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The Hundred Year Diet: America's Voracious Appetite for Losing Weight
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The Hundred Year Diet: America's Voracious Appetite for Losing Weight

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  72 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews

A lively cultural history of the American weight loss industry that explores the origins of our obsession with dieting
As a nation battling an obesity epidemic, we spend more than $35 billion annually on diets and diet regimens. Our weight is making us sick, unhappy, and bigger than ever, and we are willing to hand over our hard-earned money to fix the problem. But most
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Rodale Books
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Jun 17, 2010 Dara rated it it was ok
Shelves: food
I was disappointed in this. It starts out well -- cataloging the insane diets of the 1800s and on, you realize just how nutty Americans have been about food for quite a long time. The discussions are all really superficial, however, which was especially frustrating since the book is relatively short. There would have been room for a much deeper discussion, and I felt like I was reading a book aimed at high school students.

I was really disappointed, however, at the last few chapters, which were e
Nov 21, 2015 Becca rated it it was ok
I was hoping for a fun romp through the crazy fad diets of the last several hundred years. This exists for the first couple of chapters, but it really quite short on each diet. Nevertheless, this part is pretty interesting and a good discussion of dieting culture: "most Americans truly had no clue how to eat anymore"

And then, a rant about obesity in America, with no reference to the fact that it could be related to that one, extremely insightful quote. Or to the fact that yoyo dieting leaves mos
Kitten Kisser
Jan 12, 2015 Kitten Kisser rated it it was amazing
Shelves: holistic
I'm not exactly sure what it was I expected of this book. It was not at all what I thought it would be & that is just fine with me! All I can say is it was a real eye opener. I had no idea that American's were on diets for such a long time - even during the Great Depression! American's dieting even though they were not fat. Always striving to be what we are told is beautiful.
The most noble part of the diet trend was the war effort to "Grow Your Own Food" That must be the smartest & healt
Jul 13, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: own, first-reads
Goodreads win! Looks like it will be an interesting read.

The Hundred Year Diet: American's Voracious Appetite for Losing Weight turned out to be pretty good. I enjoyed the reading first half of the book which took you through a few decades of dieting regimens that sounds absolutely ridiculous now. I loved learning something new about America's dieting history. Crazy stuff folks used to do to "reduce".

The last few chapters were just okay. Nothing jumped out at me that I didn't already know. The
Rachel P
Apr 20, 2010 Rachel P rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: first-reads
First, this book was AMAZING! I usually don't gush over non-fiction books because on average they tend to be dense, dry books that take a lot of will power to get through. THIS book is different. It is so well written it reads like a novel, a real page turner! The Hundred Year Diet is a straight forward, plain language, simple to understand history of America's diet since the mid-19th century. Ms. Yager definitely took her time and did her homework because this book is very well researched and t ...more
Laurel Amberdine
Aug 13, 2010 Laurel Amberdine rated it really liked it
As the lengthy title explains, this is a book about the American quest for a solution to being overweight, including diets both faddish and sensible, bizarre equipment, pills, manufactured foods, and more.

It starts a little over 100 years ago, when the first fad diets in the US developed as part of certain evangelical Christian practices. Eventually religious cults turned into health clinics, and health clinics turned into weight loss resorts for the rich and famous. Any actual science came muc
Jul 13, 2011 Cathy rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, kindle
Lots of interesting information here, about the beginnings of America's obsession with diet, weights, and the evils of food. I would have liked more detail about the different diet doctors, because those sections were fascinating.

I felt that it ran out of steam in the end -- Yager doesn't have anything very interesting to say about the current food landscape, and I thought her conclusion that everyone was going to start listening to Michael Pollan and stop buying so much processed food was wildl
Joy Weese Moll
Jul 22, 2012 Joy Weese Moll rated it really liked it
Recommended to Joy Weese by: from Why Calories Count by Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim
Shelves: diet
As the title suggests, The Hundred Year Diet covers the history of dieting in America from about World War I to the present day, with much of the message being “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” In parallel, of course, it also covers the history of weight during that time, changes in the Met Life charts and in the weights of Americans throughout the last century. Here the message is that the US has been declared too fat since at least the 1950s, even when the data didn’t supp ...more
Jun 13, 2011 Meadow rated it really liked it
I am currently in the midst of improving my health and diet and this book was right up my alley. An interesting look at weight loss fads through the years. Even during the great depression, we were still a dieting nation. I had no idea! I also found it interesting to learn how little you actually lose on the various supplements. Sure, they seem like the work but not as well as actually moving your body. And with bad side-effects, instead of the good side-effects from exercise.

