Evolutionary explanations for food preference

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  • Created by: jess
  • Created on: 24-05-14 18:11
Preference for fatty foods
was adaptive because harsh conditions in the EEA meant energy resources were vital to stay alive. Early humans evolved preference for foods that were particularly rich in calories (fatty/sweet foods) because these promoted survival
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Bitter taste
evolved to detect potentially harmful toxins in plants
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Gibson and Wardle
best way to predict which fruit and vegetables would be preferred by children, was to measure how calorie-rich they were. Bananas and potatoes are rich in calories and were most preferred by 4-5 year olds. supports claim that humans have evolved pref
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Sandell and Breslin
studied variants of bitter taste receptor gene making individuals more or less sensitive to glucosinolates. Being able to detect glucosinolates therefore conferred a significant adaptive advantage and so is still widespread today
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Preference for meat
meat diet was full of densely packed nutrients and rich sources of energy, and therefore provided a catalyst for the growth of the brain. As a result, humans were able to evolve into active and intelligent species that they became. By supplying all e
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Cordain et al
claimed that early humans are more likely to have found most of their calories in sources other than saturated animal fats
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shown that all societies show preference for animal fats, suggesting that this is a universal evolved preference. Unlikely that early humans could’ve found sufficient calories for an active lifestyle from vegetarian diet
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Cultural factors
likely that many food preferences (e.g. spicy foods) developed because of cultural tastes and preferences. However – although cultural differences do exist, they’re usually a fine-tuning of evolved food preferences that are found in all cultures
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ignores free will → doesn’t explain why people are vegetarian today as we are all meant to have a preference for meat
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Evolutionary explanations
can’t account for all our food preferences because there are marked cultural differences and also, as people grow up their preferences change which suggests that experience plays a role. E.g. spicy food is very popular but universally disliked by ch
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Card 2


Bitter taste


evolved to detect potentially harmful toxins in plants

Card 3


Gibson and Wardle


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Card 4


Sandell and Breslin


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Card 5


Preference for meat


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