Document Type

Senior Thesis

Publication Date



New information about how Americans should eat comes from health food suppliers, vitamin suppliers, government agencies, fitness experts, doctors, and also the government in the form of dietary guidelines. In this paper I argue that the U.S dietary guidelines are not the product of objective, neutral scientific inquiry, but rather, are a product of a long legacy of culturally constructed moral values with roots in the “Cult of Domesticity.” This legacy has been documented in the Victorian era and has continued into the current day. I discuss the history of national dietary guidelines of then compare and contrast current U.S and French guidelines to show the culturally constructed gender ideas manifest in food guidelines. I note also the food politics that exist within the guidelines in the United States which favor dairy, corn, and meat. From my analysis it can be discerned that the current U.S food guidelines are constructed upon morals, gender ideology, and politics and are not necessarily what is healthiest for the population as a whole. This is not in comparable with other countries, like France, where a differing notion of gender and food practices prevails.