The bottom-line of
Sep 02, 2013 Abbey rated it liked it
Interesting enough "history of dieting practices", some entertaining to read about, several truly peculiar, all very nicely served up by a rather chatty author who, thankfully, isn't too sweet and coy about it.

Table of Contents:
Part One: The Founding Fathers
Part Two: You're Perfect; now diet!
Part Three: How to Start an Epidemic
Part Four: The Dawning of the Age of Obesity
Part Five: Weighing in on the Future
Conclusion: The Obesity Triangle

Has good endnotes, bibliography, and index.
Apr 25, 2010 Jenni rated it really liked it
It was very interesting to read about the history of dieting. A lot of stuff I never thought about. It was mostly well written, some of the transitions were weird to me, which made me dwell on them. But, luckily, the story was fascinating enough for me to get sucked back in. I think anyone who diets all the freaking time should read this, it is not a diet book by any means, but it does somewhat explain why we feel the need to try crazy schemes to get skinny.
N.L. Riviezzo
An interesting look at the oxymoron that is the American outlook towards food and health. Not a diet book in the general sense but more an overview of the history of America's food 'obsession'. A lot of the content is just plain common sense or common knowledge for those who have tried a lot of the modern 'diet' plans. It is written in a plain straightforward, non-textbook way that make for an easy (well researched) informative read.
Nov 07, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfic
Love it so far, just really well written in a conversational tone.

Really engaging and easy to get into, easy to read. That's a big plus for nonfiction for me, I have had enough of dry textbook type tomes from college, and I search out more pop-science/pop-psychology/etc types of nonfic.
Dec 17, 2010 Dana rated it liked it
The historic information (pre-1980) was the most interesting part of the book. She starts injecting her opinion in little bits, but by the end of the book, she is full on preaching (to the choir, in this case). So, she has the same message as Michael Pollan and all of his followers.

Susan Yager meticulously dissects the past 100 years of American history through the specific lens of our obsession with weight. It is both fascinating and depressing to see how very little is new when it comes to our national obsession with the scale.
Jul 29, 2012 Melody rated it really liked it
Interesting characterization of our relationship with carbohydrates, fats,and protein. Diets, like fashion, apparently goes through trendy cycles. Talks about history of Atkins, Pritikin, Food Combining, South Beach, and so many more.
Jun 12, 2010 Ebby rated it liked it
The book had some interesting points in regarding to dieting. If you are one of those whom society calls "yo-yo dieters" this book is for you! This book really makes you think about the foods you eat and how you plan your meals.
Jun 13, 2010 Athena rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Informative without being boring. I'm learning everything I ever wanted to know about why we eat the way we do. Great book. I won my copy through First Reads and will definitely recommend it to friends.
May 10, 2010 Katelyn rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
This book was difficult to get into. It was slow at first but it gets better further into the book. The information presented was interesting enough to keep me reading.
Apr 09, 2011 Marci rated it liked it
Interesting historical re-telling of American's crazy obsession with dieting, dating back to the early 20th century.
Apr 21, 2011 Erika rated it really liked it
This book is a history of diet fads in America over the last 100 years.
Aug 14, 2011 Meg rated it really liked it
I've been in a non-fiction slump for a long time, but I really liked this one!
Mar 31, 2010 Lawrence rated it it was amazing
So very true...........Susan speaks with common sense.
Mar 15, 2011 Sara rated it liked it
Helps put people's obsessions w/ dieting in perspective.
Mar 31, 2010 Francesca marked it as to-read
I really hope I get this one, looks amazing!
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