1 Social Studies Collection 4 No. 24 Food, consumption and health Cecilia Díaz Méndez and Cristóbal Gómez Benito (coordinators) Javier Aranceta Bartrina Jesús Contreras Hernández María González Álvarez Mabel Gracia Arnaiz Paloma Herrera Racionero Alicia de León Arce Emilio Luque María Ángeles Menéndez Patterson
2 Published by the la Caixa Foundation Av. Diagonal, Barcelona GOVERNING BODIES OF LA CAIXA SOCIAL PROJECTS SOCIAL PROJECTS COMMITTEE Chairman Isidro Fainé Casas Deputy Chairmen Salvador Gabarró Serra, Jorge Mercader Miró, Manuel Raventós Negra Members Marta Domènech Sardà, Javier Godó Muntañola, Inmaculada Juan Franch, Justo B. Novella Martínez, Magín Pallarés Morgades Secretary Alejandro García-Bragado Dalmau Chief Executive Officer of la Caixa Juan María Nin Génova Executive Director of la Caixa Social Projects José F. de Conrado y Villalonga BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE LA CAIXA FOUNDATION Chairman Isidro Fainé Casas Deputy Chairmen Ricardo Fornesa Ribó (Deputy Chairman 1st), Salvador Gabarró Serra, Jorge Mercader Miró, Juan María Nin Génova Trustees Ramon Balagueró Gañet, Mª Amparo Camarasa Carrasco, José F. de Conrado y Villalonga, Marta Domènech Sardà, Manuel García Biel, Javier Godó Muntañola, Inmaculada Juan Franch, Juan José López Burniol, Montserrat López Ferreres, Amparo Moraleda Martínez, Miguel Noguer Planas, Justo B. Novella Martínez, Vicente Oller Compañ, Magín Pallarés Morgades, Alejandro Plasencia García, Manuel Raventós Negra, Leopoldo Rodés Castañé, Luis Rojas Marcos, Lucas Tomás Munar, Francisco Tutzó Bennasar, José Vilarasau Salat, Nuria Esther Villalba Fernández, Josep Francesc Zaragozà Alba Secretary (non trustee) Alejandro García-Bragado Dalmau Deputy Secretary (non trustee) Óscar Calderón de Oya Managing Director José F. de Conrado y Villalonga Social Studies Collection Director Rosa M. Molins Coordinator Mònica Badia
3 Social Studies Collection No. 24 Food, consumption and health Cecilia Díaz Méndez University of Oviedo Cristóbal Gómez Benito UNED (Coordinators) Javier Aranceta Bartrina Spanish Society of Community Nutrition Jesús Contreras Hernández University of Barcelona María González Álvarez University of Oviedo Mabel Gracia Arnaiz University Rovira i Virgili Paloma Herrera Racionero Polytechnic University of Valencia Alicia de León Arce University of Oviedo Emilio Luque UNED María Ángeles Menéndez Patterson University of Oviedo Electronic edition available on the Internet:
4 Cecilia Díaz Méndez and Cristóbal Gómez Benito (coordinators), Javier Aranceta Bartrina, Jesús Contreras Hernández, María González Álvarez, Mabel Gracia Arnaiz, Paloma Herrera Racionero, Alicia de León Arce, Emilio Luque and María Ángeles Menéndez Patterson The la Caixa Foundation, 2008 Responsibility for the opinions expressed in the documents of this collection lies exclusively with the authors. The la Caixa Foundation does not necessarily agree with their opinions.
