Project Title

DEFINING “HEALTHY”: CHANGING FOOD TRENDS OVER THE PAST 150 YEARS

Presenters

Faculty Sponsor Name

Evelina Sterling

We were doing a meta-analysis and not including any human subjects. There was no need for IRB approval.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

For over a century, society’s goal has been to achieve healthier eating habits. The U.S. regularly implicates ways to encourage better eating habits among individuals. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the definition of “health” has evolved throughout the history by assessing specific health food trends. By assessing the evidence contained in four websites and twelve journal articles, a meta-analysis of the history of current food trends was developed, including the introduction of the first food store, the beginning of vegan food as well as frozen food, and the start of genetically modified food. These four major trends have been some of the most influential. The relationship between what consumers consider healthy and the current food trends is complex and often contradictory. With industrial modernization came the emergence of microwavable foods and easy to make meals. Although this trend became a staple for American society due to convenience, concerns about genetically modified products and chemical preservatives also arose. Ongoing debates still ensue about how “healthy” food can be if it has been genetically altered or preserved; however, healthier microwave options have been developed and are consistently used in popular dietary trends. Over time, being healthy shifted into being measured by vegetable intake instead of purely relying on counting calories. Therefore, the rise of veganism and vegetarianism peaked. Currently, the biggest trend has been a shift back to eating only organic foods. So now, the rise of health food stores across the nation has developed a market for the health trend of eating strictly organic foods, much like the food society consumed before modern industrial times. In conclusion, the cliche that “history repeats itself” is accurate given that health trends have altered how society has viewed health across time.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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DEFINING “HEALTHY”: CHANGING FOOD TRENDS OVER THE PAST 150 YEARS

For over a century, society’s goal has been to achieve healthier eating habits. The U.S. regularly implicates ways to encourage better eating habits among individuals. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the definition of “health” has evolved throughout the history by assessing specific health food trends. By assessing the evidence contained in four websites and twelve journal articles, a meta-analysis of the history of current food trends was developed, including the introduction of the first food store, the beginning of vegan food as well as frozen food, and the start of genetically modified food. These four major trends have been some of the most influential. The relationship between what consumers consider healthy and the current food trends is complex and often contradictory. With industrial modernization came the emergence of microwavable foods and easy to make meals. Although this trend became a staple for American society due to convenience, concerns about genetically modified products and chemical preservatives also arose. Ongoing debates still ensue about how “healthy” food can be if it has been genetically altered or preserved; however, healthier microwave options have been developed and are consistently used in popular dietary trends. Over time, being healthy shifted into being measured by vegetable intake instead of purely relying on counting calories. Therefore, the rise of veganism and vegetarianism peaked. Currently, the biggest trend has been a shift back to eating only organic foods. So now, the rise of health food stores across the nation has developed a market for the health trend of eating strictly organic foods, much like the food society consumed before modern industrial times. In conclusion, the cliche that “history repeats itself” is accurate given that health trends have altered how society has viewed health across time.