Evolution of food preferences

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  • Created on: 14-03-13 12:08
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Evolution of food preferences
Environment of evolutionary adaptation (EEA) is where
species first evolved. Used to live in hunter-gatherer type
Preference for fatty foods is adaptive for early humans.
Conditions in EEA meant that energy resources were vital
for survival and were needed, as it was not known when
there next meal would be. Calories weren't as plentiful so it
makes sense that we have a distinct preference for fatty
Ancestors included meat in diet when receding forests
caused a decline in the quality of plant foods. Fossil
evidence shows that animal organs were eaten, as they
were rich sources of energy. Without our ancestors eating
meat it was unlikely that we would have developed into
the adaptive and intelligent humans we are today (Milton).
Taste aversion was also know as `bait shyness'. Garcia
found that mice made ill after eating saccharin
developed an aversion to it as they associated there
illness with it.
This aversion helped our ancestors to survive because if
they did survive poisoning it would stop them making
the same mistake again.
Animals can also learn the `medicine effect' which helps
them learn a preference that makes them better. Garcia
found that when giving thiamine deficient rats a
distinctive flavour then injecting then thiamine they would have a
preference for this flavour.
Gibson and Wardle ­ showed the importance of calories in
ancestral diets. Asked 4-5 year olds what was there
favourite fruit and veg. Instead of choosing the most
sugary ones, they chose the ones with the most calories
(bananas and potatoes). They have an evolved

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Cordain ­ said that our ancestors gained calories from sources other
than saturated animal fats and that we could of even been
Abrams ­ however found through anthropological evidence that all
societies have a preference for animal fats and also there wouldn't of
been enough calories to survive on without them.
Seligman ­ species have `biological preparedness', natural selection
has favoured those who can learn certain associations quicker than
others.…read more


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