Religious scholar and journalist Alan Levinovitz discusses how diet culture is like a religion, why so much modern nutrition advice is dangerous, why we need to think critically about restrictive eating practices, how suspicion of Western medicine can lead people to believe in harmful "miracle cures," why the "nocebo effect" is causing people to unnecessarily demonize particular foods, and lots more.
Alan Levinovitz received his PhD in religion from the University of Chicago where he specialized in classical Chinese thought. He is now assistant professor of religious studies at James Madison University, where he teaches classes on religion, Chinese philosophy, and the connection between religion and medicine. His journalism focuses on the intersection of religion, science, and culture, and has appeared in The Atlantic, Wired, The Washington Post, Slate, Vox, and elsewhere. He is the author of The Gluten Lie: And Other Myths About What You Eat (mild trigger warning for frank discussion of diets and eating practices). Find him at James Madison University and on Twitter at @AlanLevinovitz.