The promise of 'wellness': understanding alternative dietary practices in precarious times


  • Dr Rachel O'Neill

    University of York

Project summary

From green juice to golden milk; energy balls to spiralised squash; activated charcoal to bullet-proof coffee, a whole host of supposedly health-enhancing dietary practices have become popular in the UK under the auspices of ‘wellness’. While these trends receive much media attention and are cause for concern among medical professionals, they remain poorly understood and frequently trivialised. 

Rather than debating what constitutes ‘healthy eating’, this project will analyse why alternative dietary trends are flourishing in contemporary Britain and why they have particular popularity among women.

The research will foster deeper understanding of how health practices are shaped by media and popular culture and offer crucial insights for health practitioners negotiating a climate in which advice based on personal experience frequently trumps accredited expertise.