One of the fundamental ‘wisdoms of the body’ is the wisdom to eat. Long before it was discovered why we eat or the concept and calculation of kilojoules was found, people knew enough that we needed to eat. This wisdom is still obviously ingrained in us, we eat when we are hungry, pick and don’t pick what we like or don’t like, and stop when we feel full.

These wisdoms of the body are not all inclusive and infallible in all individuals –otherwise everyone would be able to choose what he or she needs at all times, and the study of nutrition would be a waste of time.

The question arises as to what would happen if babies were given free choices, not only of approved foods and food mixtures, but also, for example, of candy and sweetened and unsweetened alcoholic beverages. Would their wisdom of the body triumph?

Experiments have been tried in which small children have been given a free choice of good wholesome foods, with the result that they all chose somewhat differently and still thrived.

With respect to the ability to make wise food choices, it is clear that good nutrition is an important factor. Evidence has been found in extensive experiments involving giving small children a free choice of sugar in their diets that, when the children are adequately nourished with a diet containing the proteins, minerals, and vitamins that they need, they voluntarily eat less sugar. It is evident that good nutrition promotes this wisdom of the body.

Other experiments involving rats, found that when given a choice between water and alcohol, they drank less alcohol on adequate diets than on inadequate ones. When the diet was deficient, all the animals lost their wisdom of the body and consumed alcohol at a high level. When the animals were given well-fortified diets supplemented particularly with vitamins, they all developed wisdom of the body and turned away from alcohol consumption.

Similar results have also been found with refined sugar. Rats on nutritionally deficient diets, when given a choice, consume more sugar than those which have their nutritional needs better satisfied.

Further research is probably needed into how far these animal experiments can be translated into human terms, however, these experiments do give strong corroboration as to what the central idea of self selection is about. Essentially when the body is nurtured through efficient individualised nutrition, we will tend to make the right food choices instinctively anyway.