In the broadest sense, all of Daniel Benyshek’s research interests coalesce around the central role maternal dietary factors play in the evolution of human health and disease. In his efforts to understand this relationship, he has conducted both experimental animal research and studies with human research participants to explore the effects of maternal diet during and immediately after pregnancy on maternal and child health. One line of research in this area investigates key maternal dietary factors during pregnancy and breastfeeding that are associated with obesity-related health disorders among global populations with the highest burden of these diseases. Another line of research interest focuses on the emerging practice of human postpartum consumption of the placenta - maternal placentophagy - and the potential health benefits and risks this practice may yield for both mother and child. As with his obesity-related health research, his interests are notably anthropological. He is curious about the evolutionary context in which mammalian placentophagy evolved as well as the reasons for its absence in the cross-cultural record and its recent emergence as a popular trend.
Ph.D. : Arizona State University; Anthropology (2001)
Diabetes and obesity, developmental origins of health and disease, evolutionary medicine, maternal and child health and nutrition, human placentophagy