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NPR - Humans Are 'Meathooked' But Not Designed For Meat-Eating

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I encounter claims that humans were designed to eat meat — that it's in our genes, that we have teeth made for eating meat, that we need meat to get all the right nutrients — all the time in casual conversation and in media in stronger and weaker versions.

In Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat, science writer Marta Zaraska does a great job of exposing these claims as myths.

Vegetarian animals ranging from gorillas to water deer, she reports, have bigger, sharper canines than we do; our canines aren't specially meant for processing meat. What we lack dentally is more important, in fact, than what we have. Gently open a (calm) dog's jaw, and there at the back will be the carnassial teeth, "blade-like and sharp and perfect for slicing meat." Lions and tigers, racoons and house cats — all carnivores — have them too. We don't.

Humans Are 'Meathooked' But Not Designed For Meat-Eating : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR
 
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"According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2011 we ate an average of sixty-one pounds more of meat than we did in 1951—that's about 122 average eight-ounce steaks a year more, despite all the accumulating warnings about cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. ... Across the world, the appetite for animal protein is on the rise. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that by 2020 the demand for meat in North America will increase by 8 percent (as compared to 2011), in Europe by 7 percent, and in Asia by a whopping 56 percent. In China, meat consumption has quadrupled since 1980."
 

Hawkeye10

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"According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2011 we ate an average of sixty-one pounds more of meat than we did in 1951—that's about 122 average eight-ounce steaks a year more, despite all the accumulating warnings about cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. ... Across the world, the appetite for animal protein is on the rise. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that by 2020 the demand for meat in North America will increase by 8 percent (as compared to 2011), in Europe by 7 percent, and in Asia by a whopping 56 percent. In China, meat consumption has quadrupled since 1980."

Humans like meat, and will eat it if they can get it, is what I take away from that. I am not thinking that anti meat politics will get any further that anti sex politics do.
 
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Humans like meat, and will eat it if they can get it, is what I take away from that. I am not thinking that anti meat politics will get any further that anti sex politics do.

they used to say the same thing about smoking and heavy drinking
 

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I encounter claims that humans were designed to eat meat — that it's in our genes, that we have teeth made for eating meat, that we need meat to get all the right nutrients — all the time in casual conversation and in media in stronger and weaker versions.

In Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat, science writer Marta Zaraska does a great job of exposing these claims as myths.

Vegetarian animals ranging from gorillas to water deer, she reports, have bigger, sharper canines than we do; our canines aren't specially meant for processing meat. What we lack dentally is more important, in fact, than what we have. Gently open a (calm) dog's jaw, and there at the back will be the carnassial teeth, "blade-like and sharp and perfect for slicing meat." Lions and tigers, racoons and house cats — all carnivores — have them too. We don't.

Humans Are 'Meathooked' But Not Designed For Meat-Eating : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

"There is one thing every vegetarian has to face every goddamn day that they're eating vegetables: Eggplant tastes like eggplant, but meat tastes like murder, and murder tastes pretty goddamn good" -Denis Leary
 

Hawkeye10

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they used to say the same thing about smoking and heavy drinking

My information is that even with all of the increased taxes , drunk driving laws, lowering the BAC , and anti drinking PSA's drinking is down only 15% from the 1983 peak, and has been rising for several years.

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/surveillance98/CONS12.htm

Smoking is down more I think, and the anti smoking laws have been more extreme, but then again a lot of more of us are smoking pot so who knows. In both cases though we are talking about decades of extreme criminalization and increased taxation, I think the really interesting thing is how little the needle has moved in the face of the government and all of its power running against consumption.
 

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My information is that even with all of the increased taxes , drunk driving laws, lowering the BAC , and anti drinking PSA's drinking is down only 15% from the 1983 peak, and has been rising for several years.

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/surveillance98/CONS12.htm

Smoking is down more I think, and the anti smoking laws have been more extreme, but then again a lot of more of us are smoking pot so who knows. In both cases though we are talking about decades of extreme criminalization and increased taxation, I think the really interesting thing is how little the needle has moved in the face of the government and all of its power running against consumption.

Wtf are you babbling about, alcohol taxes are almost non-existent and I don't think I have ever seen an anti drinking PSA.
 

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Humans are evolved, not designed, and are omnivorous.
 

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Wtf are you babbling about, alcohol taxes are almost non-existent and I don't think I have ever seen an anti drinking PSA.

I am talking about the almost $10 billion in tax on hard alcohol, and $15 billion on beer and wine. I dont watch much TV anymore hardly but I do know that PSA's used to be all over the tube, and I see them in most ads for alcohol "please drink responsibly" at bare minimum.
 

