I would consider it.

Given the “starter culture” method, I’m assuming that the meat would be cloned, which raises an additional set of questions. For instance, what if all the meat we consumed came from the DNA of only 100 animals, or 10, or fewer? Would this impact our immune systems? What about our overall health?

Michael
Michael
7 years 11 hours ago

Would you eat in vitro meat, provided it was completely identical to pastured, organic meat?

In theory yes, can theory be perfectly put into practice? In this case I think no. We humans are smart but in practice we are are imperfect. No way we make it identical no matter how careful we are. We need to recognize where our possible limitations are when we attempt to “play God (nature)”.

Jim Purdy
7 years 11 hours ago

Hmmm … Next time, forget Noah’s Ark.

All we’ll need is Noah’s Hydroponic Lab.

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
7 years 11 hours ago

Speaking of creating low fat meat… have you seen the new low fat avacodoes? They are bred to have less fat in them. They are also about 2-3 times the size of the others. I havn’t had one, and I’m not either. Who wants and avacodo with less fat besides those who aren’t clued in? Like my classical-trainned cook cousin says “fat is flavor”. And as it turns out, a lot of other good things too.

jamesf3i
jamesf3i
6 years 11 months ago

Dammit, the high fat content is why avocados taste good. Reminds me of Texas A&M, I think, breeding a jalapeno pepper without heat.

Cajsa
Cajsa
7 years 10 hours ago

Well said Chute, I second that – and many thanks to the wise man for sharing his knowledge!

In vitro meat…. that’s weird stuff though….

Jeff P
7 years 10 hours ago

So, what would they call this stuff?

N-Meat-Ro?

Meat-us (from Fetus)?

I know they can grow ears from mouse parts for soldiers injured in the Gulf, but eating meat like this doesn’t seem natural.

I’ll pass.

Katie
Katie
7 years 10 hours ago

I can’t even finish reading this!

Grant
Grant
7 years 10 hours ago
Provided it had the same taste and nutirional profile as the types of “natural” meat I already find acceptable, I would absolutely eat in vitro meat. Man survives by the use of his mind. Even the most basic things like hunting, cleaning, and cooking meat are for humans conceptual activities. Unlike animals we are not equipped with the physical characteristics necessary to acquire food. Our minds are our claws and our fangs. We have to understand things abstractly, and then do things like adjust our behavior, camoflauge ourselves, or build weapons in order to hunt. I see growing meat in… Read more »
Bob
Bob
7 years 10 hours ago

I would be quite concerned that the test tube meat would have some subtle differences we didn’t know about that would adversely affect our health and well being.

chute
chute
7 years 10 hours ago

I dont want to get way off topic but the subject does bring up the benefits of local grown sustainable meats as opposed to mass produced corporate foods. I think laboratory produced meat would fall in the latter category. Just a different type of stockyard if you will.It may be cleaner and environmentally less intrusive, but still mass produced by a corporation which by default means my health will be weighed against profitibilty and return on the research and shareholder expectations. I’d rather kill it myself or atleast know the guy who raised it and killed it for me.

kateri
kateri
7 years 10 hours ago

Noting could convince me to eat test tube meat, nothing. Why can’t people just stop messing with nature?

TX CHL Instructor
7 years 9 hours ago

Mark, exactly why are you the least bit concerned about saturated fat? It is much better for you than unsaturated fats, especially those derived from vegetable sources.

Grant
Grant
7 years 9 hours ago

I don’t consider the nutritional benefits of local/”real” foods and the economic benefits of corporate/”fake” foods to be mutually exclusive.

I think that if not for massive government distortions of the food production market and not to mention scientific research (which work symbiotically to make one another worse every day), it would be perfectly possible for high-quality “real” food to be mass-produced.

