Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 559–572 | Cite as

Dietary regimes and the nutrition transition: bridging disciplinary domains

  • Anthony Winson
  • Jin Young Choi


The nutrition transition concept developed by Popkin has gained wide currency within the nutritional sciences literature as a way of understanding population wide changes to diet and energy balance and their related health outcomes in society. It offers a useful template of different nutritional patterns societies progress through, but it has not provided a comprehensive understanding of the why and how of dietary change. Building on insights from the literature on food regimes in the social sciences, this paper argues the concept of dietary regimes can augment the nutrition transition model and can serve as a bridge between social and health sciences around nutrition and dietary change. The political economy analysis of the dietary regime approach provides insights into the historical degradation of food and the diffusion of nutrient-poor products throughout food environments today. It also engages analysis of the key actors shaping food environments and diets in the industrial era. The dietary regime approach can provide fruitful directions with respect to concrete policy options to address the major issue of population wide weight gain that the nutrition transition model has sought to confront in recent iterations.


Nutrition transition Dietary regimes Food regimes Food environments Degradation of food 



We would like to express our thanks to the two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful suggestions and comments on our paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologySam Houston State UniversityHuntsvilleUSA

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