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I am talking about the almost $10 billion in tax on hard alcohol, and $15 billion on beer and wine. I dont watch much TV anymore hardly but I do know that PSA's used to be all over the tube, and I see them in most ads for alcohol "please drink responsibly" at bare minimum.

After promising that drinking beer will get you with a group full of hot cheerleaders that tiny text doesn't mean much at all.

As for the tax it's about 20 cents a 12 pack of beer or a dollar a bottle of liquor, hardly anything that would make people think twice about spending money on it.
 

Sherman123

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I encounter claims that humans were designed to eat meat — that it's in our genes, that we have teeth made for eating meat, that we need meat to get all the right nutrients — all the time in casual conversation and in media in stronger and weaker versions.

In Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat, science writer Marta Zaraska does a great job of exposing these claims as myths.

Vegetarian animals ranging from gorillas to water deer, she reports, have bigger, sharper canines than we do; our canines aren't specially meant for processing meat. What we lack dentally is more important, in fact, than what we have. Gently open a (calm) dog's jaw, and there at the back will be the carnassial teeth, "blade-like and sharp and perfect for slicing meat." Lions and tigers, racoons and house cats — all carnivores — have them too. We don't.

Humans Are 'Meathooked' But Not Designed For Meat-Eating : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

Eating meat is almost certainly what allowed the sudden growth of our brains a quarter million to two million years ago. Without a reliable source of eggs or other forms of dairy which in B9 and B12 vitamins humanity relied almost exclusively on meat, especially cooked meat, to fulfill that desire which in turn allowed for the acceleration of our brains development. Furthermore in tandem with this we developed enzymes capable of more efficient digestion of meat whose consumption aided higher encephalization and better physical growth. Most evolutionary scientists also believe there is a close link between our adaption to eating meat, the shrinkage of our gut, the increased selection for bipedalism, and of course language related to the need to communicate on the hunt. Its also indisputable that the human digestive tract evolved for us to be omnivores, and its further indisputable that this happened in large part because of the adaptive benefit of consuming flesh.

Are we 'designed' to be carnivores? No. Are we omnivores with a health biological and cultural inclination towards eating meat? Definitely.
 

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I encounter claims that humans were designed to eat meat — that it's in our genes, that we have teeth made for eating meat, that we need meat to get all the right nutrients — all the time in casual conversation and in media in stronger and weaker versions.

In Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat, science writer Marta Zaraska does a great job of exposing these claims as myths.

Vegetarian animals ranging from gorillas to water deer, she reports, have bigger, sharper canines than we do; our canines aren't specially meant for processing meat. What we lack dentally is more important, in fact, than what we have. Gently open a (calm) dog's jaw, and there at the back will be the carnassial teeth, "blade-like and sharp and perfect for slicing meat." Lions and tigers, racoons and house cats — all carnivores — have them too. We don't.

Humans Are 'Meathooked' But Not Designed For Meat-Eating : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

A decent troll attempt...but you missed it by 'that' much.

Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter : NPR

Until, that is, we discovered meat.

"What we think is that this dietary change around 2.3 million years ago was one of the major significant factors in the evolution of our own species," Aiello says.

That period is when cut marks on animal bones appeared — not a predator's tooth marks, but incisions that could have been made only by a sharp tool. That's one sign of our carnivorous conversion. But Aiello's favorite clue is somewhat ickier — it's a tapeworm. "The closest relative of human tapeworms are tapeworms that affect African hyenas and wild dogs," she says.

So sometime in our evolutionary history, she explains, "we actually shared saliva with wild dogs and hyenas." That would have happened if, say, we were scavenging on the same carcass that hyenas were.

But dining with dogs was worth it. Meat is packed with lots of calories and fat. Our brain — which uses about 20 times as much energy as the equivalent amount of muscle — piped up and said, "Please, sir, I want some more."

Meat Eater - Bigger brains. Tools. Fire. Language. Civilization.

Couldn't do all that on quinoa and kale.
 

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I encounter claims that humans were designed to eat meat — that it's in our genes, that we have teeth made for eating meat, that we need meat to get all the right nutrients — all the time in casual conversation and in media in stronger and weaker versions.

In Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat, science writer Marta Zaraska does a great job of exposing these claims as myths.

Vegetarian animals ranging from gorillas to water deer, she reports, have bigger, sharper canines than we do; our canines aren't specially meant for processing meat. What we lack dentally is more important, in fact, than what we have. Gently open a (calm) dog's jaw, and there at the back will be the carnassial teeth, "blade-like and sharp and perfect for slicing meat." Lions and tigers, racoons and house cats — all carnivores — have them too. We don't.


