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  • 1.
    Bergman, Karolin
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of food studies, nutrition and dietetics.
    Negotiating healthy eating: Lay, stakeholder and government constructions of official dietary guidance in Sweden2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis approaches dietary guidance as socio-culturally produced and comprised in a specific historical context. The work is premised on the position that ideas and understandings of healthy eating are discursively constructed, and that we form our understandings of the world, ourselves and others through discourse. The theoretical approach builds on the Foucauldian notion of governing, which includes how the state governs people through strategic techniques and individuals’ self-governing in relation to discursive norms related to official institutions. The four studies included in the thesis therefore explore how healthy eating and official dietary guidance are negotiated and constructed from stakeholder, lay and policy perspectives. Paper I takes a stakeholder perspective on “appropriate” national dietary advice by exploring 40 written responses to updated official dietary guidelines. Paper II and III focus on lay people’s discourses on dietary guidance and healthy eating by examining their written correspondences (727 and 60 digital messages, respectively) with the Swedish Food Agency. Paper IV examines how the Swedish Food Agency’s official dietary guidelines frame the interplay of public health concerns and environmental concerns in making food choices.

    The findings demonstrate the dominance of a nutrient-centered and scientific discourse in communication (arguments, statements, instructions and questions) related to official dietary guidance in the Swedish context, even among non-professionals (in stakeholder responses, lay messages and the official dietary guidelines). In lay people´s communication with the Swedish Food Agency, both resistance to and internalization of official dietary advice are expressed within this dominating discourse. Resistance is additionally expressed through emotional language and by referring to alternative authorities, including personal experiences. The nutrient-centered and scientific discourse builds on the basic assumption of individual responsibility for health and the taken-for-granted nature of the primacy of physical health. Environmental perspectives come secondary to nutrition, which is demonstrated by their subordinate status in the official dietary guidelines and limited presence in lay people´s correspondences. Most socio-cultural, emotional and structural aspects on eating are made invisible by these discourses, in which food figures as scientifically quantifiable or functional in relation to physical health. However, in the official dietary guidelines from 2015, an additional discourse of cultivating certain tastes as a key to a sustainable diet constructs an ‘ideal eater’ with ‘middle-class’ aspirations.

    List of papers
    1. Stakeholder responses to governmental dietary guidelines: Challenging the status quo, or reinforcing it?
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stakeholder responses to governmental dietary guidelines: Challenging the status quo, or reinforcing it?
    Show others...
    2018 (English)In: British Food Journal, ISSN 0007-070X, E-ISSN 1758-4108, Vol. 120, no 3, p. 613-624Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose

    The purpose of this paper is to explore how stakeholders in the food and nutrition field construct and conceptualise “appropriate” national dietary advice.

    Design/methodology/approach

    In total, 40 voluntarily written stakeholder responses to updated official dietary guidelines in Sweden were analysed thematically. The analysis explored the logics and arguments employed by authorities, interest organisations, industry and private stakeholders in attempting to influence the formulation of dietary guidelines.

    Findings

    Two main themes were identified: the centrality of anchoring advice scientifically and modes of getting the message across to the public. Stakeholders expressed a view of effective health communication as that which is nutritionally and quantitatively oriented and which optimises individuals’ capacities to take action for their own health. Their responses did not offer alternative framings of how healthy eating could be practiced but rather conveyed an understanding of dietary guidelines as documents that provide simplified answers to complex questions.

    Practical implications

    Policymakers should be aware of industrial actors’ potential vested interests and actively seek out other stakeholders representing communities and citizen interests. The next step should be to question the extent to which it is ethical to publish dietary advice that represents a simplified way of conceptualising behavioural change, and thereby places responsibility for health on the individual.

    Originality/value

    This research provides a stakeholder perspective on the concept of dietary advice and is among the first to investigate referral responses to dietary guidelines.

    Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
    Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2018
    Keywords
    Food policy, Concept of advice, Dietary guidelines, Nutritional reductionism, Stakeholder influences
    National Category
    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Ethics
    Research subject
    Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-341383 (URN)10.1108/BFJ-08-2017-0466 (DOI)000427495600008 ()
    Available from: 2018-02-07 Created: 2018-02-07 Last updated: 2019-10-13Bibliographically approved
    2. Public expressions of trust and distrust in governmental dietary advice in Sweden
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Public expressions of trust and distrust in governmental dietary advice in Sweden
    Show others...
    2019 (English)In: Qualitative Health Research, ISSN 1049-7323, E-ISSN 1552-7557, Vol. 29, no 8, p. 1161-1173Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    We examine public trust and distrust in governmental food and nutrition authorities, through analyzing 727 letters sent electronically to the Swedish National Food Agency by lay people. Using thematic analysis, four themes were developed, defining public expressions of trust and distrust in official dietary advice. Trust was expressed as (a) seeking to confirm and clarify dietary advice, or (b) seeking official arbitration between competing dietary advice. Distrust was expressed as (c) questioning and scrutinizing dietary advice, or (d) protesting and resisting dietary advice. Notably, expressions of distrust employed discursive practices that both mirrored authoritative discourses and subverted official advice, by appealing to scientific language and 'alternative' evidence. All letters positioned the agency as the ultimate authority on healthy eating; notwithstanding whether the agency’s advice was to be followed or resisted. Thus, the letters revealed how the same authoritative discourses can simultaneously be a site of public trust and distrust.

    National Category
    Sociology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Other Health Sciences
    Research subject
    Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-371985 (URN)10.1177/1049732318825153 (DOI)000471163000007 ()30741093 (PubMedID)
    Available from: 2019-01-04 Created: 2019-01-04 Last updated: 2019-10-13Bibliographically approved
    3. 'Writing nutritionistically': A critical discourse analysis of lay people´s digital correspondence with the Swedish Food Agency.
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>'Writing nutritionistically': A critical discourse analysis of lay people´s digital correspondence with the Swedish Food Agency.
    (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This article analyzes lay people’s use of nutritionistic discourse in written correspondence with the Swedish Food Agency, an authority responsible for dietary advice. Examining 60 food related written digital messages, we apply a critical discourse analysis to parse the terms and grammar people use when constructing “food” in scientific terms. Findings show that message writers place nutrients at the discursive center and frequently use terms that indicate preciseness, such as numbers and amounts, reinforced by modality (auxiliary verbs) and transitivity (nominalizations). Messages therefore emphasize the what, but not the how, of eating, implying a focus on food as subject to regulation and control. As such, eating is discursively reduced to an act of ingesting nutrients that can be decontextualized and managed in isolation – as entities to increase or avoid separately. These discursive features preclude the conceptualization of food choice and eating as subjective experiences of feelings, taste, and tradition.

    National Category
    Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
    Research subject
    Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-395044 (URN)
    Available from: 2019-10-11 Created: 2019-10-11 Last updated: 2019-10-13
    4. 'A holistic approach': Incorporating sustainability into biopedagogies of healthy eating in Sweden’s dietary guidelines
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>'A holistic approach': Incorporating sustainability into biopedagogies of healthy eating in Sweden’s dietary guidelines
    (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Dietary guidelines advise individuals on how to think and act in relation to food choices. As such, they can be considered a pedagogical tool, designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and eating patterns at the general population level. In this study, we critically examine the biopedagogies implicated in Sweden’s official dietary guidelines. Published in 2015, these guidelines take a “holistic approach” to food and eating, addressing the challenge of formulating dietary advice that considers both human health and environmental concerns. The guidelines therefore offer a potentially innovative, sustainability-driven approach to authoritative dietary advice. Applying Bacchi´s ‘What’s-the-problem-represented-to-be’ approach, we interrogate how the guidelines frame the interplay of public health concerns and environmental concerns in making food choices. We find that the biopedagogies of sustainable eating, as presented in these guidelines, implicate the subject position of the ideal eater. The ideal eater values sustainability, has high cultural capital, and draws on both taste and nutritional knowledge to make good food choices. However, while the ideal eater is expected to be aware of environmental issues, these are incorporated into the ideal eater’s choices only in addition to the primary concern of health. Thus, although the guidelines frame a “holistic approach” as the solution to both health and environmental concerns, in cases where health and environmental priorities conflict, the guidelines’ biopedagogies of sustainable eating align with earlier biopedagogies of healthy eating.

