Beyond the Paleo? Turns out cavemen loved carbohydrates after all...

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For decades now, starch-rich diets have been pilloried by experts and nutritionists claiming that if we want to shed the pounds and cast off the kilos, carbohydrates are not your friend.

The Paleo Diet, which encourages people to eat the kinds of food only available to hunter-gathering mankind during the Palaeolithic era 10,000 years ago, has grown in popularity for its effect on the body. But now researchers are calling into question how Paleo affects the brain.

new study has claimed that starch-rich foods may well have had a significant role in the expansion of the human brain, leading to the development of the human race as the dominant species on the planet.

Consuming large quantities of lean meat, as recommended by Paleo enthusiasts, can enhance brain growth, the research found, starchy carbs might be responsible for making a person smarter.

There were carbs in the caves

The study, carried out by Karen Hardy at the Catalan Institution for Research & Advanced Studies in Spain, recognises that the global phenomenon of obesity and metabolic disorders has provoked a reactionary interest in healthier diets around the world. But that dietary experts still cannot categorically state the precise quantities of different food groups that make up the perfectly balanced meal.

But the team’s work led to a new theory about how the brain consumes energy from food; The muscle uses almost a quarter of all the body’s energy and nearly 60% of glucose supplies in blood. This sugar is not easily acquired from Paleo-friendly sources, leading the team to hypothesise that a low-carb diet was probably insufficient to boost Stone-Age man’s brain. The same is true of new mothers in the era, whose lack of glucose would have made it more difficult to breastfeed.

Starches, in the form of potatoes, seeds, fruits, and nuts, were available to mankind at the time, but difficult to digest without being cooked.

As such, the research suggests that a steady supply of digestible starches to the brain and foetus dramatically increased during the Palaeolithic era, paving the way for the evolution of the human species by expanding brain power.

So, pasta for lunch, then?

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