Episode 3: The Diet Culture Machine

Episode description:

Diet culture is an insidious ideology that worships thinness, demonizes those that don’t adhere to the beauty standard, and oppresses those who are not viewed as “healthy.” Hilmar Wagner, a dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Public Health, joins Peace Meal to talk nutrition, diets, and why we’ve been evolutionarily conditioned to be preoccupied with food.

Episode show notes:

Host Claire Holtz kicks off this month’s episode of Peace Meal by reflecting on the origins of diet culture. From abiding by a doctor’s health advice to losing weight and altering body shape, dieting has dramatically changed and created a system of beliefs referred to as “Diet Culture.”

Hilmar Wagner defines Diet Culture as a system of beliefs that idolize thinness, promote weight loss, and oppress those who don’t meet the societal standard for beauty. While diet culture was predominately geared towards women, it is now starting to trend towards men as well. With diet culture targeting all individuals, we now see the rise of fad diets started in order to lose weight and change body shape.

According to NEDA, those who engage in moderate dieting are 5x more likely to develop an eating disorder. Hilmar notes that there is nothing wrong or inherently bad about wanting to change your eating habits, but that some individuals are more susceptible to developing an eating disorder. For those at-risk individuals, dieting can be the trigger that leads them to an eating disorder.

Hilmar wraps up the podcast by discussing ways to assess if a diet has turned into disordered eating and what to do about it. For those concerned about their eating habits or body thoughts, reach out to us at veritascollaborative.com or call 855-943-0985 for more information and support .


  1. Cellania, M. (2010, September 9). The History of Diets. Retrieved from https://www.neatorama.com/2010/09/09/the-history-of-diets/
  2. Coe, A. (2017, September 15). William Howard Taft Is Still Stuck in the Tub. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/15/opinion/william-howard-taft-bathtub.html
  3. Lynch, R. (2015, February 28). A brief timeline shows how we’re gluttons for diet fads. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-diet-timeline-20150228-story.html
  4. Roepe, Lisa Rabasca. (2018, March 5). The Diet Industry. Retrieved from http://businessresearcher.sagepub.com/sbr-1946-105904-2881576/20180305/the-diet-industry
  5. Sifferlin, A. (2013, October 15). The President Taft diet: Learning from America’s heaviest leaders. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2013/10/15/health/president-taft-diet-time/index.html
  6. Wdowik, M., & Food Science and Human Nutrition. (2018, September 19). The long, strange history of dieting fads. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/the-long-strange-history-of-dieting-fads-82294
  7. (2018, November 21). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieting

Listen to Podcast:

About the Podcast:

Peace Meal is a podcast that explores topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking. You can find Peace Meal on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, or Google Podcasts. If you enjoy our show, please rate, review, subscribe, and tell your friends!

Are you interested in being a guest on Peace Meal? Email podcast@emilyprogram.com for more information.


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