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Evolutionary explanations for food preference

Evolutionary explanations for food preference

Michela:) Kim

on 23 May 2012

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Transcript of Evolutionary explanations for food preference

Evolutionary explanations
for food preference

Early diets
Preference for meat
Taste aversion
the environment in which a species first evolved
The adaptive problems faced
early food preferences
Hunter-gatherer societies
high-calorie(for energy) and easily available foods
After starving
fattiest parts of their kill
Modern preferences
Low-cholesterol foods
no benefit for our ancestors
their preference(ie. high calories)
Preference for fatty foods
Harsh conditions in the EEA
energy is vital
to survive
evolved a preference for foods which were particularly rich in calories
Gibson & Wardle
Banana + Potatoes
High and rich calories
4-5 yrs old
Bitter taste
detect harmful toxin in plants
Sandell and Breslin
bitter taste receptor gene
more or less sensitive to glucosinolates
being able to detect it for protecting from toxins
(adaptive advantages)
Good for brain growth
A meat diet
; full of nutrients which provide catalyst for the growth of the brain
active and intelligent species
essential amino acids,minerals and nutrients
to stay active and alive
* less nutritious, plant-based foods.
early human might have been vegetarian
Cordain et al.
other sources rather than saturated animal fats
evidence to show preference for animal fats in all societies.
universal evolved preference
unlikely that early humans could have found
sufficient calories
for an active lifestyle from vegetarian diet.
How about cultural factors!!?
many food preferences developed because of cultural tastes and preferences
ie. for spicy foods
still this exists,
they are usually fine-tuning of evolved food preferences that are found in all cultures
to obtain optimum performance
Taste aversion
(Garcia et al.)

ill through radiation
aversion to saccharin
the illness & the taste of its
Adaptive advantages
Our ancestors could learn to avoid the food which made them poisoned,if they survived after ingesting poison
Taste aversion is important role for survival
The taste aversion is hard to shift,
an adaptation would have helped survival
The medicine effects
People tend to prefer any food eaten just before recovery.
feeling better
biological preparedness
Each species have different learning abilities to learn certain associations more easily than others
which help them to survive
Real-world application
origins of taste aversion help to understand the
food avoidance after chemotherapy of cancer.
Bernstein & Webster
Novel-tasting ice cream
Aversion to ice cream
both a novel and a familial food
aversion form to novel food,
not to the familial food
This is consistent with our evolved avoidance of novel foodstuffs,which is also consistent with our survival.
environment in which a species first evolved
Ultimate ex. of human behaviour may mask more proximate causes of the same behaviour
(eg. price, availability)
Outline & evaluate evolutionary explanations
for food preference (24 marks)
Full transcript