In the ongoing battle between vegetarians and meat-eaters as to who is most healthy, one of the favorite questions to ask is who grows taller.
Those favoring meat eaters would say that children who have high quality protein available to them will grow taller because the body needs protein to synthesize the new bone and muscle tissue accompanied by growing taller.
The rest of the argument would be that because the amino acid composition of meat is closer to what the body needs, eating meat makes it easier for the body to choose the appropriate amino acid sequences without having to combine anything.
In other words, eating meat saves the body one step of work.
Another argument for the meat eaters growing taller would be that high quality protein eating provides all the trace elements and minerals needed, in an assimilable form.
Once again, this saves the body from having to change forms of minerals to ones more appropriate for what is needed for height increase.
Vegetarians Say They Grow Taller
The vegetarians would say that children who are vegetarian are eating closer to nature. After all, look at the apes who we descended from.
They consume pounds of raw fruits and vegetables daily and they grow big and strong. They didn’t eat meat.
This argument of course is flawed from the start, as there is much evidence against evolution as there is for it. Plus the fact that humans are carnivores while apes are not meant to eat meat.
The secondary argument for those who are vegetarian is that the vitamins and minerals in plants are better suited for allowing the body to perform all its functions, including growing taller. But again, it’s a leap of faith to say this without having any scientific evidence.
And if you look at the people you know who are vegetarians, it’s a little rare that they will be tall. They may be leaner, but generally don’t seem to be amongst the tallest in the population.
California Researchers Set Up A Study: Meat Eaters vs. Vegetarians
Back in 1991 at the Department of Epidemiology at Lomo Linda University at the School of Public Health in California, four researchers – J. Sabate, K.D. Lindsted, R.D. Harris, and A. Sanchez decided to see what was causing children to grow taller from a diet perspective.
They found two populations – one which was a Seventh-Day Adventist school of 870 children aged between 7 and 18 years old, and the other, a state school with 870 children of the same ages.
They thought these populations were perfect to examine to see who could grow taller because the major difference in diets of the children was that those at the Seventh Day Adventist school ate a lot less meat than students at the state school.
More specifically, the Adventist children ate meat less than once a week. They were vegetarians.
Thus, the researchers believed they were testing the effect of a vegetarian diet versus a meat containing diet of children and its impact on growing taller.
On average, the Adventist vegetarian children were 2.5 centimeters taller than their meat-consuming classmates who only grew 2.0 centimeters during the time of the study.
The researchers at Lomo Linda University concluded that vegetarian children and adolescents were at least as tall as those children who ate a diet containing meat.
Always Analyze The Research With A Let’s See Attitude
But before you also accept the researchers’ conclusions, it’s important to put on a critical hat and see if there was any possible flaw in the study. This is important since so many studies are flawed when it comes to the topic of diet.
Conclusions that should never be made get made all the time.
For example, researchers will decide on testing whether a supplement works on a population of hundreds of people without testing to see who was deficient in that supplement first!
In this case, we see that there was a flaw from the start. It’s possible that the researchers didn’t understand that Seventh Day Adventists may not eat meat but they do consume eggs and milk products.
They are considered lacto-ovo vegetarians and that makes a big difference when you’re trying to determine who can grow taller.
This is because there’s a connection between the consumption of milk and the elongation of bones. Drinking a lot of milk in early life is related to growing taller.
So as you see, this research is one more example of research that doesn’t really tell us much – and possibly has wasted a lot of time and a lot of people’s time.
Or is it? We did learn that the Adventist children who probably drink more milk than the meat eaters did grow taller.
If you want to grow taller, drink milk. That’s the bottom line.