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Bad Foods demonstrates how a variety of historical or political events and personalities have shaped our current views of good nutrition. On several occasions in American history concerns have arisen over the safety of our food supply (e.g., harmful ingredients in processed foods) and the potential that processing might deplete foods of their nutrients. These concerns help explain how food characteristics such as freshness, natural, organic, and unprocessed have become important to Americans.
Bad Foods traces how the food nutrients fat, salt, and sugar have acquired negative reputations for health as well as any controversies and outright misconceptions of the dangers of these nutrients. Bad Foods also explores confusion that can in part be attributed to biased media coverage about foods. Modern Americans are routinely bombarded with information about the health value of certain foods and the dangers of others. Frequently, health information about certain nutrients receives exaggerated coverage (e.g., dietary fat) while the importance of other nutrients gets ignored (e.g., vitamins and minerals). Moreover, health information about foods is often perceived as contradictory.
While some readers may be startled by what they perceive to be a challenge to sacred beliefs about foods, others will see the honesty in both the research and the writing and recognize the social benefits of examining our beliefs about foods. Bad Foods will be of interest to sociologists, food science specialists, and social historians.