5 JAVIER ARANCETA BARTRINA MD, is a specialist in Preventive Medicine and Public Health and doctor in Medicine and Surgery for the University of the Pais Vasco (UPV). He has coordinated the Work Group on Epidemiology for the NAOS Strategy (Nutrición, Actividad Física y prevención de la Obesidad) of the Ministry for Health and Consumer Affairs. He is the technical coordinator for the PERSEO programme (Spanish Food Safety Agency) for the promotion of physical activity and healthy eating in the Spanish population. JESÚS CONTRERAS HERNÁNDEZ PhD, is a Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Barcelona. His most recent research focuses on the study of the relationship between changes in lifestyle and food changes. Among his numerous publications stand out, Los aspectos culturales en el consumo de carne [Cultural aspects in the consumption of meat] (2001), La obesidad: una perspectiva sociocultural [Obesity: a sociocultural perspective] (2002) and, together with Mabel Gracia, Alimentación y cultura. Perspectivas antropológicas [Food and culture. Anthropological Perspectives] (2005). CECILIA DÍAZ MÉNDEZ PhD, is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Oviedo and specializes in the Sociology of Consumption. Her research is done through the Sociology of Consumption Research Group that she directs at the University of Oviedo. She completed the study Cambio en el consumo alimentario en España [Change in food consumption in Spain] ( ) and among her publications are The sociology of food in Spain: European Influences in Social Analysis on Eating Habits, (Comparative Sociology, 2006) and the book Cómo comemos? Cambios en los comportamientos alimentarios de los españoles [How do we eat? Changes in the eating behaviour of the Spanish] (2005). MARÍA GONZÁLEZ ÁLVAREZ has a degree in History from the University of Oviedo (2004) and is completing a doctorate in the programme in History and Social Analysis, Methods and Sociocultural Analysis. She is preparing her Diploma in Advanced Studies entitled La industria agroalimentaria en España a través de la publicidad. Transformaciones en los conceptos de salud y alimentación ( ) [The agrifood industry in Spain as seen through advertising. Transformations in the concepts of health and food], under the direction of Dr. Cecilia Díaz Méndez. MABEL GRACIA ARNAIZ PhD, is a Professor of Social Anthropology at the University Rovira i Virgili. She has been a visiting researcher in various foreign research centres (CNRSEHSS, in Paris; CIESAS in Mexico and CETIA in Toulouse) and has coordinated numerous studies on the sociocultural dimensions of food, health and gender. Among her most recent publications is Alimentación y Cultura. Perspectivas antropológicas [Food and culture. Anthropological Perspectives] (2005) and two books she co edited: Comemos como vivimos. Alimentación, salud y estilos de vida [We eat how we live. Food, health and lifestyle] (2006) and No comerás. Narrativas sobre comida, cuerpo y género en el nuevo milenio [You won t eat. Narratives on food, body and gender in the new millennium] (2007). CRISTÓBAL GÓMEZ BENITO PhD, is a Professor at the National University for Distance Education. He has participated in different research projects on food related themes. Among his publications in this field stands out the coordination of the monograph Consumo, Seguridad Alimentaria y Salud [Consumption, Food Safety and Health] in the Revista Internacional de Sociología del CSIC (2005) in collaboration with Cecilia Díaz Méndez.
6 PALOMA HERRERA RACIONERO PhD, is a professor of Sociology at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Currently she forms part of a team of researchers in the field of the Sociology of Food, Rural Sociology and Sociology of the Environment. She is the author of diverse works centred on the study of food behaviour and its transformations from a social perspective and on the analysis of perceptions and attitudes toward genetically modified foods. ALICIA DE LEÓN ARCE PhD, is a Professor of Civil Law at the University of Oviedo with a specialization in Consumer Law and Private Environmental Law. She is the author of numerous publications centred on the protection of consumers and food safety and has directed diverse research projects in this field, the most recent being Responsabilidad civil derivada de daños causados por nuevos alimentos [Civil responsibility derived from harm caused by novel foods] ( ). EMILIO LUQUE PhD, is a professor of Human Ecology and Environment and Society in the Faculties of Political Science and Sociology at the National University for Distance Education. Among his areas of research and his publications are works on the political sociology of food, citizenship and ecology and the impact of the built environment. MARÍA ÁNGELES MENÉNDEZ PATTERSON PhD, is a Professor of Physiology at the University of Oviedo. In 2002 she received the Grande Covián grant from the Prince of Asturias Foundation. She co-directs the Masters in Food Biotechnology and has formed part of the Work Group on Nutrition and Physical Exercise of the Council on Health and Health Services of the Government of the Principality of Asturias.
