of all the fad diets that have come and gone through the years the raw and paleo diets might just be the stupidest don’t get me started on keto that we will get back to that I’d call raw and paleo the stupidest because they are predicated on some very suspect notions of how our bodies work and how they evolve to work that way we’ll start with the raw diet certainly you can live a long healthy life eating all kinds of diets and any diet that restricts refined carbohydrates and other processed foods will probably do some good for people like me living overfed lives so whatever works for you works just don’t let anyone tell you that a raw foods diet is more natural because we humans have been cooking our food since before we were Homo sapiens in fact cooking might be part of why we are Homo sapiens what I just said is known in the field of anthropology as the cooking hypothesis and while the lifestyles of our Paleolithic ancestors may differ quite a bit from our own.
the reasons why cooking was advantageous to them still apply to us scholars believe the human ancestor Homo erectus started eating meat about two and a half million years ago they invented cooking about a million years ago cooking became a widespread practice around 250,000 years ago and that’s about when the first anatomically modern humans appeared the first Homo sapiens these are all interrelated events or so goes the hypothesis the hypothesis being that once we started cooking we were able to extract a lot more energy and that really helps further push us into sort of being the human entities that we now understand ourselves to be this is dr.
Jessica ham an anthropology professor at Oxford College of Emory University when we shifted from eating a fully raw foods diet into a diet in which meat would have been part of the diet and cookina foods would have been part of the diet we’re extracting more energy our guts are shrinking sort of the the shape and size of our teeth is also changing because we’re not you know having to grind away it at raw things indeed compare yourself to this cat or this buffalo or this goat your digestive system is way smaller proportional to your body this goat needs major internal hardware to break raw greenery down into nutrition its body can actually use unlike gaudi their I don’t need to spend literally my entire day chewing my cud and my body hardware doesn’t need to be monopolized with the constant work of breaking it down.
cooking allows us to take more nutrient-dense foods and to pre digest them outside our body to break them down in the pot so that our bodies will have less work to do once we actually eat as the hypothesis goes this innovation was so powerful that it allowed our Anatomy to evolve so all those shifts in our biology then leads energy to go up to our brains and to sort of expand our capacity or brain capacity less body mass and time dedicated to digestion means more can be dedicated to other activities like designing ziggurats or new and terrible ways to kill each other all hallmarks of the civilizations cooking allowed us to build when we jump from physical anthropology to cultural anthropology there’s a whole other argument that says cooking allowed communities to extract more from their shared food supply thus freeing up some members of that society to be architects and soldiers and stonemasons and priests and blacksmiths instead of everybody just being a farmer dr.
Ham herself is a cultural anthropologist and while she’s actually a little skeptical that cooking played such a direct role in our physical evolution she’s absolutely convinced it was huge in our social evolution cooking is an inherently social act so you know to what degree should we also be thinking about how the social nosov cooking was also part of part of helping us to become human helping us to sort of work with an inherent ability to be cooperative and social with one another you look at cultures around the world and in all cultures are cooking their food and there are many cultures.
I would say perhaps contemporary North American food culture being one of them where you see a combination of cooked and raw eating in many cultures raw foods are not a thing for example where I do fieldwork in Ghana you like you would not be considered to have eaten a meal if you did if you eat raw food food there is considered to be cooked for those times where I was craving a salad I would kind of secretly go to the market to buy vegetables and then hide out in my room in and eat my salad by myself because I knew that it would it would be mocked it’s hard not to feel bad for dr.
Hem they’re furtively sneaking her salad but the Ghanaian people might be onto something because cooking has nutritional benefits that are still very relevant to us people living today and we shall discuss those right after I thank the sponsor of this video trade coffee coffee ain’t allowed in raw or paleo diets which as far as I’m concerned is reason enough to call them stupid trade is a way for you to get new and exciting coffees selected for your tastes and delivered right to your door get your morning cup every day without going out to the grocery store or the coffee shop the first thing you do is go to drink trade calm and take their quiz are you a total coffee nerd or are you a noob.
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the first 100 of you who click the link below will get 30% off your first bag when you sign up free shipping included 30% off your first bag from trade coffee Thank You trade and making coffee is by the way an example of the extractive powers of cooking in water specifically the advent of things like stone basins and later water safe pottery really would have allowed humans to get more their food by boiling it in our romantic imaginations ancient humans are roasting meat on a stick over an open flame but with a tough piece of wild animal it’s amazing how little you can get off the bone this way but cook the same chunk in water for a few hours and everything literally falls off the bone plus tons of proteins and other nutrients lost in cooking are conveniently dissolved in the broth which you can drink and this is the moment when a raw foods advocate would say hey but wait a minute cooking destroys some nutrients well that’s true you lose some nutrients every time you cook food but the losses are very small but the benefits of cooking far outweigh any negatives that’s dr.
