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B. Today's Vegetarian Diets Owe A lot To The Past

Narrator: This is Science Today. Recent theories about the importance of meat-eating to human evolution may not sit well with vegetarians. But Katherine Milton, a professor of biological anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, says her research suggesting meat was vital for human development doesn't reflect today's vegetarian diets.

Milton: I'm simply talking about this transition period that we went from being something that wasn't human - that didn't have a big brain, that wasn't dependent on culture as its overall adaptive zone and niche - to fully modern humans with incredible sorts of technologies.

Narrator: Unlike the plant-based diets of our early ancestors, Milton says today's vegetarian diets can be completely adequate, thanks to a modern knowledge of nutrition, as well as traditional food recipes.

Milton: In many different cultures in the world, they take the plant foods in their environment and they work with them over generations until they create these nutritionally balanced diets that keep people healthy and thriving.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.