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Appetite. 2013 May;64:12-9. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.12.019. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

"If I drink it anyway, then I rather take the light one". Appropriation of foods and drinks designed for weight management among middle-aged and elderly Finns.

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  • 1National Consumer Research Centre, PO Box 5 (Kaikukatu 3), FI-00531 Helsinki, Finland.


This article examines everyday ideals of eating for weight management as described by middle-aged and elderly Finns with varying experiences of managing their weight. The paper draws on the theoretical approach of appropriation and looks at the meanings, understandings and use of foods for weight management in the context of the practices of eating. The article is based on an analysis of eight focus group discussions with 68 people (47 women, 21 men, aged between 38 and 77) conducted in Helsinki in autumn 2009. The findings of the study suggest that lay understandings of foods suitable for weight management rest not only on simple measures such as energy, fat and sugar, but also on a complex set of generalised food ideals. These include a conflict between foods described as natural against artificial, moral judgements of the necessity of foods designed for weight management, and the overall emphasis on moderation as a basic ideal. The results indicate that people employ two perspectives in assessing foods suitable for weight management: in the context of the whole of diet the products are dismissed as unnecessary, but in specific situations they can replace 'normal' products if the latter are deemed more harmful.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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