Throughout history humans have had to adapt to changing conditions in order to survive. Food shortages are one of the major pressures that have shaped past populations. Because of this, the human body has many physiological adaptations that allow it to go extended periods of time consuming little to no food. These adaptations also allow the body to recover quickly once food becomes available. They include changes in metabolism that allow different fuel sources to be used for energy, the storing of excess energy absorbed from food in the forms of glycogen and fat to be used in between meals, and a reduction in the basal metabolic rate in response to starvation, as well as physiological changes in the small intestines. Even in places where starvation is not a concern today, these adaptations are still important as they also have an effect on weight gain and dieting in addition to promoting survival when the body is in a starved state.
Disclaimer: The initial goal of this project was to present this information as a podcast episode as a part of a series aimed at teaching the general public about human physiological adaptations. Due to the circumstances with COVID-19 we were unable to meet to make a final recording of the podcast episode. A recording of a practice session recorded earlier in the year has been uploaded instead and is therefore only a rough draft.