The Aliment of Anxiety: Nutritional Advice Pertaining to Sugar in Post-WWII Canada
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This thesis traces changes in dietary recommendations regarding sugar from WWII to the 1970s, considering the ways advice was shaped, disseminated, and digested as it related to three competing but interconnected factors: the emergence of the Canadian state as a nutrition authority, food industry involvement in nutrition education, and affective dimensions of food selection during a turbulent period of Canada’s social and political history. It shows how nutrition experts were sometimes fettered and sometimes abetted by their relationship to science and the state. It demonstrates that, despite nutrition advertisers’ focus on economics and science in framing their advice, non-rational, non-nutritive food selection motivators persisted, and may have been especially potent in the Cold War age of anxiety. By examining the place of a beloved but nutritionally ambiguous food such as sugar in dietary advice, this thesis reveals the ideological underpinnings of such advice, and illuminates nutrition experts’ changing concerns.