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Why is our culture so interested in dieting?

variety of food on round plate, intermittent fasting.
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In some diets, people restrict calories, or restrict when, and what, they eat.

Why is dieting such an enduring idea when it has such mixed results? This hour we investigate that question by looking back at diets through history, talking about the latest science, and discussing portrayals of dieting through pop culture.


  • Virginia Sole-Smith - Author of “The Eating Instinct” and a journalist who covers diet culture and weight stigma, and who writes the “Burnt Toast” newsletter, and hosts the “Burnt Toast” podcast.
  • Louise Foxcroft - A historian and author of “Calories and Corsets: A History of Dieting Over 2000 Years,” among other books. 
  • Evan Forman - Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Director of the Center for Weight, Eating and Lifestyle Science at Drexel University. 
  • Constance Grady - A senior reporter for Vox, and author of the recent article “Looking back at the ’90s has meant reexamining the decade’s toxic diet culture.”

Join the conversation onFacebook andTwitter.

Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.

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Lily is the senior producer for The Colin McEnroe Show. She first worked at Connecticut Public as an intern in 2014. She has previously worked for WBUR, KUNC and as a producer for the New England News Collaborative's weekly show Next. Lily can be reached at ltyson@ctpublic.org.
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