Evolutionary explanations for Food preferences essay (A*)

  • Created by: Jess
  • Created on: 31-05-14 14:18

Outline and evaluate evolutionary explanations of food preferences                 (8+16 marks)

Evolutionary theory explains that food preferences evolved due to environmental demands through natural selection and therefore bestow an adaptive advantage. The evolution of human food preferences occurred in the EEA (environment for evolutionary adaptivness), reflecting our need for energy, to avoid toxins and to store excess calories as fat for times of scarcity.

Sweet tastes indicate high-energy and non-poisonous content and were naturally selected to become a preference. Desor et al studies facial expressions and found that there was a strong preference of sweet foods over bitter tasting foods, though these results are very subjective and prone to researcher bias during interpretation. Desor also concluded that choice in food is quickly modified through experience, highlighting the importance of both nature and nurture when determining preferences. There is much evidence supporting this theory, simply by observation of many different species it becomes clear that sweet tastes are far more preferable than bitter tastes. Bitter tastes have been associated with poisonous food, which has lead to the development of a phobia towards novel foods (neophobia). Garcia et al supports the idea that food taste is quickly modified through experience. Garcia et al exposed rats to radiation…


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