Grace Carlson Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Grace Carlson

SWP Election Tour

Meat in the Diet

(21 March 1949)

From The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 12, 21 March 1949, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Despite the conviction of George Bernard Shaw and thousands of other food faddists that a vegetarian diet promotes health and prolongs life, there is no scientific proof of this position. Rather, the scientific evidence is on the side of the meat eaters.

In the first place, it is necessary to define a vegetarian diet. Many so-called vegetarians eat eggs and milk as well as fruit, vegetables and nuts. Others include breads and pastries made with animal fats. Both of these deviations remove their dietary supporters from the strictly vegetarian lists.

Experiments with 100% vegetarian diets have shown that they do not supply all of the essential nutritional elements. Because of the possibility of maintaining strict laboratory controls over ... their subjects, most nutrition experts have carried on their experiments with white rats. Most thorough and careful of these experiments on meat versus vegetarian diets was performed at the University of Chicago last year by Drs. Anton Carlson and F. Hoelzel.

(In addition to his distinguished record as part president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and as a leading physiologist for over three decades, 74-year old Dr. Anton Carlson has joined with the Kutcher Civil Rights Committee in opposing the government program of “thought control.”)

Drs. Carlson and Hoelzel performed two experiments on the diets of white rats. In the first experiment, the rats, which received the omnivorous diet (including meat) reached weights 30 to 35% higher than their parents. But the rats placed on a strictly vegetarian diet weighed less than did their parents.

In the second experiment, the rats were of more uniform heredity. Carlson and Hoelzel found that these animals simply could not live on the vegetarian diet. Accordingly, seven of the original thirteen vegetarians were transferred to the omnivorous diet before they were 200 days old and the remaining six to the omnivorous diet before they were 345 days old. Before they were transferred to the omnivorous diet, the vegetarians weighed considerably less than the rats receiving meat diets.

Carlson and Hoelzel attribute the increased rate of growth on an omnivorous diet to the high content of animal protein and fat and the low amount of roughage in this diet as compared with the vegetarian diet.

And now that we know for sure that meat is an essential in the diet, the only problem left for the experimenters to work on is to discover how workers can introduce enough meat into their diets at today’s high prices!

Grace Carlson Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers’ Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 7 March 2024