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Food Faddism, Cultism, and Quackery

Food Faddism, Cultism, and Quackery "Food faddism" commonly connotes erroneous ideas and practices involving nutrition. As often used, however, the term lacks clear definition and is so loosely employed that it is ineffective in combatting the problems it encompas­ ses. Such terms as "food cultism" and "nutrition quackery ," denoting compo­ nents of food faddism, also need clarification if rational solutions are to be achieved. A fad is "a practice or interest followed for a short time with exaggerated zeal" (86). At first glance, food faddism appears to mean an inclination to take up fads involving foods. While this might be adequate for transitory fads, many concepts associated with food faddism perennially recur. Food faddism is expressed in the deep· philosophical commitment of its devotees. It is apparent that the phenomenon is much more than a clever marketing scheme. Today's food faddism can be linked historically to the 19th century health reform movement, which combined enthusiasms for Christian perfectionism, romantic primitivism, educational innovation, and "scientific" progress (88), the role of science being to prove the superiority of the move­ ment's ideology. The health reform movement incorporated a complete world view, but no single aspect of behavior was considered more important than diet. The http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Nutrition Annual Reviews

Food Faddism, Cultism, and Quackery

Annual Review of Nutrition , Volume 3 (1) – Jul 1, 1983

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Publisher
Annual Reviews
Copyright
Copyright 1983 Annual Reviews. All rights reserved
Subject
Review Articles
ISSN
0199-9885
eISSN
1545-4312
DOI
10.1146/annurev.nu.03.070183.000343
pmid
6315036
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

"Food faddism" commonly connotes erroneous ideas and practices involving nutrition. As often used, however, the term lacks clear definition and is so loosely employed that it is ineffective in combatting the problems it encompas­ ses. Such terms as "food cultism" and "nutrition quackery ," denoting compo­ nents of food faddism, also need clarification if rational solutions are to be achieved. A fad is "a practice or interest followed for a short time with exaggerated zeal" (86). At first glance, food faddism appears to mean an inclination to take up fads involving foods. While this might be adequate for transitory fads, many concepts associated with food faddism perennially recur. Food faddism is expressed in the deep· philosophical commitment of its devotees. It is apparent that the phenomenon is much more than a clever marketing scheme. Today's food faddism can be linked historically to the 19th century health reform movement, which combined enthusiasms for Christian perfectionism, romantic primitivism, educational innovation, and "scientific" progress (88), the role of science being to prove the superiority of the move­ ment's ideology. The health reform movement incorporated a complete world view, but no single aspect of behavior was considered more important than diet. The

Journal

Annual Review of NutritionAnnual Reviews

Published: Jul 1, 1983

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