Growing food in vitro (assuming all of the scientific/nutiritional complications could be overcome) would just be the next step beyond that already far-off step.

pieterfromholland
pieterfromholland
7 years 9 hours ago
I’m all for it. And that’s not because I’m Dutch myself. One of the scientists who worked on it just appeared on a popular television show here in the Netherlands. His name is Mark Post, and he’s a vascular biologist at the University of Eindhoven. In the interview he indicated that the technology is obviously far from ready for real world applications, and that a lot of research and funds would still be required to possibly reach that point. Fortunately, if/when they do get there the technology could be used not only or necessarily to produce meat for consumption; it… Read more »
Ric
Ric
7 years 9 hours ago

Breaking News…..”We have developed a viable in vitro meat product”
McDonalds Executive…” What can we add to make it cheaper and last for years”

🙂

Phil
7 years 9 hours ago

If you could grow meat this way it would give people even less reason to look after the environment.

Phil
7 years 9 hours ago

If you grow human organs this way it would also give people even less reason to look after themselves through adequate diet and exercise.

thecarla
thecarla
6 years 11 months ago

There are a lot of things that cause organ damage besides not eating right and taking care of ourselves. What about toxins? We are creating more and more each day and what about birth defects? What about injuries? What about the government and nutrition establishment advising people to eat foods that are damaging to the body, like grains?

I think growing human organs is great. We have these giant complex brains, using them to save and extend life is a good thing not in same category as “exercise in a pill”.

Geoff
Geoff
7 years 8 hours ago

Know what this post brings to mind???

Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!

Liana
Liana
7 years 1 hour ago

best comment ever.

jamesf3i
jamesf3i
6 years 11 months ago

Uh boy. I had said I would eat the in vitro meat if it was a complete meat but this SOYLENT GREEN comment just made me change my mind.

Mark, I retract my ‘yes’ vote.

Nope, in vitro meat ain’t gonna make it to my grill.

alpowolf
alpowolf
7 years 8 hours ago

I wonder what this meat would cost, particularly if it actually did meet Primal standards.

Aside from the “ick” factor, my distrust of governments comes into play; I can’t imagine that this process would be free from government meddling. Who knows what the result of that would be.

Someone once said, “I’d rather trust a cow than a chemist”. I’m still pretty much in that camp.

Jon
Jon
7 years 7 hours ago
Mark, regarding the following excerpt from the blog post: “And if it’s cheaper than grass-fed meat, easier on the environment than industrial farming, and easy to produce on a mass scale without sacrificing quality, why wouldn’t I support it? Remember: I don’t glorify the ancestral, natural ways because they are ancestral and natural.” Can’t the same argument be made in favor of more traditional veganism? Livestock use something like 10 times the crop land per calorie as plant-based food because they need to run around, stay warm, and generally keep their bodies working, wasting many of the calories from the… Read more »
Jon
Jon
7 years 6 hours ago

BTW, I didn’t mean you’d be restricted to just yeast, algae, and veggies, but yeast is almost all protein and supplies lots of B vitamins (usually supplied by meat), and some algae is rich in long-chain omega-3s, solving a couple of the obvious deficiencies of a vegan diet relative to a primal one (plus palm/coconut oil and other nuts for plenty of fat). It is already clear that some vegans are able to thrive quite well, with long, healthy lives, and probably with 75% less impact on the environment than meat-eaters like me have. Just a thought.

