Popularized by Michael Pollan in his best-selling In Defense of Food, Gyorgy Scrinis's concept of nutritionism refers to the reductive understanding of nutrients as the key indicators of healthy food—an approach that has dominated nutrition science, dietary advice, and food marketing. Scrinis argues this ideology has narrowed and in some cases distorted our appreciation of food quality, such that even highly processed foods may be perceived as healthful depending on their content of "good" or "bad" nutrients. Investigating the butter versus margarine debate, the battle between low-fat, low-carb, and other weight-loss diets, and the food industry's strategic promotion of nutritionally enhanced foods, Scrinis reveals the scientific, social, and economic factors driving our modern fascination with nutrition. Scrinis develops an original framework and terminology for analyzing the characteristics and consequences of nutritionism since the late nineteenth century. He begins with the era of quantification, in which the idea of protective nutrients, caloric reductionism, and vitamins' curative effects took shape. He follows with the era of good and bad nutritionism, which set nutricentric dietary guidelines and defined the parameters of unhealthy nutrients; and concludes with our current era of functional nutritionism, in which the focus has shifted to targeted nutrients, superfoods, and optimal diets. Scrinis's research underscores the critical role of nutrition science and dietary advice in shaping our relationship to food and our bodies and in heightening our nutritional anxieties. He ultimately shows how nutritionism has aligned the demands and perceived needs of consumers with the commercial interests of food manufacturers and corporations. Scrinis also offers an alternative paradigm for assessing the healthfulness of foods—the food quality paradigm—that privileges food production and processing quality, cultural-traditional knowledge, and sensual-practical experience, and promotes less reductive forms of nutrition research and dietary advice.
For decades, NGOs targeting world hunger focused on ensuring that adequate quantities of food were being sent to those in need. In the 1990s, the international food policy community turned its focus to the "hidden hunger" of micronutrient deficiencies, a problem that resulted in two scientific solutions: fortification, the addition of nutrients to processed foods, and biofortification, the modification of crops to produce more nutritious yields. This hidden hunger was presented as a scientific problem to be solved by "experts" and scientifically engineered smart foods rather than through local knowledge, which was deemed unscientific and, hence, irrelevant. In Hidden Hunger, Aya Hirata Kimura explores this recent emphasis on micronutrients and smart foods within the international development community and, in particular, how the voices of women were silenced despite their expertise in food purchasing and preparation. Kimura grounds her analysis in case studies of attempts to enrich and market three basic foods—rice, wheat flour, and baby food—in Indonesia. She shows the power of nutritionism and how its technical focus enhanced the power of corporations as a government partner while restricting public participation in the making of policy for public health and food. She also analyzes the role of advertising to promote fortified foodstuffs and traces the history of Golden Rice, a crop genetically engineered to alleviate vitamin A deficiencies. Situating the recent turn to smart food in Indonesia and elsewhere as part of a long history of technical attempts to solve the Third World food problem, Kimura deftly analyzes the intersection of scientific expertise, market forces, and gendered knowledge to illuminate how hidden hunger ultimately defined women as victims rather than as active agents.
This book explores food from a philosophical perspective, bringing together sixteen leading philosophers to consider the most basic questions about food: What is it exactly? What should we eat? How do we know it is safe? How should food be distributed? What is good food? David M. Kaplan’s erudite and informative introduction grounds the discussion, showing how philosophers since Plato have taken up questions about food, diet, agriculture, and animals. However, until recently, few have considered food a standard subject for serious philosophical debate. Each of the essays in this book brings in-depth analysis to many contemporary debates in food studies—Slow Food, sustainability, food safety, and politics—and addresses such issues as "happy meat," aquaculture, veganism, and table manners. The result is an extraordinary resource that guides readers to think more clearly and responsibly about what we consume and how we provide for ourselves, and illuminates the reasons why we act as we do.
The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues explores the topic of food across multiple disciplines within the social sciences and related areas including business, consumerism, marketing, and environmentalism. In contrast to the existing reference works on the topic of food that tend to fall into the categories of cultural perspectives, this carefully balanced academic encyclopedia focuses on social and policy aspects of food production, safety, regulation, labeling, marketing, distribution, and consumption. A sampling of general topic areas covered includes Agriculture, Labor, Food Processing, Marketing and Advertising, Trade and Distribution, Retail and Shopping, Consumption, Food Ideologies, Food in Popular Media, Food Safety, Environment, Health, Government Policy, and Hunger and Poverty. This encyclopedia introduces students to the fascinating, and at times contentious, and ever-so-vital field involving food issues. Key Features: Contains approximately 500 signed entries concluding with cross-references and suggestions for further readings Organized A-to-Z with a thematic “Reader’s Guide” in the front matter grouping related entries by general topic area Provides a Resource Guide and a detailed and comprehensive Index along with robust search-and-browse functionality in the electronic edition This three-volume reference work will serve as a general, non-technical resource for students and researchers who seek to better understand the topic of food and the issues surrounding it.
