Consuming Carbohydrates in excess can lead to several diseases including obesity. However, a new study has come up with a different perspective and says that it was cooked carbohydrates that led to evolution of complex human brain.
Lead researcher Karen Hardy, a Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) Research Professor at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) says that dietary carbohydrates played a crucial role in development of brain. Hardy explained that human brain consumes nearly 25 percent energy from the body’s reservoir and 60 percent of blood glucose. To meet the demands of the brain, body needs high amount of carbohydrates and it might have pivotal in evolution of brain. Also, it is very unlikely that our ancestors would have consumed low carbohydrate diet in the past since it was in abundance.
Apart from this, pregnancy and lactation period demands high amount of carbohydrates to produce extra glucose. In case of glucose deficiency, it leads to bad health for the mother as well as her baby.
Researchers believe that carbohydrate and starch would have been easily available to our ancestors in several forms including tubers, seed, fruits and nuts. Moreover, human digestive system is made such that it cannot digest raw starch properly due to its crystalline structure. However, after getting it cooked it becomes far more digestible as it loses its crystalline structure.
Thus, study authors believe that cooked carbohydrates might have given the energy required for the development of human brain. However, it doesn’t mean that one should start consuming carbohydrates in excess as it will lead to obesity and several other diseases including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. More research is need to confirm the findings.
The study appeared in The Quarterly Review of Biology.