7 Contents Presentation 9 Introduction 11 Part one: FOOD AND INSTITUTIONS I. The evolution of institutional recommendations on health and food Introduction Development models and food models Evolution of the agrifood system, agricultural policy and dietary recommendations Conclusions 44 Appendix I 46 II. Scientific advances in nutrition and food Introduction Evolution of nutrition and food Future perspectives Conclusions 73 III. Food policies and consumer safety Introduction: Does every cloud have a silver lining? Antecedents: The Spanish Food Code and the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users The admission of Spain into the European Community and the food crises Conclusions: better to prevent than lament 96
8 IV. Industry and Food: from referential advertising to functional foods Introduction Analysis of Advertising Advertising by decades: from the 1960s to Conclusions: food advertising, a complex and problematic path toward food modernity 114 V. Obesity, beyond the consumer: structural roots of the food environment Introduction The built environment, physical activity, obesity and inequality A political economy of obesity The «foodscape» of the consumer: the hypermarket and the hamburger The consumer s limited capacity for control The triple invisibility of the agrifood system Intervention models Conclusions 138 Part Two: THE CONSUMER S RESPONSE VI. Preferences and food consumption: pleasure, convenience and health Introduction Food preferences and criteria of choice Description of the eating day Current food trends: new lifestyles and new ways of eating Conclusion: health, convenience, pleasure depending on the circumstances 175
9 VII. Learning to cook: culinary do-it-yourself, letter soup, and the audiovisual stew Introduction The kitchen: a traditional place of feminine knowledge and oral transmission The alphabet kitchen or letter soup Secondary orality or the electronic recuperation of talking Moral cooking Conclusions 199 VIII. Childhood obesity: new eating habits and new health risks Introduction Criteria for the categorization of weight of the child population Impact of childhood obesity on child and adult health Obesity in children, adolescents and young adults in the Spanish population Evolution of obesity in children, adolescents and young adults Analysis of the causes Actions to prevent obesity in Spain Conclusions 229 Conclusions: current problematics related to food, consumption and health 231 Bibliography 250 Index of Graphs and Tables 268
11 Presentation During recent decades, western societies have reached a level of abundance in the provision of food which is reflected in the general health of the population and consequently, in the increase in life expectancy. Parallel to this, social concern related to health and nutrition has been growing. Concern about having a balanced diet, sensitivity toward internalising healthy habits, growth in the practice of sports at all levels of society and rigour in control over diet are all aspects that demonstrate the social importance this subject has acquired. However, despite public sensitivity and the availability at this time of more than enough food and scientific knowledge on nutrition and health, it is not clear that we are eating better. On the contrary, new disorders such as childhood obesity have appeared, and we find ourselves before a profusion of alternatives about what a balanced diet really is, placing us at a crossroads where it is difficult to make correct decisions about what we ought to eat. Today more than ever, food has an important social basis and is intimately related to the modernisation of societies in all areas of life, which leads us to the idea that an exclusively medical focus is not sufficient to understand and deal with the new problems which have appeared in relation to food. This is how Professors Cecilia Díaz Méndez (University of Oviedo) and Cristóbal Gómez Benito (UNED) have understood it, and as a result, as coordinators of this study they have turned to experts not only in medicine and biology, but also in anthropology, sociology and law. 9
12 The multi-disciplinary focus of this new edition of the Social Studies Collection permits a broader analysis of the relationships between health, consumption and food in advanced societies. In this way, the la Caixa Foundation hopes to stimulate debate on these issues and as far as possible, offer elements to reflect on that can help in the design of public and private strategies oriented toward correcting existing problems. Isidro Fainé Casas President of la Caixa and the la Caixa Foundation Barcelona, February
13 Introduction Cecilia Díaz Méndez (University of Oviedo) Cristóbal Gómez Benito (UNED) (Coordinators) Food and Health in Modern Societies During the second half of the twentieth century food took on a new meaning within Europe, one which developed parallel to the continent s economic take-off and to the origin and development of consumer society. In Spain this great change could be described as the transformation from a society with food shortages to a society with an overabundance of food. At the least, this means two types of relevant changes for the study of contemporary food: on the one hand, objective changes in eating habits, and on the other hand, changes in perceptions related to what it means to «eat well.» These changes share a common characteristic: a growing and novel problematization of food happening in a context where curiously, for Spain, the insecurity associated with a lack of food is no longer a part of the daily life of the Spanish people. Food moved into the background of citizens concerns with the development of consumer society and as Spain improved its economic situation and moved away from hunger and the post-war world. However, the new problematization of food, which forcefully emerged at the end of the 20th century, reveals the social aspects of habits that are increasingly disconnected from the satisfaction of basic biological needs. Today food problems appear connected to social phenomena that have little to do with scarcity and much to do with abundance and globalisation. Nonetheless, in these years of economic and social development, people s ideas about food have gone through different phases, which only a detailed exploration will permit us to understand in all their dimensions. This study will deal with some of them. Food problems did not end with the post-war period and the disappearance of hunger, nor did the new problems from the globalisation of food suddenly emerge with the INTRODUCTION 11