Tim Crowe a longtime nutrition researcher and host of the thinking nutrition podcast and the benefits are you actually make some nutrients more available you make some food more easily digestible and you actually make it safer as well because you kill off a lot of the bacteria that causes food poisoning which is a major cause of illness and sickness in the world indeed the latter benefit might be part of why cooking is particularly important in Ghana and other developing countries where food and water supplies might not always be so sterile but Lord knows we have our own food safety issues here in the United States the land of factory farmed everything let’s get back though to the first benefit dr.
Crowe mentioned bioavailability just because you cram food down your gullet doesn’t mean your body is able to actually use it so when you cook food there’s some nutrients you do maybe absorb less of but there’s others that you absorb more of so it’s a case of swings and roundabouts and I’ll use a good example there’s a vitamin one of the vitamin A family members called lycopene it’s a vitamin a pigment it gives foods it’s a red color particularly Tomatoes they are high in lycopene when you cook Tomatoes you actually absorb more of this vitamin A antioxidant into your bloodstream so that’s a nice example another example is legumes it’s virtually impossible to digest beans and lentils and such without cooking them first now there are some people who say they like the raw foods diet precisely because of reduced bioavailability they’re hoping that it’ll help them make some reductions of their own.
you actually do absorb some of the nutrients at less because you don’t break down the cell walls an interesting it’s actually thought that yeah the potential calories in some of these food you don’t absorb them all and so a lot of people when I go on a raw food diet that can lose weight number one because it limits their food choices they stop eating a lot of junk food and maybe that should absorb a few less calories which in the Western world is a good thing but come on please don’t follow a diet plan that depends upon you simply passing perfectly good food without actually using it that’s just dumb speaking of dumb the Paleo diet the diet that issues grains and legumes and dairy on the basis that these foods were supposedly not consumed by our Stone Age ancestors we’re not meant to eat them these people say but there is archaeological evidence of humans eating grains for example deep in the Paleolithic era long before the first agricultural revolution and of course many of the vegetables that Paleo diet errs do eat did not exist at all in the Stone Age they’re modern creations the product of millennia of selective breeding by humans but again as dr.
Crow says it’s undeniable that people living in affluent societies are eating way too many calories from things like refined carbohydrates so any diet that knocks those things out is likely going to do a lot of good for someone like me which brings us finally to the fad diet du jour the ketogenic diet Kido another low carb diet like Atkins and paleo that restricts starch and sugar the modern ketogenic diet was invented in the early 20th century not as a treatment for obesity but as a preventive treatment for seizures if you’re a child and you have a epilepsy the ketogenic diet has been known for decades and decades and decades to help control epileptic seizures in children that’s the end of the medical use of a ketogenic diet as far as having evidence for a benefit basically if you replace nearly all of the carbohydrate calories in your diet with fat calories you will force your body to produce these things called ketone bodies that your brain will eat in place of the blood sugar glucose that your brain would normally eat and this for science reasons helps to prevent epileptic seizures.
and people have now seized on keto as a fad diet to lose weight the issue is very few people who think they’re doing keto are actually eating the extreme fat to carb ratio needed to put your body into ketosis use an example of an actual keto diet designed for a five-year-old kid with epilepsy these poor kids literally have to have heavy whipping cream with every meal and unless your aha I’d caught a flight particularly it may be in elite athlete who has really focused on eating that way we have a very obsessive-compulsive personality but few people stick to a true ketogenic diet for more than three to six months they start introducing carbohydrates back into their diet because let’s face it bread and pasta is pretty awesome so if kiddo works for you by all means do it but few people actually do Aikido as it’s designed and that’s to get into ketosis which is about 50 grams of carbohydrates per day and that’s not much carbohydrates dr.
Crowe is one of like a hundred nutrition experts I’ve talked to at this point in my life who all say different shades of the same thing the problem in your diet probably isn’t the bread you’re baking at home or the fresh pastas you’re making at home it’s the processed food it’s the sugary junk you buy off the shelf fast food burgers and fries so any diet plan that knocks most of that out of your diet is probably going to do you a world of good and that is the only fad diet you need to know about also coffee is good .