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Diet and the Disease of Civilization

Adrienne Rose Bitar (author)

ISBN: 9780813589640

Publication Date: Dec 2017

Format: Paperback

Also available as: Hardback  

Diet books typically don't just tell readers what to eat: they offer complete philosophies about who we are and how we all should live. Diet and the Disease of Civilization interrupts the predictable debate about eating right to ask a hard question: what if it's not calories - but concepts - that should be counted?
£21.50

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  • Author Biography
  • Customer Reviews
Diet books, which have been bestsellers for over a hundred years, contribute to a $60 billion industry as they speak to the 45 million Americans who diet every year. Yet these books don't just tell readers what to eat: they offer complete philosophies about who Americans are and how we all should live. Diet and the Disease of Civilization interrupts the predictable debate about eating right to ask a hard question: what if it's not calories–but concepts–that should be counted?
 
Cultural critic Adrienne Rose Bitar reveals how four popular diets recreate the "Fall of Man" as the narrative backbone for our national consciousness. Intensifying the moral panic of the obesity epidemic, they depict civilization itself as a disease and offer diet as the one true cure. 

Bitar reads each diet–the Paleo Diet, the Garden of Eden Diet, the Pacific Island Diet, the detoxification or detox diet–as both a myth and a manual, a story with side effects igniting social movements, driving industry, and shaping fundamental ideas about sickness and health.  These are fresh stories with broader concerns and higher stakes than we have previously understood. Diet and the Disease of Civilization unearths the ways in which diet books are actually utopian manifestos not just for better bodies but also for a healthier society and a more perfect world.

Reviews

"Instead of evaluating diets by their ability to promote weight loss, Bitar reads them as powerful stories. She discovered that these seemingly mundane diet books reinvent history, measuring the success or failure of civilization by the health of body and body politic."-Cornell Chronicle

"Instead of evaluating diets by their ability to promote weight loss, Bitar reads them as powerful stories. She discovered that these seemingly mundane diet books reinvent history, measuring the success or failure of civilization by the health of body and body politic." -Cornell University Media Relations

"A multitude of controversial issues will encourage questions for discussion and analysis. This text is an appropriate addition to inquiry-type courses in food studies, the sociocultural aspects of food, and women's studies. Complex language and ideas make this work best suited for advanced students. Recommended." -Choice


"Bitar's very well-researched and intriguing analysis is worth the read, perhaps to those more interested in American studies than in utopian studies. For those whose interests overlap in the two areas, Diet and the Disease of Civilization is ideal." - Utopian Studies Review
Illustrations 10 black & white photographs, 5 colour photographs
Pages 244
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Dec 2017
Publisher Rutgers University Press
Subject/s Food & society  
Adrienne Rose Bitar is an American cultural critic specializing in food, health, and concepts of American civilization. She is a lecturer in American studies at Stanford University in California.

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