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Cutting through conflicting prescriptions: How guidelines inform “healthy and sustainable” diets in Switzerland

Published inAppetite, vol. 130, p. 123-133
Publication date2018
Abstract

This paper takes as a starting point “food consumption prescriptions”, or guidelines on what and how one should eat when it comes to “healthy and sustainable diets”. Through qualitative research in Switzerland, involving discourse analysis, observations, in-depth interviews, and focus groups, we set out to uncover the more dominant prescriptions put forward by a variety of actors, how consumers represent these prescriptions, as well as overlaps and tensions between them. The notion of a “balanced meal” is the more prominent prescription, along with the idea that food and eating should be “pleasurable”. Guidelines towards eating local and seasonal products overlap with organic and natural food consumption, while prescriptions to eat less meat of higher quality are in tension with prescriptions around vegetarian and vegan diets. We then consider how prescriptions play out in daily life, as both a resource and obstacle towards the establishment of eating habits, and what dimensions of everyday life have the most influence on how certain prescriptions are enacted – contributing to conceptual deliberations on food in relation to social practices. Time, mobility, and the relationships built around food and eating are forces to be reckoned with when considering possible transitions towards the normative goal of “healthier and more sustainable diets”.

Citation (ISO format)
GODIN, Laurence, SAHAKIAN, Marlyne. Cutting through conflicting prescriptions: How guidelines inform “healthy and sustainable” diets in Switzerland. In: Appetite, 2018, vol. 130, p. 123–133. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.08.004
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ISSN of the journal0195-6663
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