The first historical study of diet books, Dr. Adrienne Rose Bitar’s book Diet and the Disease of Civilization examines how four popular plans — Paleo, biblical, primitive, and detox diets — reflect and shape our social world.
Bitar categorized 17,000 diet books based on their titles. All of them, from Paleo to the “biblical diets” and even the first diet book by William Banting, center around the conversation of who are we, what do we eat, and why? The texts claim that we have fallen as a people and we need to regain that “original health” through diet.
Listen here to Episode 103 here:
Adrienne Rose Bitar is a diet and food historian and recent author of Diet and the Disease of Civilization. The first historical study of diet books, Bitar’s book examines how four popular plans — Paleo, biblical, primitive, and detox diets — reflect and shape our social world. Previous food publications include studies of competitive eating, food art, and the Paleo diet. In the popular press, she has published on migrant child farm labor, locavorism, and weight-gain diets.
Bitar earned her PhD from Stanford in 2016 and is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in History at Cornell. Bitar’s recent research project is on fake meat and she teaches courses on food studies and the history of health and fitness culture.
- Adrienne’s WIRED article: The Government’s Role in the Rise of Lab-Grown Meat
- Body Kindness Episode 100: Diet Culture Exists Because We Don’t Want to Die with Michelle Allison the Fat Nutritionist
- Body Kindness Episode 85: Doing Harm – The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick with feminist author Maya Dusenbery
- New York Times: What We Know About Diet and Weight Loss: After decades of research, there are shockingly few firm conclusions.