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Nutritionism is an important contribution to the discourse of the alternative food movement, providing a unique, scholarly rationale for the food-quality paradigm. Gyorgy Scrinis provides a new language for talking about how our ideas about what makes a good diet have come to be.
Scrinis details the ideology of 'nutritionism,' in which the great majority of dietary advice is reduced to statements about a few nutrients. The resulting cascade is nutrient-based dietary guidelines, nutrition labeling, food engineering, and food marketing. I agree with Scrinis that a broader focus on foods would lead to quite a different scientific and political cascade, including a more healthful diet for many people and a different relationship between the public and the food industry.
This book artfully brings together two fields. One is the huge body of scholarly and popular texts that provide nutritional advice, or tell us what to eat. Scrinis has combed through this literature in exhaustive detail to provide a magnificent synthesis. The other field is what I would call critical nutrition studies, referring to a growing literature that interrogates and historicizes nutritional advice. Scrinis critiques this on its own terms and then suggests other approaches to evaluating food.
It is an arithmetic of which too many of us are capable--casting our eyes over our plates and calculating under our breath the balance of carbohydrate, protein, calorie, and other nutritional values. The origins of this very modern, very capitalist grace are laid bare in Gyorgy Scrinis's important, iconoclastic, and long-awaited study. If you care about the nutritional content of your food, you should care about why you care. Nutritionism, in large doses, has the answers.
Clear and readable overview of food, diet, and what we do and don't know about it.
An impressive work of detailed scholarship and highly recommended for academic library Health & Medicine reference collections.
List of Abbreviations
1. A Clash of Nutritional Ideologies
2. The Nutritionism Paradigm: Reductive Approaches to Nutrients
3. The Era of Quantifying Nutritionism: Protective Nutrients
4. The Era of Good- and-Bad Nutritionism: Bad Nutrients and Nutricentric Dietary Guidelines
5. The Macronutrient Diet Wars: From the Low-Fat Campaign to Low-Calorie
6. Margarine, Butter, and the Trans-Fats Fiasco
7. The Era of Functional Nutritionism: Functional Nutrients
8. Functional Foods: Nutritional Engineering
9. The Food Quality Paradigm: Alternative Approaches to Food and the Body
10. After Nutritionism
Appendix: The Nutritionism and Food Quality Lexicon
Columbia University Press