Addictions and other obsessive disorders…whether or not they’re genetically inherited, utterly random or cultivated by environment and upbringing, is a discussion that’s never been resolved. Some sufferers feel certain that they were different from birth, sometimes talking about the sensation of ‘something missing’ or ‘something being wrong’, a sensation they recall having as soon as they were conscious. Others feel that there’s no rhyme, reason or explanation for their ailment and that it’s as if it came from nowhere. Now, however, a study by University College London is lending some weight to the suggestion that at least one category of disorder – eating disorders – is learned, not genetically inherited. Perhaps you’re already well-informed on such matters, and know, for example, that booking gay massage is a better form of feelings-management than reaching for a pile of donuts. If not, read on.
The research indicates that children who either under- or over-eat when suffering stress, have seen their parents behave the same way. In other words, they’re copying something, something that’s been inculcated by nurture not nature. Another influencing factor is that many parents will give a distressed or upset child more of their favourite foods in order to calm them. Eating disorder charities have entered the discussion to reassure parents that these findings do not mean they are to blame. Alas, this doesn’t alter the fact that children using food, often sugar-laden treats, in order to stabilise their emotions, can have severe consequences later on in life, not only predisposing the child to a over-eating but to other forms of emotional regulation via substances and alcohol. It also means that obesity becomes more likely, as well as other eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and compulsive binge-eating.
The research, by shedding light on how such tendencies develop, could give the world of medicine more clues as to how to prevent or heal them. The findings were first published in the Pediatric Obesity journal and its subjects were over 400 sets of identical twins. These subjects were already part of the Twins Early Development Study. Around 50 per cent of them came from obese families, meaning they were already at greater risk of obesity, and half came from parents with a normal weight. Parents were asked to report on their offspring’s eating habits and their tendency (or not) to use food emotionally. Questions included: ‘Does your child eat more when irritable or less when sad?’. Bit by bit, a picture, or rather, several pictures, emerged. Data from non-identical twins was compared with that of identical, and there was little difference. This indicated that environment rather than genes was the big influencer.
Where previous studies had found evidence in favour of the genetic explanation (and it’s still thought that things like speed of eating, how soon a person feels full and whether or not you eat solely for pleasure, are genetic traits). But eating on emotions is, it would seem, determined by environment. The pattern – using food to pacify children or to attempt to influence their behaviour – is passed down from one generation to the next, so it can masquerade as genetic. If you find yourself over- or -under-eating because of emotional upheaval, why not book male massage London? Pick up the phone instead of that piece of cake and interrupt the pattern today.