A spoonful of sugar: dietary advice and diabetes in Britain and the US, 1945-2015

Year of award: 2015


  • Rachel Meach

    University of Strathclyde

Project summary

The primary aim of this project is to generate new perspectives on the history of diabetes. By moving away from a focus on technological and scientific advances to look instead at patients’ experiences of the disease, this study will analyse the cultural, political and economic factors that have shaped these experiences and determined the forms of treatment patients have received. 

I will trace the social history of type 2 diabetes and compare patients’ experiences with the received medical understanding of the condition and its causes. I will also explore how the relationship between diet and type 2 diabetes has been understood by patients, physicians and policy makers. I will analyse the effectiveness of public health campaigns that target type 2 diabetes, and articulate the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on understandings and treatments of diabetes. 

I will disseminate my findings to health policy makers in an effort to inform policy.