Miracle Foods and Definition Diets. American Bodybuilding and the Promise of Supplements

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Bodybuilding often acts as an echo chamber for broader societal worries. Surveying previously unexplored bodybuilding diets and food supplements, this article studies the nutritional dictates of Rheo H. Blair and Vince Gironda, two of the most popular coaches of 1960s America. Their recommendations capitalized on fears of nutritional purity and a fetishization of muscular masculinities for heterosexual, white Americans. The article situates Blair and Gironda’s diets within the broader cultural and political realms of American food, demonstrating that for these men, and their followers, food was not a peripheral concern but rather a driving motivation. The control of food and the consumption of extreme nutrients became a defence against declining agricultural standards and even declining masculinities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Pages (from-to)173-196
Number of pages24
JournalFood & History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 23 May 2022

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Brepols Publishers. All rights reserved.


  • American history
  • Bodybuilding
  • Diets
  • Food history
  • Health Foods
  • Masculinity
  • Protein powders
  • Public health
  • Supplements
  • Vitamins


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