Kids simply need meat to grow to their full potential. Physically, they get bigger and stronger than if they’re raised on a vegan diet. But high quality meat is also hugely important for brain development. In fact, eating meat is what allowed ancient hominids to grow bigger brains and evolve into modern-day humans. It’s no surprise that as kids’ brains are growing, they need this nutrient rich source of brain builders. There’s evidence that on a meatless diet, kids grow up to be less intelligent than those that are given meat.
1. Studies Show That Meat Eating Kids Grow Stronger & Smarter
There’s so many benefits of meat for kids that some specialists argue that withholding meat and dairy from children is unethical. A study done on muscle mass in children showed that the group given meat gained 80% more arm muscle than the vegan group, while the kids who were given only dairy gained 40% bigger muscles than the plant-based group. The meat group also outperformed the others in assessments of intelligence, math and critical thinking. These effects are due to the rich vitamin, mineral, protein and healthy fat content of meat. Good quality meat contains so many nutrients that benefit growing bodies, it should be considered a superfood.
Also Read: Why Organ Meats Are Amazing
2. Supplements Don’t Provide The Same Benefits
Furthermore, research shows that supplements just don’t give the same benefits. Kids that were deficient in iron, zinc and B12 did not see complete turnaround of associated issues when given supplements. Our bodies were designed to absorb nutrients from whole foods and synthetic supplements simply can’t replicate these effects. Whole foods are the most bioavailable source of vitamins, minerals and proteins meaning our bodies absorb them in these forms most efficiently. No matter how carefully a supplement might be created in a lab, it’s just not possible for it to compare to the way that mother nature designs these nutrients to be available to us for consumption.
3. Meat Prevents Harmful Vitamin Deficiencies
Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most commonly discussed side effects of eliminating meat from the diet. This vitamin is vital for the central nervous system to function properly, as well as the immune system. It also helps form red blood cells and turns food into energy. Vitamin B12 is necessary in order to form DNA and RNA for the creation of new cells, allowing kids’ bodies to grow. When children are raised vegan from birth, even if they later begin consuming animal products they remain deficient in B12 for years after.
Vitamin D is virtually impossible to receive from a vegan diet and only small amounts are absorbed on most vegetarian diets. Adequate amounts of vitamin D are critical for children to grow healthy bones. Kids triple in height (or more) from infancy to adulthood, which is why bone growth requires so much fuel. During babies’ first year of life, their bone mass actually doubles. Even when vegetarian kids receive adequate calcium, they have an increased risk of impaired bone growth and lower bone density during adolescence compared to kids who eat omnivorous diets.
4. Kids Are Particularly Susceptible To Iron Deficiency
Kids are more prone to iron deficiency than any other nutrient, and it’s much more common for children who don’t eat meat. It’s an important component of hemoglobin, the component of red blood cells that dutifully carries oxygen from the lungs to the bloodstream. Kids need lots of iron, the amounts varying as they progress through different stages of growth. Most people who eat red meat are not deficient in iron. Vegetarian kids also tend to be deficient in vitamin A and zinc. High quality grass-fed meat is a richer source of these minerals than conventional factory farmed meat. Iron is an absolutely essential mineral for our bodies, and necessary for proper brain function.
Iron deficiency can be the cause of many issues with brain development from cognitive function to language and motor skills. In fact, studies have shown that children with low iron levels tend to score lower on standardized tests in schools. Increasing iron intake has been shown to result in improvements with children that have been diagnosed with ADHD. Eating enough iron helps to prevent oxidative stress in the brain. People with iron deficiencies often report fatigue and brain fog. Most of us can relate to not feeling as mentally sharp when we feel tired, and if you’re constantly feeling fatigued there could be a general decline in cognitive performance