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The Metamorphoses of FatA History of Obesity$
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Georges Vigarello

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159760

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159760.001.0001

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From Energy to Diets

From Energy to Diets

Chapter:
(p.131) 15. From Energy to Diets
Source:
The Metamorphoses of Fat
Author(s):

Georges Vigarello

, C. Jon Delogu
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231159760.003.0015

This chapter discusses the revision of numbers, knowledge, and ideas about the organic at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The obese body was now viewed as a body more sensitive to morbidities. And the organic was now conceived as an energy-producing machine, an “appliance” whose inputs, outputs, and surpluses could all be measured. In this context fat took on a new meaning, when linked for the first time to an account of efficiency and yield, as a product of unconsumed energy. This in turn reoriented the diet for the obese person that now ruled out many foods long considered ordinary staples, notably bread, sugars, and starches. The response varied from indifference to tense resistance. No issue opposed tradition and modernity in a clearer confrontation at this time than debates about size.

Keywords:   fat, fat people, organic, nineteenth century, obesity, obese body, morbidity, diet, body size

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