14 change in century. Between these two periods there have been changes in the concept of health and eating, changes in the perception of security and risk, changes in the profile of the consumer, and changes in the role of institutions. All these changes contribute to demonstrating what could be called «a new food order,» but one which continues to be a product of the past and the political, economic, social and cultural development of Spain. These changes have taken place parallel to the genesis, development and consolidation of consumer society in Spain. At the same time, food has gone from necessity to desire and has evolved with the changes in the characteristics of consumers in an opulent society. It is necessary to clarify that the social sciences have participated in a marginal manner in the analysis of contemporary food and have focused on the exploration of food inequalities in times of scarcity. These sciences moved away from the study of the different phases of modernity the moment that hunger stopped being a socially relevant problem and food came to be a strictly domestic consumer issue. However, food has recovered its prominence now that scientists in the natural and health sciences, responsible for analyzing the diet of the population, are finding eating problems linked to an excess of food, the origins of which are more social than biological. In addition, the social sciences themselves have changed their objectives, and feminist studies (demanding a critical look at the domestic sphere) as well as the development of the sociology of consumption (demanding for itself the academic attention previously monopolized by the field of production and work) have permitted the recuperation of sociology and anthropology for the study of food modernity. The health sciences have a particular relevance in social studies of food. Historically, the dietary recommendations of doctors and nutritionists based on food science have been the basis for changing certain practices and habits considered by these experts to be unhealthy. These recommendations have included not only what is to be consumed, but also how, when, where and how much is to be consumed. When we speak about practices and habits, these are not only a result of ideas, values, knowledge and judgments related to food, but also needs, situations and social conditions. To understand these factors in the current diet, the social sciences have taken on a special prominence, as it has been demonstrated that policies directed toward improving these practices 12 FOOD, CONSUMPTION AND HEALTH
15 and habits through the diffusion of healthy diets and dietary recommendations, need to be based not only on solid scientific knowledge about food and nutrition, but also on a sociological understanding of food in human groups. Still thinking about the need to introduce an historical perspective in this analysis, it is necessary to recognize that food has taken on importance in recent decades, in particular, starting with the global food crises. In addition to this new risk situation, there are new pathologies today, such as anorexia, bulimia or orthorexia. Psychological studies on these pathologies have been done, but there continues to be a limited understanding of the social aspects that generate them or intercede in them. There is also growing public concern about the loss of traditional diets and the relation this has with the maintenance or the loss of what is understood as good health. Foods are also appearing that are offered as medicines or products capable of helping one achieve the ideal weight and a svelte figure that contrast with the images of health and body from the past and with the effort of governments to preserve the good health of their citizens. Interest in maintaining health through diet has also grown, as has the impact of the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet or the social relevance of cuisines «d auteur.» These and other behaviours show the unusual importance of food, only comparable to the past concern for scarcity of food. In this setting, it is understood that new food problems have important social roots and are intimately related to the changes that modernisation has produced in other areas of people s lives. In the daily food choices that people make, factors and actors intervene which cannot be completely controlled and with diverse dynamics that reveal the complexity of what is known as the «agrifood system:» the path food travels from the soil to the plate. The study presented here offers the possibility of understanding some of the problems involved in «eating well» today. Our purpose is to offer an analysis of the food issues causing the greatest concern at this time, prioritising the consideration of the social dimension of these problems and the motives for their recent appearance in public discussion. We will investigate the concepts of «good diet,» food safety, food risk and health, as well as the mutable character and new roles of public and private institutions in relation to the consumer, and the consumer in relation to new problems associated with the consumption of food. It is possible that the underlying concern of this study INTRODUCTION 13
16 has to do with a paradox: never before has so much been known about food and nutrition; never before have consumers had so much information on these subjects, and never before have food safety and health associated with food been the object of so much attention (and regulation) from diverse public and private authorities; and yet, never before have consumers been so disoriented and confused before the proliferation of dietary recommendations and advice, still not knowing or understanding what «good food» is. Although this study has taken the most recent problems of food modernity as the starting point, nevertheless, it will enable us to understand that we are not facing a completely new situation, or one that suddenly appeared in this new century. This situation has emerged from the evolution of Spanish society itself, from its integration in the social dynamics common to economic development and globalisation, and from its path toward maturity as a consumer society; in short, from Spain s entrance into what analysts of social change call modernity. We have considered it important to explore food issues with two frames of reference: the first focused on institutions and the second, focused on the consumer. This orientation is in response to a dynamic and holistic conception of the scenarios in which the exchange of food is produced, but also to the idea described before, the problematization of food as modern consumer society has advanced. These scenarios consist of diverse pieces, like a puzzle. The consumer is the final destination of food and the agent responsible for choosing the products in order to feed him or herself well. Production is the responsibility of farmer and livestock farmer. But the agrifood chain is a long and complex one and throughout modernity the most important sources of power and decision-making have changed. A clear example of this has been the growing importance of the food industry and the transfer of power to the large distributors, with the relegation of agricultural producers to secondary importance. The growing distance between consumer and producer is another example. And no less important is the growing role of the media as an intermediary among the different agents in the agrifood chain. Because of all of the above, we have taken an analytical approach that emphasizes an historical analysis of contemporary food and diet. This allows us to place the two elements on which we have based our line of argument, the institutions involved in food issues and consumers, into an historical context. 14 FOOD, CONSUMPTION AND HEALTH
17 We know that the existing analytical separation between production and consumption is one of the most questioned aspects of social research on contemporary food. The real separation between those who produce and those who buy and consume has been gradually broadening throughout recent decades. It has been consumers who have demonstrated this by their clear rejection of certain products and certain food situations, or by their support of alternative small-scale producers. These unexpected responses by consumers who have been considered passive and uncritical have been a challenge for the analysis of consumer behaviour. These same actors have demanded institutional intervention in the agrifood chain. The uncertainty of consumption has, curiously, given greater prominence to the consumer in society. The consumer has become more central, more dynamic, more critical and less open to manipulation. We are also aware that this starting point, this historical perspective on the changes in the agrifood chain, has limitations. It is based on a vision of social change as a unilinear process with successive phases. It is easy to fall into a homogeneous and linear vision of food changes in which diversity remains hidden. But we think that it is worthwhile to look at it in this way in order to establish the links between different periods and different actors in the agrifood chain. These links can be causal or non-causal, but without a doubt they offer a panoramic view of the situation and enable us to understand the present by looking at the past. We will try to ensure that the consumer is not presented in the analysis as a mere passive agent of this process of change, and we also hope to show the dynamics of consumer action as consumers face and respond to different situations. For all of these reasons, this study contains two different parts, and an evolutionary treatment of food change in many of its chapters. The first part provides an analysis of the form in which food has been dealt with by public and private institutions and the impact of their actions on consumer behaviour. The evolution in the actions of these institutions and the changing character of their role in different historical periods will allow us to focus on the current debates related to food. The primary role of the institutions involved most directly in food and diet in modern societies has been to preserve the population s health through making recommendations for eating correctly. Nevertheless, over the years this role has been changing INTRODUCTION 15
18 and has turned more toward the field of food safety. In this process we can see an increase in the regulation of food, which reveals the growing intervention of public institutions throughout the food system, even in the eating habits of the public. Institutions, at first, gathered information from experts in the field of medicine and later from the field of nutrition. It was these experts who replaced dietary uncertainty with guidance based on scientific studies, offering reliable information on how to maintain or improve the good eating habits of the population. Agrifood businesses have also played a part in the food changes of consumers and have contributed to these changes by offering information through advertising that has promoted food consumption with the same marketing strategies used to promote the consumption of other products. These strategies, characterized by an in depth knowledge of the consumer, have made it possible to respond to consumer expectations by offering foods that are further and further removed from the world of production. Controversy permeates a large part of the information exchange between consumers and institutions and among institutions themselves. Friction results from changes in the roles of experts with a resulting distrust of scientific information; changes in dietary recommendations from government agencies which confuse the public; and changes in food legislation as a formula for regulating the areas of food production and distribution, not always well received by business when this restricts their actions. These are only some of the frictions that can be detected among institutions. In addition we are witnessing another problem with particular impact on the consumer: everything is pointing toward a progressive distancing from healthy eating habits in spite of the growth of institutional controls, the increase in regulations and greater scientific attention being paid to food. In «The evolution of institutional recommendations on health and food,» Cecilia Díaz Méndez and Cristóbal Gómez Benito highlight the changes in dietary recommendations and in the concept of a healthy diet. The basic idea of the chapter is that these changes are closely related to, among other factors, the conceptions of development and modernity (and within modernity to food modernity) and the evolution of agricultural policy and the agrifood system. 