Ross
Ross
6 years 11 months ago
Actually, livestock only use 10 times the cropland per calorie as plant-based food when livestock is fed industrially produced grain. When livestock is raised entirely on pasture, the per-calorie cost is almost even. As a second point, pastured animals can graze on land unavailable for row crops thereby increasing the food-producing land. And even better than that, the livestock grazing and pooping on pasture will almost always increase the amount of topsoil on that pasture where the same amount of plant-based calories from row-crops will dramatically reduce the total topsoil. Modern agriculture is the enemy that you and I should… Read more »
Jon
Jon
6 years 11 months ago
What’s your source on the grazing stat? I think I remember something in the Omnivore’s Dilemma about grazing cattle using slightly less land than grain-fed cattle, but still there was a large factor difference between eating plant-fed livestock and eating the plants directly. This seems like common sense to me because you’re cutting one step out of the food chain. Humans can’t derive energy from the cellulose, like cattle, but we can grow different crops that have a greater percentage of human-available calories. I agree poop makes good fertilizer, but if you’re trying to extract the maximum number of calories… Read more »
Ross Bagley
Ross Bagley
6 years 11 months ago
Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll want to read my reference. It’s “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith. The Polyphase Farm (the same farm in Omnivore’s Dilemma) is indeed the counter-example and they put down about 1″ of new topsoil on their pasture every year with minimal external fertilizer. Polyphase and other similarly integrated farms also produce meat that on a per-calorie basis is only 5% more expensive when measured by fresh water consumption and 10% more expensive when measured by land area. Almost all of the statistics that are part and parcel of the veg*n talking points are based on… Read more »
Jon
Jon
6 years 11 months ago
@Ross, I’m neither a vegan nor a vegetarian. In fact, I believe I eat more meat than the average American. However, my principle reason for doing so is to help ensure health. My understanding from the OD is that Polyface is only more efficient in terms of calories per acre compared to *grain-fed cattle*. Even then, they are similar. The key advantage of pastured beef is soil erosion does not occur and the cattle are healthier. Every source I’ve seen online quotes a ratio of at least 5:1 for plant calories per acre compared to animal calories per acre, and… Read more »
Ross
Ross
6 years 11 months ago
Even a cursory counting of the eggs, chickens, pigs, and cows slaughtered each year on Polyface Farm puts the farm within a 10% caloric yield per acre of modern row crops (and within 5% for fresh water consumption, largely because water consumed by pastured animals hydrates the animal and then irrigates/fertilizes the pasture). The numbers are found in the already mentioned “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith. My copy is on loan, so I can’t look up her numbers, but you could give Joel Saladin a call and ask him. A few questions I have: are you including modern fertilizer… Read more »
Jon
Jon
6 years 11 months ago
I’m assuming the plants are grown organically and sustainably because every credible source I’ve seen suggests that yield does not need to be sacrificed to produce food in this manner as long as the farmer knows how to farm in this way (as opposed to the mindless till, dump-seed, dump-fertilizer, dump pesticide process). I want maximum *sustainable* food production per acre of farm/ranch because holding everything else equal (this includes public health) this enables us to protect more of our disappearing wilderness. It’s also a more conservative approach to the environment I think. With more wild areas, common sense suggests… Read more »
Icarus
Icarus
6 years 11 months ago
The chief environmental problem is overpopulation, period. Producing more food, as veganism promises to do (and I don’t doubt it), would only exacerbate that problem. Humans are like any other animal: increase food supply and you will see an increase in population. In the opposite direction, population CANNOT outstrip food supply. So reduce food production drastically and you will reduce both the number of people and the impact of their food. Unpleasant? Perhaps, but the vegan “solution” is pie-in-the-sky when it promises to INCREASE food supply… which just adds more people. Also, nutritional yeast must be supplemented in order for… Read more »
Jon
Jon
6 years 11 months ago

The question of the size of the population can be separated from how we feed that population. The hope is that the demographics that have exploding populations will soon use family planning to voluntarily control their numbers (this is what happens in all advanced countries on average).

Holding population fixed, the benefit of a more vegan food supply is that we can restore more areas to their pristine wild condition and generally have a lower impact on the planet.

Ross
Ross
6 years 11 months ago
“Holding population fixed, the benefit of a more vegan food supply is that we can restore more areas to their pristine wild condition and generally have a lower impact on the planet.” Um, I’m sorry but this this statement is categorically false. “Vegan” food supplies are substantially more destructive of natural environments than pastured animals in which all calories taken are either animal flesh or animal excretions. You really need to read “The Vegetarian Myth” and soon. Good luck to you. I hope, for the sake of your health and our planet’s future, that you do read Lierre’s book and… Read more »
Jon
Jon
6 years 11 months ago

@Ross

I’m simply saying there’s less wasted calories when you don’t eat the animals. You can still have them there to fertilize and build the soil. You just need less of them if you’re not going to eat them as well as use them to fertilize the soil.

