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Sorry, ‘The Last of Us’ fans cannibalism just isn’t that nutritious … – msnNOW

Mar 13th, 2023

Daniel Day/Getty Images Sources of meat like cows, bison, or even birds or fish are more nutritionally efficient than cannibalism. Daniel Day/Getty Images

Fans of the post-apocalyptic drama "The Last of Us" came face-to-face with the moral quandary of eating flesh in episode eight, which depicts a group of survivors secretly killing and consuming unwary travelers to keep themselves alive.

But beyond the ethical problems cannibalism may pose, dining on other people, especially aftercovertly murdering and butchering them, just isn't a very viable diet strategy, said James Cole, principal lecturer in archaeology at the University of Brighton and the author of a detailed rundown on the caloric value of cannibalism.

Eggs are often a nutritional lightning rod, with contradictory advice and cyclical concerns about whether their high fat content may affect heart health.

But the current evidence is solid that eggs can be safely eaten as part of a healthy diet, and that they offer plenty of nutritional benefits.

This week, a false claim has been spreading fast on the internet, incorrectly blaming eggs for a rise in sudden blood clots.The rumor appears to come from a misinterpretation of a 2017 Cleveland Clinic study. That misinterpretation started to gain even more traction online after Joe Rogan shared a screenshot of an article about the theory on Instagram. The researchers of the Cleveland Clinic study have since spoken out to emphasize that the study does not show a direct link between eating eggs and the sudden formation of blood clots,Reutersreported.

The biggest potential risk of eating eggs right now is to your wallet, as egg prices have skyrocketed.

There are still good reasons to include them in moderation as part of a healthy diet, thanks to major nutritional benefits for your brain, immune system, and muscle health.

Eggs have sometimes been controversial in media and popular health advice because they're high in fat, prompting fears that they could spike cholesterol levels or weight gain.

However, research suggests that most people have little cause for concern. Eggs are high in cholesterol, but may actually contribute to healthy levels of cholesterol in your blood, studies suggest.

As a result, dietitians say it's perfectly healthy to eat eggs regularly, and they're also a rich source of nutrition.

If you are concerned about cholesterol or have risk factors like diabetes, one alternative is to aim to eat no more than one egg a day, on average, or eat just the egg white, which is high-protein and low in fat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

A major benefit of eating eggs is that they're a convenient source of protein, which can help with building muscle and regulating appetite.

One large egg contains 6 grams of protein, and about 78 calories, according to the USDA.

Protein is an important nutrient for repairing tissue, and is essential for helping muscles build back bigger and stronger after exercise. It can also help maintain muscle.

Getting enough protein can also help with weight loss, since protein-rich foods can make you feel fuller for longer, and also boost metabolism.

Eggs can help support brain health, since they're rich in a nutrient called choline, also found in lean meat, nuts, and some green vegetables.

Choline is essential for your nervous system, influencing mood and memory, and most people don't get enough of it, according to the National Institutes of Health.

It's particularly important during pregnancy, and for infants and children, since the nutrient is important for healthy growth and may help reduce the risk of developmental issues.

Dietitians often recommend eggs as an accessible source of many nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin D, and vitamin E.

Eggs are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, which is important for strong bones and a healthy immune system, with one egg providing about 16% of the daily recommended amount.

A single egg also packs more than 20% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin B12, which is important for maintaining red blood cells and nerve cells.

You can also eat eggs to get more vitamin E, an antioxidant for better brain and skin health, and the fat from eggs helps with absorbing the nutrient.

Other nutrients found in eggs include iron, selenium, and zinc.

Iron is important for blood health, and a lack of it in your diet can lead to side effects like fatigue, chills, and irregular heart beat.

Selenium helps regulate hormones and support the immune system, and one egg offers 28% of your daily recommended dose.

Zinc plays a role in immune system health, too, as well as in mood and memory.

Eggs also contain trace amounts of other minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium.


"There's nothing particularly nutritious about us,"he told Insider."Compared to other animals, we're not an efficient food source because we're not a very big animal. You'd get much more protein and fat from wild game."

Preying on your peers also has significantly higher risks than stalking animals,since you typically don't have to worry about deer or boar packing a firearm, for instance, and they're less likely to outwit you.

"A person isn't going to be a passive victim. They'll likely fight back," Cole said.

The archaeological record does show some examples of early humans (and human relatives like Neanderthals) cannibalizing outsiders, although we don't know if motives were social, opportunistic, or something else.

As a proactive tactic for sustaining a community,cannibalism doesn't make much sense, according to Cole.

"For a long-term food strategy, you're much better off raising pigs or cows. They just give you a bigger return from a calorie perspective," he said.

Cole's initial interest in nutritional cannibalism was to help himdemonstrate that Paleolithic cannibals may have had cultural, notdietary, reasons for eating each other. To this end, he wanted to show that humans were relatively unattractive food choices in the face of other hunting options like bison or deer. He calculated roughly how many calories a human body could provide using body composition data on four male adults from previous research from the 1950s, since obtaining new data would be ethically and logistically difficult.

The average muscle mass of an adult man would provide 32,375 calories worth of protein, Cole calculated. That's enough to feed a group of 25 adultsfor half a day. In comparison, a cow would feed the same group for 3 days, and a bison for 10 days.

At that rate, you'd need to consistently hunt more than a dozen people a week to keep everyone fed.

"It might be the occasional short-term opportunity if someone in your group died and you didn't need to go out hunting that day, but not a regular sustenance vehicle, particularly in a post-apocalyptic world where conditions are presumably very tough and harsh," Cole said.

But your dining options aren't limited to muscle, and historically, cannibals have also taken advantage of organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys, fat tissue, and even bones. You could consume as many as 125,000 calories per human body this way, and slightly more if you wanted to wring every last bit of nutrients out of the human body, including skin and teeth, according to Cole's calculations.

Eating nose-to-tail on a human does come with some additional safety concerns, though neurodegenerative conditions like Creutzfeldt-Jakob (otherwise known as Mad Cow) disease, can be contracted by consuming diseased brains, for example.

The post-apocalyptic wasteland environment would also reduce the potential nutritional benefits of human prey even more, according to Cole.

"In a scenario where your ability to feed yourself is sporadic, and the quality of that food is sporadic, that will impact your fat reserves and muscle density," he said.

If circumstances are dire enough that cannibalism becomes a matter of life or death, his calculations did reveal a clear winner in the body part you should dig into first. The thighs have the most promising reserves of fat and muscle tissue, about 13,350 calories worth, combined.

But Cole doesn't recommend it, overall.

'Probably only engage in that activity if it's a question of survival, otherwise just leave each other alone," he said.

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Sorry, 'The Last of Us' fans cannibalism just isn't that nutritious ... - msnNOW

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