Low-Carbohydrate Diets

Food Service Industry

Ever since history has been recorded food has played a pivotal role in human interaction. An investigation into food-related topics, such as global food problems, the sociological factors in food consumption, food policy, the symbolic meaning of food, dieting and food fads, and the role of the mass media in food choices is a never-ending procedure. Food products have not only been a tool for barter but a status symbol, an aphrodisiac and even a negative reinforcement of depression (Rotenburg, 1999), or even the cause of depression (Westover, 2002). Some foods have even been used for medicinal purposes such as teas, herbs, and roots. The types and amounts of food an individual chooses to eat not only affect his or her well-being, but also have implications for society as a whole. The choices of which foods to eat, where, and when are intensely personal, influenced by not only prices and income, but also sociological factors, family structure, time constraints, medical claims, and imagery through commercialization.

No area more targeted is that of the American population who, regardless of the psychological and/or medical factors behind the obsession with foods, is becoming a cultural and sociological concern in todays society. Researchers, sociologists, psychologists, physicians, and nutritionists must put forth a combined effort not only to analyze the causal factors but also develop programs on how to effectively deal with the problem.

One approach to a better understanding of why there is an increase in obesity (Karp, 1998) in the past twenty years and why certain types of foods and diets are being touted as healthy while others are not. The remainder of this paper will investigate one such diet regimen, low-carbohydrate, with respect to gaining popularity and the effect its popularity is having on the food service industry. In addition discussion will be presented with Americas apparent need to embrace a fad lifestyle, albeit food, apparel, automobile, or any other stimulus product related.

Research Question. To what extent is the “low-carbohydrate” diet phenomenon a marketing ploy or a genuine concern for Americas health? A secondary research question that will be addressed with respect to the “carbohydrate or non- carbohydrate” phenomenon is whether or not the low-carbohydrate diets are definitely an American mainstay.

Research Hypothesis. As the current research investigation is qualitative by design there will be no need for a testable statistical null hypothesis. Evidentiary support will be provided by way of a literature review wherein a thorough analysis will be made of existing information relative to the research project. On the basis of the qualitative investigation a determination will.