Humans Are 'Meathooked' But Not Designed For Meat-Eating

May 19, 20166:01 AM ET
Commentary

Barbara J. King


AKA... Opinion.
 

Southern Dad

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There is room for all of gods creatures, right next to the mashed potatoes!

Exactly! Man did not fight his way to the top of the food chain to become a vegetarian. I believe the Native American word for vegan was loosely translated to "Lousy Hunter."
 
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A decent troll attempt...but you missed it by 'that' much.

Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter : NPR



Meat Eater - Bigger brains. Tools. Fire. Language. Civilization.

Couldn't do all that on quinoa and kale.

wrong. it was starches


“We provide evidence that cooked starch, a source of preformed glucose, greatly increased energy availability to human tissues with high glucose demands, such as the brain, red blood cells, and the developing fetus.” The Importance of Dietary Carbohydrate in Human Evolution by Karen Hardy et al, The Quarterly Review of Biology (September 2015)

Starchy Carbs: The Missing Link in the Paleo Diet—Big Brains Need Grains

See Below for Reader's Challenge, Clarence's Reply, & Professor's Perspective

It appears that starchy carbohydrates have had an important place in human evolution. An international team of scientists has made a powerful case that dietary carbohydrates were essential to development of the big brain that makes us human.

I was onboard long before I learned about the evolutionary connection.



Here I’m measuring out the six whole grains used in my “Old Reliable” breakfast mixture.
Our grains are stored in a cabinet made for that purpose.
Photo by Laszlo Bencze

Except for a brief period in my early days as a competitive bodybuilder, carbohydrates have always been a key component of my diet. In my first book RIPPED, I recounted that I couldn’t think or train properly without carbohydrates. That’s why I abandoned the low carb diet and never went back.

In my commentary on Professor Art De Vany’s book The New Evolution Diet, I wrote, “Art and I avoid refined carbohydrates—but part company on intact grains.” De Vany wrote that we are not genetically equipped to process grains, in any form. I respectfully demurred.

I challenged the premise of the book Grain Brain by Neurologist David Perlmutter that carbs, even healthy carbs such as whole grains and fruit, are silently killing our brain. Carbs and the Brain - Grain Brain in the Spotlight

AND NOW we have evidence that Paleo diet devotees are on shaky ground in claiming that our Stone Age ancestors didn’t consume starchy carbs. Karen Hardy and her team, writing in The Quarterly Review of Biology (September 2015), concluded that starchy carbs were essential to the development of the human brain. Among other observations, they pointed out that the human brain (then and now) uses up to 25% of the body’s energy requirement and up to 60% of the body’s blood glucose. While synthesis of glucose from other sources is possible, it is not the most efficient way, and these glucose demands are unlikely to be met on a low carb diet.

Paleo Diet Dos and Don’ts

In practice, the contemporary Paleo diet calls for eating grass-fed meats, fish and seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts, and seeds—and avoiding cereal grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined vegetable oils, processed foods, sugar and salt. While avoiding processed foods, sugar and salt, and eating fruits and vegetables are good ideas, avoiding cereal grains and legumes presents a problem. While it is possible to consume an adequate diet without those foods, it’s inconvenient and difficult.

Another problem is that the Paleo diet can lead to overconsumption of meat; for some, it becomes a license to eat your fill of meat—which also means eating fewer carbs. The main problem, however, is that it eliminates whole grains, which are the main source of starchy carbs for most people. Moreover, avoiding legumes (peas and beans) removes most complex carbohydrates. The end result is likely to be a low carb diet.

The Paleo diet is an attempt to eat like humans did in the Paleolithic period, which ended about 12,000 years ago. The new study by researchers from Spain, Australia, and the UK provides evidence that cooked starch played an important role in human evolution. Karen Hardy et al argued that “digestible carbohydrates were…necessary to accommodate the increased metabolic demands of a growing brain.”

Big brains needed lots of starchy carbs then and need them now.

Let’s drill down into the study.



Starchy Carbs:  The Missing Link in the Paleo Diet - Big Brains Need Grains
 
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Rethinking the Paleo Diet

The global increase in obesity and diet-related diseases has ramped up interest in our ancestral diet. Surprisingly, there is little clear agreement on the make-up of the Paleolithic diet. “It is clear,” the researchers wrote in introducing their study, “that…our physiology should be optimized to the diet that we have experienced during our evolutionary past.” The increase in brain size, which began around 2 million years ago and accelerated until about 12,000 years ago, is thought to be directly linked to alteration in diet.

