Dietary Timeline

To view a brief summary of the events from each period simply drag the mouse over the dates that are listed on the left.

To view more details click on the date link and you will be transferred to another page.

Click here to return to the timeline index page

Click here to return to the timeline intro page


"The term 'lifestyle' emerged during the 1960s to describe the way an individual chose certain behaviours which predisposed them to illness. Lifestyle also implies that personal habits were discrete and independently modifiable, that individuals could voluntarily choose to alter certain behaviours and that each person had a responsibility for living well through self-discipline and behaviour modification"

"Now that an individual's behaviours could be categorised through 'lifestyle' risk factors, one was never truly healthy. There would inevitably be a behaviour in one's 'lifestyle' which, however trivial, carried a certain degree of 'risk'. Indeed, lifestyles of individuals could now be represented as a collection of 'risk factors'. The range of eating behaviours deemed to be 'unhealthy', and their commonplace nature in everyday life, meant that almost the whole population was 'at risk'."

Coveney, J. (2000) Food, Morals and Meaning. The pleasure and anxiety of eating. Routledge.

Health, having been defined in such terms, it seems hardly surprising that we are now preoccupied with notions of risk and could in part explain our quest for risk free guarantees in contemporary life.

Another legacy of the sixties is cited by Tannahill: "[another] 1960s strand in today's food stemmed from the flower children's deliberate adoption of poverty, reflected in and symbolised by lentils and brown rice, foods endowed with an aura of spirituality through association with the Asian Gurus – many of them Buddhist – to whom so many of the sixties generation attributed great and disinterested wisdom. Even when, later, most of the flower children rejoined the sinful human race and gave up their communes for houses and their freedom for wages, they continued to eat 'health foods' as if to reassure themselves that, despite appearances, they had not abandoned their ideals."

Tannahill, R. (1988) Food in History. Penguin