    National Category
    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
    Research subject
    Food, Nutrition and Dietetics; Food, Nutrition and Dietetics; Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-395045 (URN)
    Available from: 2019-10-11 Created: 2019-10-11 Last updated: 2019-10-13
  • 2.
    Bergman, Karolin
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Rör inte min mat!: Livsmedelsverket som rådgivande myndighet2015In: Klagandets diskurs: -matforskare reflekterar / [ed] Christina Fjellström, Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2015, p. 87-92Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 3.
    Bergman, Karolin
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Eli, Karin
    Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, 51/53 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PE.
    Persson Osowski, Christine
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Lövestam, Elin
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Nowicka, Paulina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Public expressions of trust and distrust in governmental dietary advice in Sweden2019In: Qualitative Health Research, ISSN 1049-7323, E-ISSN 1552-7557, Vol. 29, no 8, p. 1161-1173Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We examine public trust and distrust in governmental food and nutrition authorities, through analyzing 727 letters sent electronically to the Swedish National Food Agency by lay people. Using thematic analysis, four themes were developed, defining public expressions of trust and distrust in official dietary advice. Trust was expressed as (a) seeking to confirm and clarify dietary advice, or (b) seeking official arbitration between competing dietary advice. Distrust was expressed as (c) questioning and scrutinizing dietary advice, or (d) protesting and resisting dietary advice. Notably, expressions of distrust employed discursive practices that both mirrored authoritative discourses and subverted official advice, by appealing to scientific language and 'alternative' evidence. All letters positioned the agency as the ultimate authority on healthy eating; notwithstanding whether the agency’s advice was to be followed or resisted. Thus, the letters revealed how the same authoritative discourses can simultaneously be a site of public trust and distrust.

  • 4.
    Bergman, Karolin
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Elmståhl, Helena
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Lövestam, Elin
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Nowicka, Paulina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Eli, Karin
    University of Oxford.
    Persson Osowski, Christine
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Healthy eating as conceptualized in referral responses to Sweden’s updated dietary guidelines: excluding the complexity of everyday life2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    National Dietary Guidelines have been published in many countries to support healthier food habits among the public. In Sweden, the guidelines are produced in a process involving experts and stakeholders under the responsibility of the National Food Agency. Stakeholder perspectives on the concept of state dietary advice was explored in this study, by analyzing 40 referral responses on updated guidelines in Sweden 2015. The study focused on ideas about how state dietary advice should be framed and what it should be based on. Thematic analysis was used and resulted in two main themes. 'Securing scientifically proven advice' represented a perspective of the guidelines as to be scientifically correct and verified, and built upon an underlying assumption to present an objective and optimal composition of foods and nutrients that will fit all. Arguments based on nutritional reductionism could be seen, which gave a delimited idea of what healthy food is. 'Getting the message across' represented a perspective of the guidelines to be easily understood by and inclusive to the end user. Clarity in advice was seen to be reached by explaining difficult words, defining amounts and exact mechanisms of why something is a good choice. Also this perspective added to excluding other values of food, especially qualitative ones. The construction of a healthy diet in these remittance responses builds upon a notion of an ideal diet composed on the basis of the best scientific proof and clearly presented so as to be easily understood and practiced. It was clearly based on an individualistic behavioral view making the individual responsible to make informed and good choices for a healthy diet. This approach may be questioned, as it is too simplified to include the complex reality of everyday life.

