Setting Nutritional Standards

Setting Nutritional Standards

Theory, Policies, Practices

Edited by Elizabeth Neswald, David F. Smith, Ulrike Thoms

Personal eBook

University of Rochester Press



Presents historical perspectives on the theory, practices, and policies of nutrition science in Western Europe and the United States from the 1860s to the 1960s.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, ways of thinking about food changed as chemists and physiologists identified nutrients and bodily needs and as urbanization, industrialization, and colonial encounters challenged traditional dietary customs and assumptions. Emerging as a reaction to concerns about industrial and military power, social welfare, and public health, the science of nutrition sought to define the norms and needs of variable human bodies, setting standards for bodies and foods that would enable physicians and politicians to develop nutritional recommendations and food policies for individuals and populations.

Setting Nutritional Standards brings together authors from a variety of disciplines to explore perspectives on the theory, practices, and policies of modern nutrition science from the 1860s to the 1960s. The essays place the new science of nutrition within the changing social landscapes of Western Europe and the United States at the intersection of medicine, policy, social reform agendas, and public health initiatives.

CONTRIBUTORS: Nick Cullather, Suzanne Junod, Deborah Neill, Elizabeth Neswald, David F. Smith, Ulrike Thoms, Corinna Treitel, Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska

Elizabeth Neswald is associate professor for the history of science and technology at Brock University, Canada. David F. Smith is Honorary Senior Lecturer in the history of medicine at the University of Aberdeen. Ulrike Thoms is a historian of science and researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.


11 black and white illustrations
238 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in Medical History
Personal eBook, 9781782049296, February 2017
Hardback, 9781580465762, February 2017
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MED060000, MED039000
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Table of Contents

Nutritional Knowledge between the Lab and the Field: The Search for Dietary Norms in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
How Vegetarians, Naturopaths, Scientists, and Physicians Unmade the Protein Standard in Modern Germany
Of Carnivores and Conquerors: French Nutritional Debates in the Age of Empire, 1890-1914
Setting Standards: The Soldier's Food in Germany, 1850-1960
The Quest for a Nutritional El Dorado: Efforts to Demonstrate Dietary Impacts on Resistance to Infectious Disease in the 1920s and 1930s
"Not a Complete Food for Man": The Controversy about White versus Wholemeal Bread in Interwar Britain
"Proscribing Deception": The Gould Net Weight Amendment and the Origins of Mandatory Nutrition Labeling
When Is a Famine Not a Famine? Gauging Indian Hunger in Imperial and Cold War Contexts
Selected Bibliography
List of Contributors

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