16 FOOD, CONSUMPTION AND HEALTH
19 Through the analysis of the conception of food modernity, according to the first three Foessa Reports ( ), and the analysis of dietary recommendations from diverse government agencies between 1960 and 2000, the authors show empirically not only the mutability of dietary recommendations, but also their close connection with certain aspects of the wider social context. But this mutability of what we consider «good to eat» also has to do with the evolution of scientific knowledge about nutrition and dietetics. In the chapter by Professor María Ángeles Menéndez Patterson, «Scientific advances in nutrition and food» we can see how scientific advances in the middle of the twentieth century impacted on the classical concepts of nutrition, changing the traditional idea of an adequate diet. In this sense, the emphasis of recommendations initially oriented toward the prevention of diseases caused by deficiencies and malnutrition has shifted to the study of the potential for foods to promote health, improve well-being and reduce the risk of diseases associated with excess eating typical of developed countries. This chapter ends with some thoughts on the future of the nutritional sciences which pose new challenges such as the development of «nutrigenomics,» which will lead us to make the leap from general dietetic advice to individualized diets. The paradox between the perception of food safety (which, as has been said, is full of uncertainty and distrust) and the extensive and ample regulation of all aspects of food (from production to consumption, including processing, transport and sales) is confirmed by studying the evolution of food policies in Alicia de León de Arce s chapter on «Food policies and consumer safety.» This chapter takes us on a historical journey of food safety policies in Spain from the second half of the twentieth century until the present. The changes in policy since Spain s entry into the European Union (1986) are highlighted. The author hopes to establish the achievements and gaps in food protection for the Spanish consumer from a legal perspective and to demonstrate how certain events (such as the problem with adulterated rapeseed oil or recent food crises) have led to a legal approach to food safety for consumers and increased their protection. Looking at the contexts that affect eating habits, we find two areas of particular importance: food advertising and the structural context of eating disorders. Regarding the first, Cecilia Díaz Méndez and María González Álvarez in INTRODUCTION 17
20 «Industry and food: from referential advertising to functional foods,» show us how through advertising we learn about dietary recommendations from the agrifood industry, which are transmitted to consumers to capture their attention and influence their preferences. Analyzing the evolution of Spanish food advertising from the 1960s until today, not only can the food models of each period be seen, but also the dominant values related to food and health. Regarding the second issue, in «Obesity, beyond the consumer: structural roots of the food environment,» Emilio Luque responds to certain questions: Who is responsible for the pandemic of obesity declared by the WHO? Is it a private problem whose solution is based on education, or is it also a public issue, of a structural nature? The general trend toward obesity reveals some of the contradictions of a pathological agrifood system that has shaped an «obesogenic» food environment. Subsidies for overproduction, interests of the industry in the wide distribution of the most profitable products (typically those most inclined to encourage excess weight), and the fragile role of the consumer in the context of powerful marketing pressures are some of the issues dealt with in this chapter. The second part deals with the study of the consumer. Although it is impossible to establish a causal relationship with the actions of the institutions dealt with in the first part, the consumer is at the centre of decisions, controversies and problems. The chapters in the second part focus on describing consumers eating behaviours and their universe of attitudes, values, preferences, knowledge and habits related to food. The intention of the authors is to understand the motivations for food consumption and with this, the background of consumer food decisions. Each of the chapters deals with some of the most controversial issues: the problems of the reproduction of the traditional Spanish food culture and the implications this has on the preparation of the daily diet; eating disorders and problems of childhood obesity as a consequence of the inadequate eating habits of the population; or the growing distrust of consumers and the origins of the perception of risk and its evolution in moments of great uncertainty about food. We ll observe the bases of these behaviours, as well as how some habits are declining while others emerge. All of this will enable us to respond to some of the most worrying questions related to inappropriate eating habits and investigate more thoroughly the origin of these new ills affecting society. Controversy is also evident in the field of the consumer. It is complicated to 18 FOOD, CONSUMPTION AND HEALTH