EATING BEHAVIOUR (EXPLANATIONS FOR FOOD PREFERENCES (Sweet preference…
EXPLANATIONS FOR FOOD PREFERENCES
that help locate sufficient amounts of
safe and nutritious food
would have a selective advantage allowing them to survive and pass on these advantages to their children. This, according to the evolutionary theory, is how human eating behaviours are shaped.
Evolutionary theory, sees a preference for sweet tasting foods becoming widespread as sweetness is associated with
high energy, non poisonous content
sweet food aids survival.
Desor et al. and Steiner
choice preferences and facial expressions
of new born babies to find they
prefer sweet foods to bitter ones
, implying the preference is
a lot of research support including
cross cultural evidence.
Fondness for sweetness is also found in the
, supporting that sweetness is an evolutionary preference.
interpreting baby's facial expressions is
and may not produce reliable results.
Read & McDaniel
found that genes are not thought to be responsible for the variation in sweetness reception in humans. Sweet preferences are more to do with
protein hormones, such as leptin, than genes.
Salt is necessary in maintaining
neural and muscular activity and water balance
. Salt contains
, essential for
, though too much salt is
found an innate preference for salt in many animal species, suggesting the preference has a survival value and is evolutionarily determined.
Salt preference is not
as humans cannot taste salt well until
of age. Salt preference is
, with taste buds developing to be able to detect salt in time for weaning.
of new born babies had a salt preference and had
higher blood pressure
than other babies.
At least 1 grandparent
had hypertension. That suggests a genetic basis to individual differences in salt preferences.
Bitter and sour
An ability to detect and reject bitter and sour tastes makes evolutionary sense as such tastes indicate the presence of
. Plants produce
to discourage being eaten and therefore it is evolutionarily beneficial to develop an ability to dislike bitter and sour tastes.
Humans have an innate ability to detect bitter tastes, possessing around 30 genes that code for bitter taste receptors.
Liam and Mennella
investigated preferences for sour tastes using children and their mothers.
of children had a preference for
extreme sour tastes
, indicating sour taste preferences are heightened during childhood because children are
less food neophobic
and more willing to try new foods. The results suggest sour taste preferences indicate greater interest in trying new foods which would have a selective advantage.