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On the Ideology of Nutritionism
Vol. 8, No. 1 (Winter 2008), pp. 39-48
Published by: University of California Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/gfc.2008.8.1.39
Page Count: 10
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This essay introduces and defines the ideology or paradigm of nutritionism, which is generally characterized by a reductive focus on the nutrient composition of food. More specifically, it is where the nutri-biochemical level of engagement with food and the body becomes the dominant way of understanding the relationship between food and bodily health, and at the expense of other levels and ways of understanding and engaging with food. Nutritionism is the dominant paradigm within nutrition science, informs much dietary advice, and has become a primary means for the engineering and marketing of food products. A number of characteristics of nutritionism are defined, including nutritional reductionism, biomarker reductionism, genetic nutritionism, the functional body, the myth of nutritional precision, the nutritional gaze, and nutritional tinkering, nutri-quantification, the erasure of qualitatative food distinctions, nutrient fetishism, the 'good and bad nutrient' discourses, nutri-commodification, and the nutricentric person. A number of types of foods and types of food marketing are also introduced and defined, including nutritionally engineered foods, transnutric foods, nutritionally marketed foods and functionally marketed foods.