  • 5.
    Bergman, Karolin
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Fjellström, Christina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Elmståhl, Helena
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    New Dietary Advice in Sweden –How are they perceived?: Responses  to a holistic approach2016Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 6.
    Bergman, Karolin
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Lövestam, Elin
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Nowicka, Paulina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Eli, Karin
    Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick & Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford.
    'A holistic approach': Incorporating sustainability into biopedagogies of healthy eating in Sweden’s dietary guidelinesManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Dietary guidelines advise individuals on how to think and act in relation to food choices. As such, they can be considered a pedagogical tool, designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and eating patterns at the general population level. In this study, we critically examine the biopedagogies implicated in Sweden’s official dietary guidelines. Published in 2015, these guidelines take a “holistic approach” to food and eating, addressing the challenge of formulating dietary advice that considers both human health and environmental concerns. The guidelines therefore offer a potentially innovative, sustainability-driven approach to authoritative dietary advice. Applying Bacchi´s ‘What’s-the-problem-represented-to-be’ approach, we interrogate how the guidelines frame the interplay of public health concerns and environmental concerns in making food choices. We find that the biopedagogies of sustainable eating, as presented in these guidelines, implicate the subject position of the ideal eater. The ideal eater values sustainability, has high cultural capital, and draws on both taste and nutritional knowledge to make good food choices. However, while the ideal eater is expected to be aware of environmental issues, these are incorporated into the ideal eater’s choices only in addition to the primary concern of health. Thus, although the guidelines frame a “holistic approach” as the solution to both health and environmental concerns, in cases where health and environmental priorities conflict, the guidelines’ biopedagogies of sustainable eating align with earlier biopedagogies of healthy eating.

  • 7.
    Bergman, Karolin
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Nowicka, Paulina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Eli, Karin
    Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick & Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford.
    Lövestam, Elin
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    'Writing nutritionistically': A critical discourse analysis of lay people´s digital correspondence with the Swedish Food Agency.Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This article analyzes lay people’s use of nutritionistic discourse in written correspondence with the Swedish Food Agency, an authority responsible for dietary advice. Examining 60 food related written digital messages, we apply a critical discourse analysis to parse the terms and grammar people use when constructing “food” in scientific terms. Findings show that message writers place nutrients at the discursive center and frequently use terms that indicate preciseness, such as numbers and amounts, reinforced by modality (auxiliary verbs) and transitivity (nominalizations). Messages therefore emphasize the what, but not the how, of eating, implying a focus on food as subject to regulation and control. As such, eating is discursively reduced to an act of ingesting nutrients that can be decontextualized and managed in isolation – as entities to increase or avoid separately. These discursive features preclude the conceptualization of food choice and eating as subjective experiences of feelings, taste, and tradition.

  • 8.
    Bergman, Karolin
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Persson Osowski, Christine
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Eli, Karin
    Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
    Lövestam, Elin
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Elmståhl, Helena
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Nowicka, Paulina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
    Stakeholder responses to governmental dietary guidelines: Challenging the status quo, or reinforcing it?2018In: British Food Journal, ISSN 0007-070X, E-ISSN 1758-4108, Vol. 120, no 3, p. 613-624Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose

    The purpose of this paper is to explore how stakeholders in the food and nutrition field construct and conceptualise “appropriate” national dietary advice.

    Design/methodology/approach

    In total, 40 voluntarily written stakeholder responses to updated official dietary guidelines in Sweden were analysed thematically. The analysis explored the logics and arguments employed by authorities, interest organisations, industry and private stakeholders in attempting to influence the formulation of dietary guidelines.

    Findings

    Two main themes were identified: the centrality of anchoring advice scientifically and modes of getting the message across to the public. Stakeholders expressed a view of effective health communication as that which is nutritionally and quantitatively oriented and which optimises individuals’ capacities to take action for their own health. Their responses did not offer alternative framings of how healthy eating could be practiced but rather conveyed an understanding of dietary guidelines as documents that provide simplified answers to complex questions.

    Practical implications

    Policymakers should be aware of industrial actors’ potential vested interests and actively seek out other stakeholders representing communities and citizen interests. The next step should be to question the extent to which it is ethical to publish dietary advice that represents a simplified way of conceptualising behavioural change, and thereby places responsibility for health on the individual.

    Originality/value

    This research provides a stakeholder perspective on the concept of dietary advice and is among the first to investigate referral responses to dietary guidelines.

1 - 8 of 8
CiteExportLink to result list
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Cite
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  • ieee
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  • Other style
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  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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