Evolutionary Explanations of Food Preference

Topics: Nutrition, Food, Eating Pages: 2 (733 words) Published: June 4, 2013
Evolutionary approach to food preference – perfect essay
Evolution is the change in inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. The environment our early ancestors lived in must be understood to understand why they adapted to certain behaviours or characteristics. This environment is known as EEA (environment of evolutionary adaption). Natural history and science have found that our species has spent much of its life as hunter-gatherers so by looking at their role we can investigate food preferences from an evolutionary perspective. Early human diets consisted of what was around them at the time and what pressured them to eat it. Humans had a preference for fatty foods as it would have been adaptive as conditions in the EEA meant that energy resources were vital to survive until the next meal. In addition calories were not as plentiful and therefore fatty foods were vital. Gibson and Wardle conducted a food preference study by observing the food choices made of children. Children naturally preferred more calorific foods, suggesting the food choices to be innate as children have not been exposed much to other influences such as social or cultural factors as other age groups. On the other hand fatty foods have been proven harmful if eaten in excess and therefore counters the claim that they are beneficial, as a diet on fatty foods would not be possible for survival. However, early humans did not live to the age of humans today and it is in the later age where diseases come as a result of excess fatty foods. Human preference for meat is said to have occurred due to the large decline in forestry 2 million years ago as the nutritional source declined. Meat is rich in nutrients and therefore appropriate alternative food consumption. The diet consisted of mainly the brain and liver and kidneys as they were rich in nutrients. Foley and Lee compared primate eating strategies with brain size, and found those eating meat...
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