Evan Geiger
Evan Geiger
7 years 7 hours ago

If we did the same thing to meat as we did agriculture, I guess it would make sense. But at the same time, you don’t fight fire with fire.

Therefore, no. I woudn’t upset the natural order

Kat Eden
7 years 6 hours ago
Soggy pork … yum yum, where do I sign up? I don’t know, the whole thing just seems kind of Frankenstein-ish to me. I don’t think I’d be able to trust in-vitro meat even were it ‘proven’ to be completely identical in every way to organic, grass-fed meat. But who knows? Perhaps it will eventually become inevitable, or even a solution to food supply problems. And the reality is that every new idea is first ridiculed, then accepted, and eventually praised. I know 5 years ago I ridiculed the idea of eating fat to lose fat and now I do… Read more »
Derrickson
Derrickson
7 years 3 hours ago
Hey, I am a very conservative Catholic, and I am not the least bit offended by talk of “evolution”. I don’t care how long or short the time was to bring us on this wonderful planet. I just know we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, and we were made to be on top of the food chain! Jason, I process my own deer, and have the skills necessary to do a much larger critter, but not the facilities to do our own grass fed steers here in the SC heat. I did de-bone an old cow for my guardian dogs… Read more »
JW
JW
7 years 1 hour ago

People have been eating it for years, afterall isn’t that what Spam and Spork is, soggy pork with the soggyness pressed out of it 🙂

Liana
Liana
7 years 1 hour ago
It sounds like a new form of frankenfood. I also have feelings against moving away from what is natural. I know you say that you don’t do the primal diet because it’s natural, but to me nature is an important part of it. In my mind, meat comes from living feeling and thinking creatures, and when you eat them you form a relationship with them and what they ate and etc. If you start growing slabs of flesh in a lab then that whole connection is lost. The best meals I’ve ever had were those I caught myself (fish mainly,… Read more »
Chris - Zen to Fitness
6 years 11 months ago

All this modern food makes me wonder whether come 20 years time we will still be able to find real food easily. There is so much FrankenFood which is eaten as a staple by society, makes me think about the demand for rarer varieties of vegetables and fruit.

Here is to hoping that movements like this will kick up demand and show people what is real…..

Great post Mark!

Robin S.
Robin S.
6 years 11 months ago

I think as long as people like us still demand real and organically grown foods they’ll still have to provide it. Just in the last few years all the grocery stores carry SO much more organic stuff, and I think that’s totally about what Americans are demanding from them more and more. We just have to keep making our voices heard and stand up for ourselves and our health. And we have to teach our kids to stay away from frankenfoods, too. Because they’re voices will be the ones the country listens to most 20 years from now!

PrimalK
6 years 11 months ago

I have learned time and again that if my gut instinct is ‘No’ then I should follow it. Every time I don’t listen to my primal reaction, I regret it. And I find that I am even more in tune with my instincts, since turning, er, primal!

So – no. Thanks all the same.

Ellen
Ellen
6 years 11 months ago
There’s no way it could be “identical”. Baby formula was touted for years as “better” than breast milk, until someone “discovered” more and more nutrients in breast milk that the formula companies are now trying to add to formula. Is milk from cows given hormones identical to milk from hormone-free cows? What about GM corn or other foods? Are they the same as non-GM? Cloned meat? I think there are too many things we don’t know how to analyze for yet, and balances of nutrients found in “normal” food that we don’t account for when we start tinkering with things.… Read more »
chima_p
chima_p
6 years 11 months ago

-Mmmm… what is this?

=Soggy Pork.

