Are You Predator or Prey?

This may seem like an odd question to consider, but are you predator or prey?

To answer this question, I want you to take a moment and think about an animal that is a predator (most people pick lions, tigers, wolves, cheetahs, or sharks). Once you have a picture of the predator in your mind, I then I want you to think about an animal that is prey (once again, most people pick cows, buffalo, antelope, deer or smaller game like chickens or rabbits).

tiger cow

When you think about these two different classes of animals, you can see that they are clearly different. As you picture these animals in your mind, here is what you might have noticed:

  • The predators have eyes in the front of their heads. Most animals that hunt have eyes in the front of their heads (think about your tigers, sharks and lions). But even animals like monkeys, apes, and rats have eyes in the front of their head because they have to search out their food.
  • Prey, on the other hand, have eyes on the sides of their heads (deer, chickens, rabbits…). Animals that are prey have to look out for attacks and need a fuller view of the world than those that are hunting. Most prey don’t have to look too far for their food, they graze on what is below their feet (grasses).
  • Most predators are skinny because they eat fat and protein.
  • Most prey are fat because they eat carbohydrates (grasses).

After reading that, where do you think you fall?

Humans are, of course, able to eat a lot of different foods, but the problem is that many of us mistakenly eat the foods of prey and we (of course) end up looking like prey.

When you look at a human, you also notice a few other things about them:

  • We have stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) and the only job that hydrochloric acid has in our bodies is to break protein bonds (the bonds that hold together proteins). Protein is only found in large quantities in meat and nuts.
  • Our gallbladder produce bile which saponifies (breaks up) fats and fats are only found in large amounts in meats.
  • Meat is the only good source of vitamin B12 (an essential nutrient).

There are great reasons to consider yourself a predator and focus on the foods that a predator eats and the more that you can do this, the healthier you will be.


  1. Hi Dr Scott,

    What is the shape of your molars?
    Are they shaped for grinding or for cutting?
    Predators typically have their molars shaped for cutting.
    “Prey” have flat surfaces on their molars and use them for grinding.

    All animals digest some amount of both proteins and fats
    so your argument about stomach acid and bile makes no
    sense what so ever.

    Plants do not contain B12 themselves. But there is bacteria ilving on plants that contain B12. That is how
    wild herbivores get their B12. Since humans tend to remove bacteria from food we do not get B12 that way.
    But it can easily be obtained from supplements.


    1. Hi John,

      Humans have both teeth for grinding and teeth for tearing flesh – putting us squarely in the omnivore family. The acid that humans have in their stomach is some of the strongest in the animal kingdom. Stomach acid plays one role in the body: it (along with digestive enzymes) breaks protein bonds. Bile aids in the digestion of fats.

      In truth, we may never know what is the optimal foods are for humans, but looking at our bodies places us (at least) in the omnivore category. Can some people survive on an all-vegetable diet? Yes, but I just don’t feel it is optimal for most humans.

      Dr. Scott

  2. So, why is it we don’t need so much meat if it seems what you are saying is that our body is mostly geared towards eating it?

    1. Great question. The answer lies in the natural world. When hunting, there are good day and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, good months and bad months. The question to ask is what did people eat when game was scarce. The answer is that they didn’t eat (fasted), or they ate vegetables. In our world, vegetables are a source of nutrients not found in meat that are very beneficial to our body. I wouldn’t worry about eating too much meat, but would also focus on eating as many vegetables as I could.

      Dr. Scott

  3. Hi again,

    If we are predators then why do we not manufacture our own Vitamin C? All predators make their own and in relatively high amounts.


    1. Vaughan,

      The list of animals that cannot produce vitamin C some tarsiers, monkeys, apes, bats, capybaras and guinea pigs. All of these are omnivores and consume both plants and meat. You are right, though, we still need to get plenty of vitamin C in our diets by eating enough fruits and vegetables that contain the vitamin.

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