popular science books

Mythbusters: Credibilising strategies in popular nutrition books by academics

Bart Penders

Healthy eating is a prominent concern amongst public health and diet professionals. Public understanding of healthy eating presents a topic of interest in understanding scientific credibility in the public domain. Three prominent Dutch nutrition scientists, Kok, Seidell and Katan, have produced popular science books on healthy eating, aiming to remove myths about food and nutrition from the public domain. I describe how they do so, and which strategies they have chosen to achieve this goal. In their books, they move beyond traditional academic strategies to build credibility and devise credibilising strategies resembling those of diet authors. While doing so, they move beyond the deficit model, but end up competing for dietary credibility on the diet authors’ terms.

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