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Outline and evaluate evolutionary explanations of food preference

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´╗┐Outline and evaluate evolutionary explanations of food preference: Evolutionary explanations of food preference centre on the idea that food preferences that exist, do so, because they have served an adaptive function in our environment of evolutionary adaptation. This generally assumes that preferences have directed people towards nutritional foods and away from potentially harmful foods; this trait has become universal in humans as only those possessing such traits would survive and pass on these genes. There are several individual evolutionary explanations of food preference; gustation and olfaction, morning sickness, Food Neophobia and aversion learning and finally, the regulatory system. Gustation and olfaction relates to taste and smell. Humans have taste receptors that are specialised to identify 5 key tastes being sweet, sour, salt, bitter and unami. These tastes are likely to have evolved to enable people to recognise highly calorific foods, while avoiding potentially toxic foods. ...read more.


This is supported by the idea that morning sickness is arguably the most severe during early pregnancy, which is the time in which the foetus is most vulnerable. Food Neophobia explains that the preference to avoid novel foods is thought to be a product of evolution as avoiding new foods would safe guard people from unknown toxins. People are extremely responsive to aversion learning, so that they can be conditioned to avoid foods with only limited negative experience with them. This would therefore be an adaptive quality, as gradual conditioning would result in a person being exposed to further toxins. Finally, it has been demonstrated that humans have an efficient regulatory system that promotes a balanced diet. This might suggest that the human body has evolved the capacity to recognise what nutrients are requires for optimal functioning, which would make our food preferences the result of evolution. ...read more.


Participants whose mother had not drunk carrot juice did not like the cereal at all. This could indicate that if a mother ate sugary foods during pregnancy this could explain a baby?s preference for sweat foods, instead of evolution being the cause. This would support the idea that the evolutionary explanation of food preferences is reductionist. In addition, going by the evolutionary explanation of Gustation and olfaction, people should not like sour foods, yet sour sweets are sold and bought in supermarkets across the world. In addition to this, considering Buse (08) states incidentally almost every type of food is avoided during pregnancy as they can potentially ?harm? the child, you would therefore expect any pregnant mother who eats, to get morning sickness, but not ever mother does experience it. However, there are studies that are said support the evolutionary explanation of food preference. Yet such studies support the fact that humans have these food preferences and that is therefore taken to be support for the evolutionary explanation. ...read more.

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