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Food for Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter

Your earliest ancestors didn't eat a very high calorie diet. They ate their food raw — fruit, leaves, maybe some nuts. When they ventured down onto land, they added things like underground tubers, roots and berries. To get the energy they needed, they had to eat a lot and have a big gut to digest it all — meaning the brain wasn't given as much priority.

That changed with a dietary alteration that happened about 2.3 million years ago — meat. Meat is packed with calories and fat. The human brain, which uses about 20 times as much energy as the equivalent amount of muscle, greatly benefited.

NPR reports:

"As we got more, our guts shrank because we didn't need a giant vegetable processor any more. Our bodies could spend more energy on other things like building a bigger brain. Sorry, vegetarians, but eating meat apparently made our ancestors smarter — smart enough to make better tools, which in turn led to other changes".

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