Pig Out Because You’re Poor?

Written by Lillian Tram on February 12th, 2013

 

Ok, maybe not because you are poor, per se, but NPR has a fascinating new article up recently about how evolutionary biologists have determined that people are more likely to pig out – i.e., gain weight – over time during two major periods: recessions, and winter time.

 

It makes sense when you think about it (and you can read more about it here on NPR’s website), but basically, it all comes down to scarcity. When food and other resources are scarcer, or at the very least when they are perceived to be scarcer, they come up more likely that you will use them to ensure that you survive.

 

 

 

That is, during times when money is tight, or when it’s cold outside and your body automatically switches into self-preservation mode, you become more likely over time to want to spend more money and resources to, as they say, “confront harsh conditions in the near future choose to eat higher-calorie food than they might do otherwise, a response that researchers believe is shaped by the long hand of evolution.”

 

People tend to seek out high calorie foods during these harsher times, even if they don’t need them on paper (i.e., if you aren’t necessarily affected by the recession, or if you already have heat at home during winter), simply because it is your body’s natural reaction over thousands and thousands of years of evolution to want to improve and ensure good health during what is perceived to be a difficult time and tough external factors placing pressure on you.

 

 

What do you guys think about this? On the one hand, it’s amazing evolutionary biology to think about how far we have come as a human race, and in spite of all that progress, how we are still tied to natural evolutionary impulses that guide our behavior in a way we wouldn’t even realize without being studied.

 

But on the other hand, does this take away all personal responsibility? You know, are they saying “hey, you’re not fat because you have no self control, you’re fat because of evolutionary biology.” Fair? Not fair? Seems like somewhat of a cop out, as interesting as it might be… but then again, I’m no evolutionary biologist! J

 

 

So just remember, then, that you may not have yourself to blame if you can’t seem to put down the cake this Valentine’s Day – it’s evolution!

 

Better view of the comic strip since the top version is hard to read.

16 Responses to “Pig Out Because You’re Poor?”

  1. Shawn says:

    It’s a PIGMAN! OMG… lol. Too scary to look at

  2. Danny Bleuse says:

    I believe that its rather a revolution and I must say that everyone should feel comfortable with themselves, no matter what.

  3. Paul says:

    I say eat what and when you want to. Life is too short sometimes to worry about every thing you put in your mouth. I think it is a combination of genetic memory of the body and psychological factors when it comes to how much or how little one eats during a lifetime.

  4. Chris W. says:

    This theory is fascinating. It is amazing how we are still affected by evolutionary forces. It also explains concerns over poor people frequenting McDonalds more often.

  5. TooYoungToDie says:

    yeah i agree life is too short

  6. Janie Westable says:

    It’s interesting to think that pigging out during “lean” times may be an evolutionary instinct, but it does make sense.

  7. Sandy Beach says:

    I definitely become a porker in the winter time. I don’t know what it is, but the more I sit around the bigger I get. This article is making me want to get in shape.

  8. karen richards says:

    Evolutionary biology or not we still are the ones making the decision to overeat or not.

  9. david more says:

    I think this is true at some sense, I for once have done some of it. I think the taught of less food make us want more and more and sometimes when I am under stress I do find eating comforting, comfort food as the saying goes.

  10. Sarah says:

    no more pig action

  11. Chris Willie says:

    I must say that this article was really intriguing.

  12. Cindy Freeman says:

    Pigs are among the most intelligent animals in the world.

  13. Dawn says:

    How did I miss this on NPR? I am an avid listener, but somehow mised this. Thanks for the info and for the link. Interesting and I think valid!

  14. CindyLouWho says:

    It makes total sense that in times of hardship the human body goes back to natural instinct to consume as many calories as possible. It’s almost like the brain overrides the body and puts us in starvation mode. Also, that pig face on a human body is pure nightmare fuel.

  15. Annalise loves piggies! says:

    I actually missed this too on NPR. Good thing you always keep us updated 🙂

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