-Tastes like chicken!

Debbie
Debbie
6 years 11 months ago

I voted YES becaues I’d be willing to try in-vitro meat if it was *completely* identical to the real thing. The problem is that I totally doubt it ever would be or could be. And even if it was possible I’m sure the scientists would mess around with it in attempts to “improve” it that would almost undoubtedly make it worse for our health.

Robin Stange
Robin Stange
6 years 11 months ago
This blog post and the discussions remind me of the story/movie ‘The Island’. This comment contains spoilers about the story, so if you haven’t read/seen it don’t read on please: the people in the story live in a community and once in a while a person gets sent to an ‘island’ which is supposed to be like paradise, and they all look forward to it. Turns out that all these people are just clones that are ‘grown’ for rich people to eventually harvest their organs if and when the rich ‘original version’ of themselves requires it. Then they take what… Read more »
vargas
vargas
6 years 11 months ago

Anyone willing to eat something like this is a damned fool. The track record of scientists and food companies and other entities trying to “perfect” nature is a bad one. Lab food creations like this is why so many people in western societies are so sick. It started with pushing margerine and vegetable oils (poisonous crap made in labs and touted as better than real fats) over natural fats and oils for cooking foods!

This is yet another attempt in a long line of attempts that will result in new diseases for the human family. It isn’t just gross it’s stupid.

thecarla
thecarla
6 years 11 months ago

I would eat it if it were identical to the real thing, with the grass fed component.

I don’t think it is something that will happen soon because of corporate greed. The thought of Kraft or Hormel making my cloned meat makes me kind of queasy.

However in a non-dystopic future in which we would want to preserve the planet and use science in an altruistic way to solve the problems we may face, this may be something that would be palatable literally and figuratively.

kongluirong
6 years 11 months ago
They said that they’re trying to cut carbon emissions from modern animal farming with this in vitro meat. Methinks we need to come up with a sustainable way to raise animals for food, which would include some sort of population control of the whole world. I go several different ways on this issue. My gut instinct is no, because of the sustainability issue that needs to be resolved and because I don’t think that they could make a perfect replica. It’s kind of the whole margarine vs. butter and formula vs. breast feeding thing again. I think the original is… Read more »
OnTheBayou
OnTheBayou
6 years 11 months ago

There are two options if you really believe that everyone should eat Paleo/Primal.

Slash world population by about 3/4 or more, or come up with meat alternatives like this.

You cannot be pro-Paleo for everyone and not accept this paradox. In vitro meat would also eliminate the “moral” component of vegetarianism.

Gut reaction and emotion are damned poor substitutes for logic and fact.

Grant
Grant
6 years 11 months ago

Or, stop giving free food to the undeveloped world – forcing them to get their affairs in order and to create their own self-sufficient economies – and then get rid of all of the laws designating vast swaths of land as off-limits to (many or all types of) human activity.

I envision a world where every major continent is covered with ranch land.

Icarus
Icarus
6 years 11 months ago

I think it’s pretty clear at this point that the world simply can’t sustain a human population of 6.7 billion people without something artificial to prop up that number, like fossil fuels.

Deanna
Deanna
6 years 11 months ago

OnTheBayou, I think you bring up a good point. Our evolution hasn’t caught up with our society’s sense of morality, and nature can’t supply enough food for everyone to eat primally. I’ve thought about this myself. If I had come up with a solution, though, I’m sure I’d have won the Nobel Prize by now.

Jon
Jon
6 years 11 months ago
It’s a classic tragedy of the commons. As an individual, I want to eat primally so I can be as healthy as possible, but I also realize that if everyone ate like that, virtually the entire world would be devoted to producing meat for humans to consume. The solution? I guess eat small animals that are more efficient at turning plants into meat calories, and shave down the meat proportion of your diet some. I wish someone would address this type of conservationist-primal diet. I think it’s worth noting that you can probably get 99.9% of the health benefits of… Read more »
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