Anorexia as an evolved genetic response to famine

Shan Guisinger: Adapt to Flee Famine Perspective of Anorexia Evolution 1


 

In this podcast we talk about the Adapt to Flee Famine Perspective of Anorexia evolution with Shan Guisinger.

The Adapt to Flee Famine Perspective puts forward convincing evidence for the case that Anorexia is an evolved genetic response to times of famine. A migratory response that makes people with the genetic predisposition for Anorexia respond to energy deficit by wanting to exercise more and eat less.

You can find out more about Shan Guisinger here: http://www.adaptedtofamine.com/

Paper on The Adapt To Flee Famine Perspective: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14599241

 

People who have been in the Eating Disorder Advocacy world for a while likely won’t be shocked to hear that I am a big fan of Shan Guisinger’s Adapt to Flee Famine Perspective.
 
This has always seemed the most plausible, and scientifically-backed explanation to me. Even more so in light of the recent genetic findings.
 
Why is this important? Because for people like myself who struggled for years to admit to having an illness that they were bitterly ashamed of, it can be a game-changer in terms of recovery motivation to know that the urge to restrict and compulsion to exercise are evolved responses to famine. I could not control the urges — but I could control my reaction to them. It also helped me understand that the key to getting my life back would be gaining enough weight and getting out of energy deficit to shut that migratory response down.
 
So yes, this is important in terms of motivation and hope.

 

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About Tabitha Farrar

I work as Head of Marketing for a software startup in Boulder. As a recovered Anorexia sufferer, I advocate for proper understanding of eating disorders in my spare time. On that note, I wrote a book about my own journey into eating again called Love Fat.


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