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Ecol Food Nutr. 2012;51(5):365-73. doi: 10.1080/03670244.2012.696007.

Biocultural considerations of food cravings and aversions: an introduction.

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Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60607, USA.


Food is fundamental to our existence as humans, but assertions about the kinds of foods that are appealing or repulsive vary widely. This thematic issue deals with assessments of food as desirable, or not, in order to understand the complex reasons why some foods are strongly craved while others are avoided. To do this, the five articles in this issue situate food cravings and aversions bioculturally, in the contexts of our history as a species, in the landscape of cultural heritage, and in the individual life course. By exploring both the biological and cultural mechanisms that shape food preferences, we reveal the complex and important underpinnings of the critical endeavor of food selection.

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