It has become common for carbohydrates to be viewed in a very dim light, with most of the popular fad diets being carb-free.

The paleo diet, in particular, shuns carbohydrates in order to recreate the eating habits of our early ancestors. However, a recent study published in The Quarterly Review of Biology reveals that carbohydrates have been essential to human evolution — particularly the development of the brain.

The study investigated genetic, anatomical and physiological data to understand how carbohydrates have contributed to the development of the human brain. Dr Karen Hardy, from the University of Chicago, is the lead scientist behind the research believes carbohydrates accelerate growth of human brains.

She believes that both cooking and an increase in the amount of enzymes to break down carbohydrates made them much more digestible and available for the brain to use as fuel. This more readily available fuel from carbohydrates contributed to the rapid growth of the brain.

Wholegrains or unrefined carbohydrates have an important role to play in your diet. Not only do they provide fibre to support your digestive system, they will also give you a nice, steady supply of fuel to power your brain. Don’t cut them out…