Why can’t human live on grass, and animals can?

You probably wonder about this topic. You have seen grass everywhere you go. You have seen many animals live on grass like cows, goats, sheep, etc. Cows, goats, sheep, etc looks healthy and well nourished living in the grass. Although it is well-known facts that humans can thrive on a totally vegetarian diet, eat grass, and unfortunately, wouldn’t do much for us humans. So the question is ‘Why we humans can’t eat grass and cows, goat and other ruminants can do?’


Cellulose is a complex carbohydrate that makes up most of a plant’s cell walls. It consists of a linear chain of several hundred to many thousands of glucose units known as polysaccharides that plants use to build their walls. Cellulose is present in basically all plants, like spinach, kale, and grass. Most of the plants we eat have some nutrients we can digest. But grass is basically all cellulose, which is indigestible for humans.

Grass, leaves, and other plant materials provide plenty of metabolic energy for cows, goats, sheep and other ruminants and they have four chamber stomach match to break down the complex food called callous given out by the grass. We humans do not have such stomachs. That means grass doesn’t break down in our guts. If we eat a lot of it, we’ll most likely vomit or have diarrhea. At a minimum, we’ll just pass it out undigested. Eating grass is not good for human teeth. Grass contains a lot of silica, the main ingredient in many rocks including quartz and sandstone. If you Eat enough grass, and it will wear away the enamel on your teeth. Cows, goats, and sheep don’t have this problem. Among other dental attributes, they chew grass in a side-to-side motion. Their molars shred the plant into tiny bits, which makes it easy to digest. Ruminants also have teeth that are always growing. That means they can replace the worn-out surface rather quickly. But in order to digest the cellulose that forms a large part of the fiber in our diets, we need a specific enzyme called cellobiase which we don’t have.  It’s produced, however, in the digestive system of animals like cows, which harbor the micro-organisms that are able to make it.  Although we can’t digest cellulose, we still need to include foods rich in fiber because it seems to reduce the risk of some cancers.


Further reading on (Sparkonit).

If you’re interested, you can watch the video below for further knowledge.


Categories: Biology

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