Food Aversions and Cravings during Pregnancy on Yasawa Island, Fiji

Published on Sep 1, 2016in Human Nature
· DOI :10.1007/s12110-016-9262-y
Luseadra McKerracher4
Estimated H-index: 4
(SFU: Simon Fraser University),
Mark Collard34
Estimated H-index: 34
(SFU: Simon Fraser University),
Joseph Henrich62
Estimated H-index: 62
(Harvard University)
Women often experience novel food aversions and cravings during pregnancy. These appetite changes have been hypothesized to work alongside cultural strategies as adaptive responses to the challenges posed by pregnancy (e.g., maternal immune suppression). Here, we report a study that assessed whether data from an indigenous population in Fiji are consistent with the predictions of this hypothesis. We found that aversions focus predominantly on foods expected to exacerbate the challenges of pregnancy. Cravings focus on foods that provide calories and micronutrients while posing few threats to mothers and fetuses. We also found that women who experience aversions to specific foods are more likely to crave foods that meet nutritional needs similar to those provided by the aversive foods. These findings are in line with the predictions of the hypothesis. This adds further weight to the argument that appetite changes may function in parallel with cultural mechanisms to solve pregnancy challenges.
  • References (85)
  • Citations (6)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
7 Citations
22 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
#1Caitlyn D. Placek (WSU: Washington State University)H-Index: 6
#2Edward H. HagenH-Index: 20
Pregnancy involves puzzling aversions to nutritious foods. Although studies generally support the hypotheses that such aversions are evolved mechanisms to protect the fetus from toxins and/or pathogens, other factors, such as resource scarcity and psychological distress, have not been investigated as often. In addition, many studies have focused on populations with high-quality diets and low infectious disease burden, conditions that diverge from the putative evolutionary environment favoring fe...
15 CitationsSource
#1Luseadra McKerracher (SFU: Simon Fraser University)H-Index: 4
#2Mark Collard (SFU: Simon Fraser University)H-Index: 17
Last. Joseph Henrich (CIFAR: Canadian Institute for Advanced Research)H-Index: 62
view all 3 authors...
Abstract We report a study on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP) and pregnancy-related food aversions in a small-scale society from Yasawa Island, Fiji. Because NVP has rarely been studied quantitatively in small-scale populations, we begin with a detailed description of its expression among the women of Yasawa. We found that 66% of these women experience nausea and/or vomiting in tandem with the development of aversions to certain foods. This pattern of expression is similar to what has bee...
5 CitationsSource
Abstract Pregnancy sickness is widespread in human mothers but its etiology, somewhat surprisingly, remains unclear. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) has long been considered a prime hormonal suspect, but the correlation between pregnancy sickness and hCG levels is imperfect resulting in uncertainty about its causal role. As others have noted part of this uncertainty likely stems from the structural and functional diversity of hCG. One enigmatic role of hCG is its action as a thyroid stimulato...
4 CitationsSource
#1James Broesch (UW: University of Wisconsin-Madison)H-Index: 11
#2H. Clark Barrett (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 26
Last. Joseph Henrich (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 62
view all 3 authors...
Prior work has demonstrated that young children in the US and the Ecuadorian Amazon preferentially remember information about the dangerousness of an animal over both its name and its diet. Here we explore if this bias is present among older children and adults in Fiji through the use of an experimental learning task. We find that a content bias favoring the preferential retention of danger and toxicity information continues to operate in older children, but that the magnitude of the bias dimini...
15 CitationsSource
#1Margaret P. RaymanH-Index: 41
#2Sarah C. BathH-Index: 17
Last. Pauline EmmettH-Index: 2
view all 5 authors...
7 CitationsSource
#1Judit Svensson-Arvelund (Linköping University)H-Index: 9
#2Jan Ernerudh (Linköping University)H-Index: 44
Last. Marijke M. Faas (UG: University of Groningen)H-Index: 39
view all 10 authors...
During pregnancy, the maternal immune system is challenged by the semiallogeneic fetus, which must be tolerated without compromising fetal or maternal health. This review updates the systemic and local immune changes taking place during human pregnancy, including some examples in rodents. Systemic changes are induced by contact of maternal blood with placental factors and include enhanced innate immunity with increased activation of granulocytes and nonclassical monocytes. Although a bias toward...
41 CitationsSource
126k Citations
#1Michelle A. Kline (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 9
#2Robert Boyd (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 60
Last. Joseph Henrich (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 62
view all 3 authors...
Much existing literature in anthropology suggests that teaching is rare in non-Western societies, and that cultural transmission is mostly vertical (parent-to-offspring). However, applications of evolutionary theory to humans predict both teaching and non-vertical transmission of culturally learned skills, behaviors, and knowledge should be common cross-culturally. Here, we review this body of theory to derive predictions about when teaching and non-vertical transmission should be adaptive, and ...