(Paleo diet proponents are correct on that point. They are also correct that the rise of agriculture brought with it health problems, according to Zack S. Conrad, a doctoral candidate at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy, who studies such matters. “But that isn’t because grains are bad for you; it was because the change was so abrupt,” he explained in the Tufts University’s Health & Nutrition Letter (July 2015). “People switched to eating almost only cereal grains, which resulted in severe micronutrient deficiencies, many of which are evident in skeletal remains,” he continued. Over time diets became more diversified and the problem was resolved.)

The transition to a predominantly meat based diet has been considered to be the major driver of the increase in brain size and other evolutionary changes. The Hardy team argues that carbohydrates were also essential. A fortunate combination of events made that possible. The widespread availability of cooking coincided with the emergence of digestive enzymes which released the energy-yielding potential of starches. Cooking softened starch-rich plant foods and the digestive enzymes made them available to fuel the development of the human prototype. The combination also reduced chewing time allowing Paleo man more time to use and develop his growing brain. There are more details, but that series of events led the researchers to conclude that starchy carbohydrates were an important part of the Paleo diet.

The researchers summarized their breakthrough findings as follows:

We propose that plant foods containing high quantities of starch were essential for the evolution of the human phenotype during the Pleistocene. Although previous studies have highlighted a stone tool-mediated shift from primarily plant-based to primarily meat-based diets as critical in the development of the brain and other human traits, we argue that digestible carbohydrates were also necessary to accommodate the increased metabolic demands of a growing brain. Furthermore, we acknowledge the adaptive role cooking played in improving the digestibility and palatability of key carbohydrates. We provide evidence that cooked starch, a source of preformed glucose, greatly increased energy availability to human tissues with high glucose demands, such as the brain, red blood cells, and the developing fetus. We also highlight the auxiliary role copy number variation in the salivary amylase genes may have played in increasing the importance of starch in human evolution following the origins of cooking. Salivary amylases are largely ineffective on raw crystalline starch, but cooking substantially increases both their energy-yielding potential and glycemia. Although uncertainties remain regarding the antiquity of cooking and the origins of salivary amylase gene copy number variation, the hypothesis we present makes a testable prediction that these events are correlated.

Although it is difficulty to decipher what happened eons ago, Hardy et al have provided convincing evidence and support for the inclusion of starchy carbohydrates in our ancestral diet. Paleo diet enthusiasts may want to consider making room on their menu for whole grains, legumes, and perhaps intact potatoes.

The Ancestral Diet

You may be wondering, as I was, what our ancient ancestors ate. Where did they get their starchy carbs? Big brains came before farming, so we can eliminate Cheerios and Wheaties.
 
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Paleo man is believed to have eaten starch-rich roots and tubers. “Starch constitutes up to 80% of the dry weight of edible roots and tubers,” Hardy et al explained; “if left undisturbed in the ground, they remain stable and can be harvested as needed over a period of months…[They] can also be dried to increase durability and portability, and have been proposed as important foods for early hominins.”

Interestingly, these starch-rich foods may have been eaten more often than meat. It was hard work finding and killing animals and success was far from assured. “Although meat may have been a preferred food, the energy expenditure required to obtain it may have been far greater than that used for collecting tubers from a reliable source,” the researchers wrote.

It has also been suggested that postmenopausal females may have done most of the foraging to “enable younger female relatives to reproduce more frequently.” Food sourcing may have been a matter of status as well as practicality.

Cooking, of course, made both meat and starch-rich plant foods more palatable and digestible. As we have seen, both were apparently key components in the rise of humankind.
 

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I encounter claims that humans were designed to eat meat — that it's in our genes, that we have teeth made for eating meat, that we need meat to get all the right nutrients — all the time in casual conversation and in media in stronger and weaker versions.

In Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat, science writer Marta Zaraska does a great job of exposing these claims as myths.

Vegetarian animals ranging from gorillas to water deer, she reports, have bigger, sharper canines than we do; our canines aren't specially meant for processing meat. What we lack dentally is more important, in fact, than what we have. Gently open a (calm) dog's jaw, and there at the back will be the carnassial teeth, "blade-like and sharp and perfect for slicing meat." Lions and tigers, racoons and house cats — all carnivores — have them too. We don't.

Humans Are 'Meathooked' But Not Designed For Meat-Eating : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

Meathooked isn’t an investigation. It’s 200 pages of being trapped in a naugahyde-padded room with a hectoring PETA campaigner who will grasp at any pseudo study or nonsensical quote or misinterpreted data to support her point of view. And it begins with a whopper (and not the flame-broiled kind, sadly) in her introduction, before the book has even truly begun.
Review: Marta Zaraska?s Meathooked is a bit undercooked - The Globe and Mail
 

SocialD

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I encounter claims that humans were designed to eat meat — that it's in our genes, that we have teeth made for eating meat, that we need meat to get all the right nutrients — all the time in casual conversation and in media in stronger and weaker versions.

In Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat, science writer Marta Zaraska does a great job of exposing these claims as myths.

Vegetarian animals ranging from gorillas to water deer, she reports, have bigger, sharper canines than we do; our canines aren't specially meant for processing meat. What we lack dentally is more important, in fact, than what we have. Gently open a (calm) dog's jaw, and there at the back will be the carnassial teeth, "blade-like and sharp and perfect for slicing meat." Lions and tigers, racoons and house cats — all carnivores — have them too. We don't.

Humans Are 'Meathooked' But Not Designed For Meat-Eating : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR


Sharper canines in things like gorillas are for combat. A gorillas jaw has more biting power than a tiger.
Horses , half of them anyway, have what is known as a wolf teeth. they are in the back and at this point are not used since they don't need to tear or cut anything they eat.
Point is we adapt , humans are designed to eat anything.

But I do not disagree about excessive meat eating. that much is true.
 

Howler63

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Rethinking the Paleo Diet

The global increase in obesity and diet-related diseases has ramped up interest in our ancestral diet. Surprisingly, there is little clear agreement on the make-up of the Paleolithic diet. “It is clear,” the researchers wrote in introducing their study, “that…our physiology should be optimized to the diet that we have experienced during our evolutionary past.” The increase in brain size, which began around 2 million years ago and accelerated until about 12,000 years ago, is thought to be directly linked to alteration in diet.

(Paleo diet proponents are correct on that point. They are also correct that the rise of agriculture brought with it health problems, according to Zack S. Conrad, a doctoral candidate at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy, who studies such matters. “But that isn’t because grains are bad for you; it was because the change was so abrupt,” he explained in the Tufts University’s Health & Nutrition Letter (July 2015). “People switched to eating almost only cereal grains, which resulted in severe micronutrient deficiencies, many of which are evident in skeletal remains,” he continued. Over time diets became more diversified and the problem was resolved.)

The transition to a predominantly meat based diet has been considered to be the major driver of the increase in brain size and other evolutionary changes. The Hardy team argues that carbohydrates were also essential. A fortunate combination of events made that possible. The widespread availability of cooking coincided with the emergence of digestive enzymes which released the energy-yielding potential of starches. Cooking softened starch-rich plant foods and the digestive enzymes made them available to fuel the development of the human prototype. The combination also reduced chewing time allowing Paleo man more time to use and develop his growing brain. There are more details, but that series of events led the researchers to conclude that starchy carbohydrates were an important part of the Paleo diet.

The researchers summarized their breakthrough findings as follows:

We propose that plant foods containing high quantities of starch were essential for the evolution of the human phenotype during the Pleistocene. Although previous studies have highlighted a stone tool-mediated shift from primarily plant-based to primarily meat-based diets as critical in the development of the brain and other human traits, we argue that digestible carbohydrates were also necessary to accommodate the increased metabolic demands of a growing brain. Furthermore, we acknowledge the adaptive role cooking played in improving the digestibility and palatability of key carbohydrates. We provide evidence that cooked starch, a source of preformed glucose, greatly increased energy availability to human tissues with high glucose demands, such as the brain, red blood cells, and the developing fetus. We also highlight the auxiliary role copy number variation in the salivary amylase genes may have played in increasing the importance of starch in human evolution following the origins of cooking. Salivary amylases are largely ineffective on raw crystalline starch, but cooking substantially increases both their energy-yielding potential and glycemia. Although uncertainties remain regarding the antiquity of cooking and the origins of salivary amylase gene copy number variation, the hypothesis we present makes a testable prediction that these events are correlated.

Although it is difficulty to decipher what happened eons ago, Hardy et al have provided convincing evidence and support for the inclusion of starchy carbohydrates in our ancestral diet. Paleo diet enthusiasts may want to consider making room on their menu for whole grains, legumes, and perhaps intact potatoes.

The Ancestral Diet

You may be wondering, as I was, what our ancient ancestors ate. Where did they get their starchy carbs? Big brains came before farming, so we can eliminate Cheerios and Wheaties.


Of course they had starches. But their mainstay....especially when they finally STOOD UP....was meat.

Eating Meat Made Us Human, Suggests New Skull Fossil | Hominid Fossils

Meat, Cooked Foods Needed for Early Human Brain

Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter : NPR
 
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