English (en) | Change Language


When our ancestors cooked and processed their food, they made it easier to extract calories and fat, which helped to increase the gap between the amount of energy it took to digest their food, and the amount they extracted from it. It also meant we had to do less chewing.

It's thought that these culinary skills not only helped to reduce the size of our jaws, but also meant we could evolve larger brains – and afford the (energetically expensive) neural activity that came with them. Cooking also kills many of the potentially harmful bacteria that can grow in and on our food, helping to protect us from bouts of food poisoning.

However, in spite of the many benefits of cooking, is it possible that processing our food at high temperatures could come with hidden health risks?