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Humans may 'intuitively' choose appropriate foods

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Nutritional intelligence may explain the complexity of human food selection.Art/Getty Images Runner
  • Studies have shown that some animals can make food choices based on the types of micronutrients that food contains.
  • In a new study, researchers have found that humans can do the same and may be able to make more sophisticated food choices than previously thought.
  • If further research can confirm this, this means humans have a sort of innate “nutritional wisdom,” giving intuitive eating a whole new perspective.

In a new study, researchers have found that humans may intuitively choose foods based on the types of micronutrients they have.

Research published in journals appetitehas also cast doubt on possible manipulation of this capacity by the food industry.

Researchers have found that some animals can choose which foods to eat based on the types of micronutrients in the food.

for example, American Journal of Primatology It turns out that howler monkeys chose certain types of foods high in certain minerals after a hurricane disrupted their normal diet.

But researchers weren’t sure if the same would apply to humans.

In 1939, researcher Dr. Clara Davis announced Investigation This suggests that human infants, some of whom were malnourished, were able to make food choices that maintained their health. However, Davis’ conclusions have been criticized, and it would be unethical to replicate the study.

In the current study, researchers were particularly interested in whether humans tend to choose multiple foods that together provide different micronutrients.

If research shows that humans can do this, it suggests that some degree of “nutritional wisdom” is built in. Choosing foods with the same micronutrients is redundant because you are likely to consume more micronutrients than you need at the expense of others.

medical news today Speaking with Mark Schatzker, one of the study’s two authors, he said it’s important to be able to better understand how and why people choose certain foods.

“Eating is one of the most important behaviors from an instinctive and evolutionary point of view, and eating, especially overeating, is currently having dire health consequences.”
— Mark Shatker

“Understanding how food preferences are shaped and dietary decisions are made is essential if we are to have any hope of addressing an increasingly dysfunctional relationship with food,” Schatzker said. .

To do this, Schatzker and co-author Professor Jeff Brunstrom conducted two experiments with 128 adults. In each experiment, participants were shown images of different combinations of vegetables and fruits. Participants were asked which combination they liked.

In both experiments, participants chose combinations containing a greater variety of micronutrients.

Schatzker and Professor Branstrom then analyzed data from the British National Diet and Nutrition Survey.

They found that the combination of meals people make tends to increase the range of micronutrients they consume.

Schatzker said the findings show a general tendency for people to choose food combinations with more micronutrient diversity.

However, this did not necessarily mean that individuals deficient in certain micronutrients would be more attracted to certain foods.

“What we found was a generalized trend [toward] Consume “micronutrient complementarity”. Our subjects seemed to be attracted to food combinations that fully complemented the vitamins and minerals we needed. It’s a bait strategy. ”
— Mark Shatker

“This study does not tell us how individuals respond to specific nutrient needs.

“Interestingly, however, among British sailors who suffered from scurvy, one of the first symptoms was cravings for fruit and vegetables. It will consume everything.

Schatzker said the findings could impact how people are manipulated by the food industry’s use of synthetic flavors, which he explores in his book.Dorito effect.

“Past experiments have shown that animals use flavor as a guide to deliver important nutrients. Look for flavors that you associate with,” he explained.

“The food industry is adding synthetic flavors to foods such as soft drinks and potato chips. These appear on ingredient labels as artificial or natural flavors. If so, adding false flavors to junk foods can imbue these foods with a false nutritional “gloss” and entice you to eat foods you would otherwise ignore. ”
— Mark Shatker

“In other words, the food industry could be turning our nutritional wisdom against us,” Schatzker said. MNT.