I’m trying to be optimistic here

Here’s this chart of the caloric value of cannibalism.

The article tries to spin this negatively — as a game animal, humans are a very poor return on the investment of effort in hunting them. As a cheerful optimist with a sunny disposition, however, I prefer to put this in a good light: if you are on a diet and trying to lose weight, then cannibalism might just be the perfect weight loss plan for you.

Basically, if you’re eating kale regularly, you might as well try switching things up a bit.


  1. bachfiend says

    As a longtime cannibal, I find skeletal muscle very difficult to digest. I have to cook it for long periods of time, so actually the lower skeletal muscle level of humans compared to other game animals isn’t a negative for me.

    Now fat (yum yum) is very easily digested, requiring little cooking. And most humans have a lot of fat, so actually they’re very nutritious.

    As an aside, most animals are hunting for calories, not protein. Once they get sufficient calories, then they can go hunting for protein.

  2. Dunc says

    Why are they only looking at muscle? Fat, bone marrow and organs are very nutritious.

  3. vucodlak says

    But there’s more to nutrition than simple caloric content, and there’s more to eat than just muscular tissue.

    I’ve heard from a certain doctor (a fellow with a very pleasant demeanor, I might add) that the human liver makes a most satisfactory meal, with fava beans and a nice chianti.

  4. says

    China has issued warnings that nuclear war is looming, so you’ll be able to get your people crispy crittered. How much value in charcoal?

  5. microraptor says

    How do humans compare to other predators and omnivores like bears, lions, or wolves?

  6. Ed Seedhouse says

    But in these fast food days humans contain lots of high energy delicious trans fats. Yum!

  7. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin says Doigts du vendeur de fromage criant can be a tasty accompaniment to the cheese.

  8. Rey Fox says

    Do we have any similar studies on caloric value of humans measured against their net financial worth? I mean, no matter what, the upper 1% is not going to be that big a meal for everyone else, but there are extenuating circumstances at play here.

  9. naturalcynic says

    There’s also the most nutritious part. BRAAAAINS. There may only be 2-1/2 to 3 pounds, but my they’re tasty, don’t you think so, Clarisse? And zombies, they’re not so dumb – they go for the best part.
    Just like grizzly bears go for the salmon belly fat and leave the muscle for the eagles and ravens.
    Since fat has 9 cal/gram and protein has only 4 cal/gram while adipose tissue is >90% fat and muscle is only ~30% protein and most of the rest is water [same for the liver], one could go for a lot longer on a chubby human than a deer of about twice the human’s weight. [average American is 25-35% fat]
    Unfortunately, in most situations when humans become cannibals, there’s probably a lot less fat on the victim.

  10. numerobis says

    The wooly mammoth weighed 6,614 lbs but numbers are rounded and approximate?

    This entire chart seems wrong-headed.

  11. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    So in other words, the new version of Trumpcare doesn’t make economic sense either?

  12. Larry says

    With all the preservatives, nitrates, and other chemicals in our food today, I imagine human meat is not only not very nutritious but is probably bad for you, as well.

  13. robro says

    What sort of atheists are you guys? You’re only thinking of adult humans. What about the babies!? Young, tender, not fully developed bones.

    Anyway, I doubt ancient humans had the luxury of being picky. Also, perhaps they weren’t eating other humans for calories or protein, but to absorb the soul of their enemy.

    Larry — “With all the preservatives, nitrates, and other chemicals…” Not problem if they’re raised organic.

  14. cedrus says

    Would a Stone Age hominid really be that fatty? And even if they were, wouldn’t that make them even more calorie-rich, and therefore useful (and delicious)?

    I could certainly believe that, calorie for calorie, it would be more trouble to hunt a human than a woolly mammoth. They don’t call humans “the most dangerous game” for nothing. But muscle isn’t the only variable – otherwise, we’d need a good deal more security at bodybuilding events, lest the cannibals literally steal the show…

  15. handsomemrtoad says

    Flanders and Swann:

    “But people have always eaten people!
    What else is there to eat?
    If the Ju-Ju had meant us not to eat people,
    He wouldn’t have made us of meat!”

  16. weatherwax says

    We may not have a particularly high caloric content, but we’re easy prey for any predator close to our size or larger. Our senses aren’t as keen as most game animals, and we aren’t as fast. Catch us alone or in too small a group, and we’re just a snack.

  17. Rich Woods says

    @weatherwax #20:

    but we’re easy prey for any predator close to our size or larger

    But back in the days before we’d killed off most of those predators nearby, we had a tendency not to leave home without a spear or a bow. Even when alone, those weapons gave us the advantage over all except a few ambush predators such as leopards and crocodiles. Now here we are.

  18. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    There’s also the most nutritious part. BRAAAAINS.

    I recommend Trump voters’ brains. Same principle as crated veal’s muscles, and with far less cruelty since it’s entirely voluntary.

  19. Cuttlefish says

    In a time and place of plenty
    In a calm and placid mood
    There are things we take for granted
    Like a sure supply of food

    But when everything collapses—
    When the shit has hit the fan—
    Since it’s hard to love starvation,
    Time to love your fellow man.

    There are tasty meals aplenty
    If you just know where to search—
    You can find a lot of protein
    Taking shelter at a church

    But those herds won’t last forever
    Months, at most, before they’re dead
    If you want to last the season
    Then you’ve got to plan ahead

    There’s a longer lasting food source
    In the market, midst the cans
    Where defense of rich resources
    Is the basis of their plans

    They’ll be staking out the aisles,
    And they’ll booby-trap the shelves
    But they don’t expect a hunter
    That is after…well…themselves

    Their attention is divided
    As they guard their precious store
    They neglect a different danger
    And I’ve recipes galore

    After them will be the preppers
    Whose supplies are truly vast
    They should hold out for a long while
    So I’m saving them for last

    They’ll be packing up their bug-out bags,
    Preparing for their fate…
    As they’re setting out for safety,
    I’ll be setting out my bait.


    numerous @#14– convert to kilograms, and it’s a much rounder number. Translating for Americans often makes numbers stupid.

  20. blf says

    convert to kilograms

    Thanks for explaining where that (and the other) bizarrely specific values came from. It should have dawned on me, but I was too distracted by the cheesemonger’s screams & curses to work it out. (She was quite tasty, b.t.w., dipped in a fondue sauce of her own cheeses, with a selection of decent, yet quite modest, French vins rouge.)

  21. says

    Rich Woods @22

    Great. Now the gun fondlers have a new excuse.

    It’s one I could accept though if it went as such – “I only carry it when hiking through the wilderness or in cities full of cannibals. Otherwise I keep it unloaded and locked in a secure safe at home.”