By: Will Blasingame, Editor
Fad diets have been a part of American culture all throughout the 20th century especially and even now. The Paleo, the Adkins, the Vegan, the Keto, and now the Carnivore (really?) are all examples of these diets that work for some people and then suddenly everyone and their dog is strictly adhering to (at least for two weeks).
But these diets can trace their hidden origins to a distinctly American philosophy from the 1870s: American Pragmatism. Pragmatism was founded by people such as John Dewey, William James, and Charles Sanders Pierce that basically states that the meaning and truth of an idea is found in its practical use.
Applied to these fad diets, it doesn’t matter the objective ideal of human nutrition, it only matters that these diets produce results and make its users slimmer and trimmer. For the majority of people who this doesn’t work, they quickly move on to the next promising idea to find nutritional utility and truth. For the lucky few that succeed, they stick with this diet as long as it works.
And it’s no wonder that this philosophy is applied mostly to nutritional and exercise. Such a complicated field has a nearly endless number of confounding variables that make it near impossible to pin down causality. Most importantly, most Americans don’t care how it works only that these diets do work.
As the youtube channel BroScience put it best: