Diet for a Large PlanetIndustrial Britain, Food Systems, and World Ecology

Diet for a Large PlanetIndustrial Britain, Food Systems, and World Ecology

Chris Otter

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9780226697109

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

This book provides a history of the causes, experiences, and consequences of Britain's post-1750 shift to a diet rich in meat, wheat, and sugar. The origins of this shift lay in Britain's industrialization from the later eighteenth century, which catalyzed a transition from predominantly locally produced, plant-based, food to food sourced from around the planet. The diet provided increased energy flow necessary for an industrial labour force, and it produced taller, heavier, and more powerful male workers. However, the diet also produced unintended health consequences (from tooth decay to heart disease) a greatly expanded ecological footprint, and novel issues of food security. As this diet became Americanized and globalized in the twentieth century, these health and ecological problems became planetary issues. The book thus provides a deeper history of today's food, health and ecological crises.