Meat Gave Our Ancestors Big Brains: Should You Stop Being a Vegetarian?

photo: Thinkstock

During prehistoric times, our earliest ancestors ate raw food — nuts, fruit, roots, and berries. It wasn’t a super-high-calorie diet, so they had to eat a lot, and needed a big gut to digest it all. But devoting all their energy to digestion meant that they couldn’t devote any energy or nutrients to growing their brains. Until they started eating meat.

Uh-oh, vegetarians. As soon as ancient people started eating meat, their brains started growing. Meat is packed with tons of calories and fat, and our ancestors’ brains liked both. But the real dose of nutrition came when prehistoric peeps started cooking their meat over an open flame. See, it’s harder for the body to get the nutrition it needs solely from raw food.

Aside from giving you something to tease your vegetarian co-worker about at lunch, what do you think? Are vegetarians damaging their brains by forgoing meat – and are carnivores smarter than vegetarians?

via NPR

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    • Karen

      What a ridiculous article, comparing our ancestor’s diet with our present one. As if modern vegans and vegetarians aren’t eating a variety of foods which are healthy, nutritious and full of vitamins. Foods that are easier to digest than the meats which rot in our stomachs. If meat helped our ancestors grow big brains, then good for them, those were different times when it was survival of the fittest and food was harder to come by.
      Never mind that people now consume so much meat they are digging their own graves with their oil packed arteries. Never mind all the food wasted, animals slaughtered for our own waste.
      What a stupid article. Or maybe my brain has just been damaged by not having eaten meat for over six years now. Whatever.

    • R.

      As the previous comment points out, conditions today are very different from those of our very distant ancestors. I think the makes the important point “meat is packed with tons of calories and fat…” Aren’t those the very thing many Americans (and others in industrialized countries) get too much of?