Adrienne Bitar



I specialize in the history and culture of American food and health.  My first book, Diet and the Disease of Civilization, was published in 2018 with Rutgers University Press.  The first full-length study of diet books, Diet and the Disease of Civilization reveals how 20th century dieting systems have articulated a powerful response to anxieties about the psychic and physical costs of modernity.  Following an imaginary chronology of human origins, the book examines Paleolithic diets, biblical diets, precolonial diets, and environmentalist detoxification programs. 

At Cornell, I have taught or will be teaching "Food in America," "Consumer Culture," "The History of Health and Fitness Culture," and "Introduction to Food Studies." 

I am currently working on a new project on lab-grown meat and meat analogues. 

Research Focus

Food Studies; Cultural Studies; Nutrition; American Studies


Diet and the Disease of Civilization.  Rutgers University Press, 2018.  

“The Paleo Diet and the American Weight Loss Utopia, 1975-2014.” Utopian Studies. Vol. 25, No. 2, (Spring 2015): 101-124.

“For the Starving, Eat ‘Local’ Isn’t an Option.” Wall Street Journal, 3 Dec. 2013, p. A15.

“Romancing the Dude Ranch, 1926-1947.” Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 4, (Winter 2012): 437-461.

“Magic Metabolisms of Competitive Eating.” Taking Food Public: Redefining Foodways in a Changing World. Routledge, 2011. 

In the news