A new study, co-written by researchers from the University of Sydney, challenges the belief that meat deserves all the credit [for the evolution of the human brain].
Rather, the researchers say, starchy carbohydrates “were essential for the evolution” of the human brain nearly 1 million years ago. The human brain uses as much as 25 percent of the body’s energy and up to 60 percent of blood glucose, the researchers say. Such a glucose and energy-hungry brain was unlikely to develop on a low-carbohydrate diet.
“The research is a blow to advocates of the Paleo diet, which shuns starch-rich vegetables and grains,” the University of Sydney says.
Instead of the low-carb, no-grain Paleo diet for optimal health, the authors highlight the importance of including old-school starchy foods such as potatoes, taro, yams and sweet potatoes. They also advocate eating more recently introduced starchy grains such as wheat, rye, barley, corn, oats, quinoa and millet.
“While many Paleo diet advocates avoid carb-containing foods, this research and from other palaeontologists show that, in fact, most Paleo diets were moderate in carbohydrate not low,” McMillan says. “In fact, Loren Cordain’s [the founder of the Paleo movement] own paper showed that a true Paleo diet was closer to a Mediterranean diet than to a low-carb one.”
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