Are You What Your Ancestors Ate?

Are you what your ancestors ate? The idea that the eating habits of our parents and even grandparents could determine our diet, food choices, body metabolism and a variety of other important characteristics is not new. Scholars have been kicking the idea around for centuries. The idea has gotten new life in the last twenty years.

Is it really true that our parents transmit their eating habits to us and their experiences with food are sent along through our genes? The notion has been aptly summarized in this question. Are you what your grandmother ate? Did grandma set us up to get fat around the middle because she ate too much pasta during her pregnancies? Here, we'll look at the evidence that supports the idea...

Blue baby shoes on his mother's belly as she awaits his birth.

Undernutrition in the Womb

Undernutrition in the womb has many surprising life-long health outcomes. To better understand undernutrition, we’ll review the scientific studies generated by one of the most amazing natural experiments in history—the Dutch Hunger War. For one year, an entire population was severely malnourished. After that year, food was available again. This natural experiment gives us a window on undernutrition in the womb and its role in our health.

Cover image from Pixabay.

What We'll Talk About

Picture of the definition of the word dictionary in a dictionary.

Terms You’ll Want to Know

Words to Describe Early Child Development

Antenatal: The developmental period of the unborn child between conception and birth. Synonym is antepartum which probably refers more to the mother's condition before birth, as contrasted to postpartum referring to afterbirth.
Prenatal: The period before birth during pregnancy. Basically, a synonym of antenatal.
Neonatal: The newborn, usually the first month after birth.
Perinatal: Period "around birth", usually five months before birth and one month after birth.
Postnatal: Period immediately after birth of th...