Paradox of Plenty

(Levensten, Harvey. Paradox of Plenty, A Social History of Eating in Modern America. Revise Ed. University of California Press, 2003.)

  • In the 1920’s the ideal frame for females was slender, this didn’t change much despite the Great Depression causing food scarcity (9-10)
  • In the 1930’s over-consumption of calories took the blame for obesity (10)
  • During the great depression upper and middle class women continued restrictive diets to get skinnier (11)
  • Advertisers of processed foods added claims to their ads that their foods were fat-burning or “quick energy” (11)
  • Radio promotions of medications for dieting were usually not caught for false claims because they were live and not recorded (11)
  • Chicago’s health commissioner, Dr. Herman Bundesen, claimed in 1934, “Remember that every pound lost is health gained, beauty added, dieting to reduce is dieting for health.” (12)
  • During this time the idea that you should eat what is healthy not what is tasty was spread (12)
  • Millers secured endorsements from the AMA to claim white bread as a nutritious food (15) circa 1930’s
  • 1930’s canneries had a bill passed that placed a label on some canned products that they were “Below U.S. Standard, Low Quality but Not Illegal” in an attempt to knock smaller companies out of competition (17)
  • The rise of giant corporations added variety with new foods and new preparations methods, however by mass producing and distributing they began to standardize the American diet (27) 1930’s
  • International growing and canning processes removed seasonality from the American diet (27) 1930’s
  • Rural women liked the convenience of processed foods (28)
  • Farmers and farm blocs in congress were against feeding the poor with their excess grain (55)

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