The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Influence of food material properties and cooking on meat-eating performance in humans

ZILIN ZHOU1, DEVIN WARD2, DARSHANA SHAPIRO2, SARAH HLUBIK2, KATE L. DE ROSA2, DANIEL J. HOFFMAN3, ERIN R. VOGEL2 and ROBERT S. SCOTT2.

1Aresty Research Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2Department of Anthropology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 3Department of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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Butchery evidence attests to the ability and propensity of hominins to alter food with pre-ingestive behavior. Thus, the food material properties (FMPs) of meat and scale of bites eaten will be intrinsic to the tissue eaten and altered by preparation like cutting and cooking. Here, we report fracture toughness for cooked and raw beef (eye of round) and the effects of cooking on feeding rate. Fracture toughness was measured using a scissor test on an FLS-1 Tester on cooked and raw meat slices ranging in thickness from 1.4 to 3.1 mm. Because the scissor test requires modification of meat scale, it is not a complete or ideal tool to describe meat FMPs but allows some assessment of the effects of cooking and tissue anisotropy on meat toughness. Fracture toughness was greater for cuts across the meat grain. For cuts along the meat grain, fracture toughness varied widely and there was no significant difference between cooked and raw meat. Preliminary results showed significantly greater fracture toughness for cooked meat as opposed to raw meat when cuts were across the meat grain (p < 0.05) consistent with drying increasing toughness. Cooked meat was noticeably friable along the grain. Thus, cooking may have opposite effects on the ease of meat comminution depending on directionality and bite scale. A large and significant increase in feeding rate when meat was cooked was found for subjects fed cooked versus raw meat (p < 0.01). This difference could be attributable to either meat FMPs or palatability.

This work was made possible by grants from the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies and the Research Council of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

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