Human brewing pays for the enzymes lost by stewing



Kiviaq, a dish made of little auks preserved in the hollow body of a seal, photo in the Public Domain


Cooking speeds digestion but also makes food more costly to digest by destroying the enzymes naturally present in raw food. The biological power of fire for ancestral Homo was as a result limited. The advantage of fermentation – a technical advance unique to Homo sapiens – is that it utilises microbes not only to predigest food but also to replenish dietary enzymes. We consequently acquired a unique nutritional advantage over other species by learning how to practise both cooking and extrasomal fermentation. 
Robin and the Honey Badger, 8 January 2017