Food Ethics: The Basics is a concise yet comprehensive introduction to the ethical dimensions of the production and consumption of food. It offers an impartial exploration of the most prominent ethical questions relating to food and agriculture including: • Should we eat animals? • Are locally produced foods ethically superior to globally sourced foods? • Do people in affluent nations have a responsibility to help reduce global hunger? • Should we embrace bioengineered foods? • What should be the role of government in promoting food safety and public health? Using extensive data and real world examples, as well as providing suggestions for further reading, Food Ethics: The Basics is an ideal introduction for anyone interested in the ethics of food.
This second volume in the Food Policy series focuses on critical nutrition and dietetics studies, offering an innovative and interdisciplinary exploration of the complexities of the food supply and the actors in it through a new critical lens. The volume provides an overview of the growth of critical nutrition and dietetics since its inception in 2009, as well as commentary on its continuing relevance and its applicability in the fields of dietetic education, research, and practice. Chapters address key topics such as how to bring critical dietetics into conventional practice, applying critical diets in clinical practice, policy applications, and new perspectives on training and educating a critical nutrition and dietetic workforce. Contributing authors from around the globe also discuss the role of critical nutrition dietetics in industry, private practice, and consultancy, as well the role of critical dietetics in addressing the food, hunger, and health issues associated with the world economic crisis. The authors designed the volume to be a reference work for students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Critical Nutrition, Critical Food Studies, and Critical Dietetics. Each chapter offers concise aims and learning outcomes, as well as assignments for students and a concise chapter summary. These features enhance the value of the volume as a learning tool.
The Cultural Politics of Food, Taste, and Identity examines the social, cultural, and political processes that shape the experience of taste. The book positions flavor as involving all the senses, and describes the multiple ways in which taste becomes tied to local, translocal, glocal, and cosmopolitan politics of identity. Global case studies are included from Japan, China, India, Belize, Chile, Guatemala, the United States, France, Italy, Poland and Spain. Chapters examine local responses to industrialized food and the heritage industry, and look at how professional culinary practice has become foundational for local identities. The book also discusses the unfolding construction of “local taste” in the context of sociocultural developments, and addresses how cultural political divides are created between meat consumption and vegetarianism, innovation and tradition, heritage and social class, popular food and authenticity, and street and restaurant food. In addition, contributors discuss how different food products-such as kimchi, quinoa, and Soylent-have entered the international market of industrial and heritage foods, connecting different places and shaping taste and political identities.
In this challenging work, the author argues that the goal of any food system should not simply be to provide the cheapest calories possible. A secure food system is one that affords people and nations – in both the present and future – the capabilities to prosper and lead long, happy, and healthy lives. For a variety of reasons, food security has come to be synonymous with cheap calorie security. On this measure, the last fifty years have been a remarkable success. But the author shows that these cheap calories have also come at great cost, to the environment, individual and societal well-being, human health, and the food sovereignty of nations. The book begins by reviewing the concept of food security, particularly as it has been enacted within agrifood and international policy over the last century. After proposing a coherent definition the author then assesses empirically whether these policies have actually made us and the environment any better off. One of the many ways the author accomplishes this task is by introducing the Food and Human Security Index (FHSI) in an original attempt to better measure and quantify the affording qualities of food systems. A FHSI score is calculated for 126 countries based on indicators of objective and subjective well-being, nutrition, ecological sustainability, food dependency, and food system market concentration. The final FHSI ranking produces many counter-intuitive results. Why, for example, does Costa Rica top the ranking, while the United States comes in at number fifty-five? The author concludes by arguing for the need to reclaim food security by returning the concept to something akin to its original spirit, identified earlier in the book. While starting at the level of the farm the concluding chapter focuses most of its attention beyond the farm gate, recognizing that food security is more than just about issues surrounding production. For example, space is made in this chapter to address the important question of, "What can we eat if not GDP?" We need, the author contends, a thoroughly sociological rendering of food security: a position that views food security not as a thing – or an end in itself – but as a process that ought to make people and the Planet better off.
#1 New York Times Bestseller from the author of How to Change Your Mind, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and Food Rules Food. There's plenty of it around, and we all love to eat it. So why should anyone need to defend it? Because in the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion--most of what we’re consuming today is longer the product of nature but of food science. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American Paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we see to become. With In Defense of Food, Pollan proposes a new (and very old) answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.