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Okay, let’s take a minute to reflect on a few things. Being health conscious, you’re undoubtedly inundated with new information every day on what you should and shouldn’t be doing. And over the years all of this information has formed a complex web leaving you feeling flustered and a little bit paranoid about making the wrong move, right?

Close your eyes for a second (like literally a second, you’ll need to keep reading this), and just erase everything you think you know. It’s time to get back to basics.  

What is it about humans that make us special? What does a human brain have that no other species does? Well, this may sound over simplistic but really it comes down to one thing.

We cook.

No other species cooks.

Mind blown? Well keep it together because you’ll need every bit of grey matter.

Why does cooking make humans so special?

In short, figuring out how to cook things bought us more time to use our brains for things other than eating all day, like big dumb-dumb gorillas do.

Here’s a very general overview of neuroscience to explain why. 

One physical difference in the human brain compared to any other species is the total number of neurons we have, 86 Billion, with a B. More importantly, the number of neurons we have in our cerebral cortex (about 14 billion). The cerebral cortex is responsible for superior cognitive ability – it gives us the ability to plan ahead, look back and learn from mistakes, attributes we commonly think of as being unique to humans. Some really smart people found out that one major difference between the human brain and other species is that we have a greater proportion of neurons in the cerebral cortex. 

Now, to keep all of those billions of neurons firing requires a lot of energy, as you can imagine, and if they’re not firing…well, let’s just say things aren’t looking good. To put this into perspective, let’s look at a gorilla. A gorilla eats raw food. In order to eat enough raw food to keep on living a gorilla will generally spend 8.5 hours per day searching for and eating food. It’s a full-time job. 

As we are genetically pretty-creepily similar to gorillas it’s those 14 billion neurons in our cerebral cortex compared to the gorillas 4.3 billion, that really sets us apart. This makes the human brain special in the amount of energy it uses. Of the crazy amount of neurons we have, it comprises only 2% of our total body weight, yet manages to consume approximately 25% of our total energy per day. That’s 500 calories a day, just for brain function. And NO! This does not mean that you can just sit around all day “thinking” and lose weight.

To hear more about what will help you to stay on top of your health goals, stay tuned for Part 2 coming to you shortly!