Why does meat taste so good?

I’m a vegetarian. And I think everyone should try it.

The problem is though, it’s very heard because steak tastes so good. So do ribs. So does chicken. And many, many other meat based foods. Meat tastes amazing!

So here is the question – if vegetables are so good for us, why don’t they taste amazing? Think about it from an evolutionary perspective – if you had a human who preferred eating food that was good for them, then they would prosper, so you would expect natural selection to lead us to humans that love vegetables because they are really good for us.

But we don’t have that, we live in a world where many people eat vegetables because they are good for us but enjoy eating meat far more.

This seems strange, much like the problem of natural selection and homosexuality, and much like that problem, I’m sure there is an answer to it.

My guess would be this – back when humans were evolving, there was a lot of plant life and vegetables to be eaten. Humans didn’t actually have to like them to eat loads of them because they were the most abundant food source and so people ate plenty of vegetables anyway, by default almost.

People do need a bit of meat though, or at least, did in those days, and that was much rarer and indeed, harder to get hold of. So it had to taste good to motivate humans to go out and hunt down animals for meat.

Of course, that could all be nonsense, that’s the best-educated guess I can come up with sitting here as a computer scientist with a casual interest in evolutionary biology and the combined knowledge of the first two chapters of Richard Dawkins’ Climbing Mount Improbable.

Another reason is that it could just be an accident of the way that the human taste sense has evolved and the texture of meat. Maybe someone who studies biology can enlighten us?



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This entry was posted on Sunday, November 13th, 2011 at 12:01 pm and is filed under Science, Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.