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Increased Energy/Reduced Digestion


Net energy gain


The role of cooking in increasing energy uptake from the diet as well as reducing the body’s costs of digestion.


Cooking food is a unique human activity spanning across all cultures, and humans appear to be evolutionarily adapted to this crucial aspect of their diet (Wrangham and Conklin-Brittain 2003). The value of cooking lies in its ability to widen the range of foods that are safe to eat (whether by making their digestion easier or neutralizing toxic compounds) as well as extract more energy from the foods ingested. Both human and animal studies illustrate that the more cooked food there is in a diet, the greater the net energy gain for the eater (Carmody and Wrangham 2009), and a diet of raw foods is energetically inadequate even when various nonthermal processing methods are employed (Koebnick et al. 1999). The effect of cooking on the energy gain from eating includes several mechanisms: increasing digestibility and thus caloric...


  • Maillard Reaction
  • Lipid Digestibility
  • Metabolic Expenditure
  • Meat Diet
  • Early Hominins

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Correspondence to Mariya Voytyuk .

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Voytyuk, M. (2016). Increased Energy/Reduced Digestion. In: Weekes-Shackelford, V., Shackelford, T., Weekes-Shackelford, V. (eds) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer, Cham.

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