Food Ideology2

March 3, 2019 | Author: RD Patrick Awuku Larbi | Category: Foods, Alternative Medicine, Nutrition, Healthy Diet, Social Group
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Learning Objectives 

To define define food ideology ideology

To discuss discuss some some food ideologies

To examine the implications of food ideologies on dietary practice

What is an ideology?  A set of beliefs ,especially one held by a particular group that influences the way people behave

Ideologies  Political  Economic   Social   Religious 

What is a food Ideology?  

Definition: It is the sum of the attitudes, beliefs, customs and taboos affecting the diet of a given group. (Eckstein 1980) Simple interpretation:  What people think of as food  What effect they think food will have on their health  What they think is suitable for different ages and groups

Food Ideology (II) These attitudes and beliefs are often learned  Effect? 

 Acquired taste :people may eat certain foods which are not intrinsically appealing  Unusual dietary choices 

Different food choices: 

variety of foods in various societies but no social group classifies all the potential foodstuffs available as food

Ethnocentrism 

It describes the belief that one’s own pattern of behaviour are preferable to those of all other cultures. Ethnocentrism makes us accept and eat foods regarded as acceptable by our culture People think their choice of food is right, best and normal. This often results in food ridicule (certain derogatory or mocking statements are made against other human groups) Ethnocentrism can evoke both physiological & psychological feeling Exposure to unfamiliar food habits brings ethnocentrism to the fore,

Culture Relativism 

It is an approach to understand cultures in order to overcome in-built prejudices of ethnocentrism. Cultural practices of the indigenous group are examined and practices that are not dysfunctional as normal practices are accepted even though they may be different from familiar practices.  Acceptance of unfamiliar food practices leads to understanding of the food practices and

Food categorization Methods of categorization of foods vary in every society.   Categorization may be based on 

nutritional value,  socio-cultural uses of food   combination of nutritional & sociocultural usage 

Some of these categorizations may be rational or irrational

Food categorization by nutritional value 

Most modern day categorizations of foods are based on nutritional value   Eatwell Plate (UK)  Healthy Eating Plate (US)   Healthy Eating Steps (Ghana ) Food guides are likely to change over the years to reflect patterns of production and consumption & introduce ideas of proportionality and moderation

Changes in US Food guide m

US food guide: current

Food Guide 

Advantages  Assist in healthy food choices and planning of a balanced diet within the framework of normal cultural practices

Limitations 

 Designed to meet the desires of powerful interest groups

May include cultural practices with built-in biases and prejudices, from the researcher’s perspective

Consumer classification of foods 

Schutz, Rucker and Russel (1975) 5 main categories of food

High calorie foods

high calorie foods considered appropriate for social occasions e.g cakes and pies

Specialty meal items

Served in particular circumstances (not everyday foods)

Common meal items

Foods suitable for all occasions and ages

Refreshing foods

Foods such as milk and orange juice that were often served cold

T Inexpensive filling foods Often high calorie but lacked the social These classifications are potential ‘popular’tools for function or prestige of foods in category 1 teaching sound nutrition

World wide classification system of foods: cultural groups 

Most cultural groups classify foods according to their functional role, perceived and nonnutritional effects Dominant staple foods of a society Derek Jelliffe: 5 classifications

Cultural superfoods

Prestige foods

Reserved for important occasions or for important people (x’terised by scarcity and high price)

Body-image foods

Contribute to good health by maintaining a balance in the body eg. Hot-cold foods, fattening and slimming foods

Sympathetic magic foods

Foods containing special properties which are imparted to those who eat them

Physiological foods

Foods restricted to persons of a particular age, sex or physiological condition

Food categorization: Passim and Bennet  

Purpose of food categorization Society  To reveal the values assigned to food Nutritionist/ dietitian  Concerned with promotion of healthy eating food choices and habits Passim and Bennet (1943) devised a useful approach that incorporates both purposes: how foods are assigned value in the society + promoting healthy eating habits and choices

Food categorisation: Passim and Bennet Core foods regular, staple, important and consistently used food: mainstay of diet

e.g cereals, staples, bread

Secondary foods widespread but not universally used: supporting actors

e.g fruits & vegetables

Peripheral foods least common & infrequently consumed e.g. (new foods or items)

e.g. crabs, offal, mushrooms, beans

Greatest resistance to dietary modification

changes in choices more readily accepted

(more amenable to change

Benefits of Passim and Benefits Approach 

Indicates which areas of patient’s diet could be easily modified Helps to anticipate which food habits or patterns would be difficult to change or modify  Adds to understanding of non compliance with dietary regimes

Food categorization: Allopathic Medicine (I) 

 Ancient food categories were based on actual or imagined properties and their supposed effect on the body or disease processes.  Allopathic medicine is an ancient system of treatment by opposites Foods, diseases and parts of the body are assigned various attributes, notably hotcold concept

Food categorization: Allopathic Medicine (II) 

Foods, diseases and parts of the body are assigned various attributes: hot and cold Diseases occur when the body is out of balance and balance is restored by treating a cold illness with hot or heating foods and vice –versa Practiced in many parts of the world (India, China, Mediterranean, Latin America, North  Africa & Caribbean)

Limitations of categorization based on allopathic medicine 

Variance in food classification 

Different classification of foods in different cultures

Different classification of foods within cultures

Classification does not seem to correspond to physical properties of food

In some societies adherence to these classifications varies with level of sophistication, economic means and physiological state

Food ideologies: Implications for dietary practice 

Food ideologies: 

help to understand the ineffectiveness of conventional nutritional counseling among societies that reject scientific values.

 Adds to our understanding of patient’s noncompliance with dietary regimes

Lack of understanding of traditional food systems creates barriers to well-intentioned attempts to introduce changes in food habits

Sound nutritional practices may , with care be Development and reinforcemment of existing traditional systems

What have we achieved? 

We can define food ideologies

We can describe food classification by consumers, nutrition professionals and some societies

Further Reading 

Chapter 2 : Food and nutrition: Customs and Culture (Paul Fieldhouse)

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