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From the imperial to the empty calorie: how nutrition relations underpin food regime transitions

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  • Jane Dixon

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    Abstract

    This article works in a recursive manner by using the tools of a food regime approach to reinterpret the nutrition transition that has been underway internationally for 100 years, and then describing the contributions of nutrition science to the 1st and 2nd Food Regimes and the passages between Food Regimes. The resulting history—from the ‘imperial calorie’ through the ‘protective’ vitamin to the ‘empty calorie’—illuminates a neglected dimension to food regime theorising: the role of socio-technical systems in shaping a set of value relations that are central to class relations. Contestation over one such system, nutritionalisation, currently involves an ungovernable array of actors. In describing the protagonists to the system of nutritionalisation, a classic confrontation emerges between technical and lifeworld rationality. Representing the former approach are actor networks responsible for the ‘trade-in-health’ sector which produces foods and nutritional values aimed at both over-nourished and under-nourished populations. Clinging to a lifeworld rationality are ‘culture eaters’ worldwide, for whom nutrition value relations are secondary to communal and ecological relations. This dynamic appears within wealthier Asian states which are emerging as central to the trade-in-nutritional health sector while acting to protect their own customary dietary practices. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10460-009-9217-6
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Agriculture and Human Values.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 321-333

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:26:y:2009:i:4:p:321-333

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    Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/10460

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    Related research

    Keywords: Food regimes; Nutrition transition; Public health; Socio-technical systems;

    References

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    1. Popkin, Barry M., 1999. "Urbanization, Lifestyle Changes and the Nutrition Transition," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(11), pages 1905-1916, November.
    2. Fogel,Robert William, 2004. "The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700–2100," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521004886.
    3. Zimmermann, Roukayatou & Qaim, Matin, 2004. "Potential health benefits of Golden Rice: a Philippine case study," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 147-168, April.
    4. Mendez, Michelle A. & Popkin, Barry M., 2004. "Globalization, Urbanization and Nutritional Change in the Developing World," eJADE: electronic Journal of Agricultural and Development Economics, Food and Agriculture Organization, Agricultural and Development Economics Division, vol. 1(2).
    5. Beghin, John C., 2006. "Evolving dairy markets in Asia: Recent findings and implications," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 195-200, June.
    6. Dawe, D. & Robertson, R. & Unnevehr, L., 2002. "Golden rice: what role could it play in alleviation of vitamin A deficiency?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 541-560.
    7. Carlsson-Kanyama, Annika & Ekstrom, Marianne Pipping & Shanahan, Helena, 2003. "Food and life cycle energy inputs: consequences of diet and ways to increase efficiency," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2-3), pages 293-307, March.
    8. Dong, Fengxia, 2006. "The outlook for Asian dairy markets: The role of demographics, income, and prices," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 260-271, June.
    9. Barry M. Popkin, 2003. "The Nutrition Transition in the Developing World," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 21(5-6), pages 581-597, December.
    10. World Bank, 2006. "Repositioning Nutrition as Central to Development : A Strategy for Large Scale Action," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7409, July.
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    Cited by:
    1. Richard Lee, 2012. "Knowledge claims and the governance of agri-food innovation," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 79-91, March.
    2. C. Hinrichs, 2014. "Transitions to sustainability: a change in thinking about food systems change?," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 143-155, March.
    3. Francisco Martinez-Gomez & Gilberto Aboites-Manrique & Douglas Constance, 2013. "Neoliberal restructuring, neoregulation, and the Mexican poultry industry," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 495-510, December.

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