Evolutionary explanations of food preference

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Food preferences have evoleved because they have an adaptive value. Most human evolution occured during the pleistocence era when food was only available periodically. Therefore, humans evolved to favour energy-rich foods and store excess as fat for times of scarcity. We still exhibit these tendencies , even though food is available perpetually. Food preferences therefore reflect the need for energy, stored nutrition and the necessity to avoid toxins.

Sweet tastes indicate high-energy foods and non-toxicity and through natural selection became a universal food preference. 

  • De Araujo et al (2008) found that mice that could not taste sweetness preffered sugar solution to non-calorific sweeteners, suggesting that the preference is based not on sweetness but on calorie content.

A bitter taste indicates toxicity. Plants…


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