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Psychol Rev. 1991 Apr;98(2):218-23.

A contrarian view of the wisdom of the body as it relates to dietary self-selection.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


The history of studies of dietary self-selection in cafeteria-feeding situations is reviewed briefly. The evidence is not consistent with the view that replete animals can reliably compose a nutritionally adequate diet from an array of food in a cafeteria situation. Similarly, the evidence is not consistent with the view that when deficient in a nutrient (excepting the case of sodium and, perhaps, of phosporus), animals can reliably select a nutritionally adequate diet when it is present among several deficient diets. General acceptance of the view that omnivores can easily self-select nutritionally adequate diet is attributed both to overreliance on theory and to lack of critical attention to data. The adequacy of functional arguments suggesting that omnivores must be able to self-select nutritionally adequate diets is questioned.

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