Good news, paleo diet people. You can finally toss a potato on your plate alongside your steak. After all, it's what your paleo cousins would've done.
That's according to new research from evolutionary geneticists at University College London, which suggests that early humans cooked and ate starchy tubers.
The researchers suspect as much because we humans produce enzymes to help us digest cooked starchy foods. And as the only primate that cooks, we've evolved multiple copies of the gene that makes the enzyme in question. With more copies, we could coax additional calories from cooked starchy foods.
Researchers speculate that we used the extra energy to fashion bigger brains. This is not to say cooked meat wasn’t a factor. Just that we were also eating cooked carbs.
When did we evolve these extra copies of the gene? Well, DNA analysis of ancient European hunter-gatherers shows that they had the extra copies well before humans settled down to farm.
Naturally, this is not the final word on the subject. Expect more to follow. But for now, let’s toss some tubers on the flames and get back in touch with our primal, carb-loving caveman selves. Here's a potato-baker's dozen, by-and-large paleo-friendly potato recipes to get us started.