59 CitationsSource
The high prevalence of type 2 diabetes and its uneven distribution among human populations is both a major public health concern and a puzzle in evolutionary biology. Why is this deleterious disease so common, while the associated genetic variants should be removed by natural selection? The ‘thrifty genotype’ hypothesis proposed that the causal genetic variants were advantageous and selected for during the majority of human evolution. It remains, however, unclear whether genetic data support thi...
19 CitationsSource
#1Elizabeth A. Brown (Harvard University)H-Index: 2
#2Maryellen Ruvolo (Harvard University)H-Index: 21
Last. Pardis C. Sabeti (MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology)H-Index: 60
view all 3 authors...
When considering selective forces shaping human evolution, the importance of pregnancy to fitness should not be underestimated. Although specific mortality factors may only impact upon a fraction of the population, birth is a funnel through which all individuals must pass. Human pregnancy places exceptional energetic, physical, and immunological demands on the mother to accommodate the needs of the fetus, making the woman more vulnerable during this time-period. Here, we examine how metabolic im...
15 CitationsSource
Cited By6
#1Gabriela Pereira Teixeira (UFU: Federal University of Uberlandia)H-Index: 2
#2Laura Cristina Tibiletti Balieiro (UFU: Federal University of Uberlandia)H-Index: 4
Last. Cibele Aparecida Crispim (UFU: Federal University of Uberlandia)H-Index: 14
view all 6 authors...
BACKGROUND: This cross-sectional study investigated the association between chronotype, food craving and weight gain in pregnant women. METHODS: In total, 245 pregnant women attending the public health service in Brazil were included. Chronotype was derived from the time of mid-sleep time on free days, with a further correction for calculated sleep debt, and higher scores on this variable indicate a tendency to eveningness. A Food Craving Questionnaire Trait and State assessment was performed, a...
#1Brooke A. Scelza (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 15
#2Katie Hinde (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 1
Last. Katie HindeH-Index: 18
view all 2 authors...
Maternal grandmothers play a key role in allomaternal care, directly caring for and provisioning their grandchildren as well as helping their daughters with household chores and productive labor. Previous studies have investigated these contributions across a broad time period, from infancy through toddlerhood. Here, we extend and refine the grandmothering literature to investigate the perinatal period as a critical window for grandmaternal contributions. We propose that mother-daughter co-resid...
1 CitationsSource
#1Caitlyn D. Placek (FIU: Florida International University)H-Index: 6
#2Purnima Madhivanan (FIU: Florida International University)H-Index: 20
Last. Edward H. Hagen (WSU: Washington State University)H-Index: 20
view all 3 authors...
7 CitationsSource
#1Caitlyn Placek (BSU: Ball State University)H-Index: 2
2 CitationsSource
Last. John WorobeyH-Index: 20
view all 3 authors...
#1Adrian C. Williams (University of Birmingham)H-Index: 17
#2Lisa J Hill (University of Birmingham)H-Index: 9
Hunting for meat was a critical step in all animal and human evolution. A key brain-trophic element in meat is vitamin B3 /nicotinamide. The supply of meat and nicotinamide steadily increased from the Cambrian origin of animal predators ratcheting ever larger brains. This culminated in the 3-million-year evolution of Homo sapiens and our overall demographic success. We view human evolution, recent history, and agricultural and demographic transitions in the light of meat and nicotinamide intake....
6 CitationsSource
#1Ziyi Li (UMD: University of Maryland, College Park)H-Index: 1
#2Cynthia T. Srigley (CFSAN: Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition)H-Index: 6
Dietary supplements containing long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are frequently consumed in the United States (US) to support health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Gummy supplements which are formulated to contain marine oils are perceived as more palatable alternatives to conventional marine oil soft gels or liquids. However, despite the increasing popularity of these products, a validated method...
2 CitationsSource
#1Ryan J. Wood-Bradley (Monash University, Clayton campus)H-Index: 6
#2Sarah L. Henry (Monash University, Clayton campus)H-Index: 5
Last. James A. Armitage (Monash University, Clayton campus)H-Index: 26
view all 5 authors...
Over the past 100 years, advances in pharmaceutical and medical technology have reduced the burden of communicable disease, and our appreciation of the mechanisms underlying the development of noncommunicable disease has broadened. During this time, a number of studies, both in humans and animal models, have highlighted the importance of maintaining an optimal diet during pregnancy. In particular, a number of studies support the hypothesis that suboptimal maternal protein and fat intake during p...
11 CitationsSource