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Weight management is a $55 billion dollar industry in the United States—which is not surprising, given that 67 percent of Americans are categorized as overweight or obese.

What is surprising is the multitude of diet and weight loss plans that have evolved over the last century, and how many of them gained popularity long before this country became entrenched in an obesity epidemic. It raises the question: Is our national preoccupation with counting calories borne of an actual need to lose weight, or is it simply as uniquely an American phenomenon as reduced-fat, low-sugar apple pie?

The Hundred Year Diet is the story of our national obsession with food, dieting, deprivation, and weight loss. From the groundbreaking discovery of the calorie at the turn of the century to patriotic, wartime rationing to the advent of fast food and high fructose corn syrup to the organic movement, Susan Yager traces our relationship with food and the ways in which it has impacted—and been impacted by— culture, science, politics, and religion.

This riveting account of the forces that have shaped our diets (and our waistlines) is filled to the brim with fascinating food lore and unforgettable personalities. Providing a unique perspective on America's dietary triumphs and failures, The Hundred Year Diet sheds valuable light on how we became a country that spends more of our hard-earned dollars on weight-loss products than we do on fresh vegetables.

CBS Sunday Morning, "To Diet For" from Susan Yager on Vimeo.

Praise for The Hundred Year Diet

"For the diet-obsessed among us, her book is a fascinating read."
New York Times

"Ms. Yager's bite-sized chapters are easy and pleasant to digest..."
Wall Street Journal

"...far-reaching, well-researched survey of America's fascination with diets..."
Newsday

"Anyone interested in the evolving influence of dieting within our culture will find this original resource informative."
Library Journal

"An exhaustive new history of Americans' insatiable hunger for all things weight loss...'The Hundred Year Diet' is nicely divided into dainty portions of lively prose that invite easy grazing. They not only go down easily, they are fairly nutritious and often hit the spot."
Des Moines Register

Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune editor's picks.

"By dissecting the aesthetic, moral and commercial basis of our obsessions with eating, The Hundred Year Diet illuminates the path to a healthier, and saner, food future."
— Brian Halweil , author of Eat Here and publisher of Edible Manhattan, Edible Brooklyn and Edible East End

"Susan Yager has given us a delightful breeze through a century of American dietary prescriptions, from Dr. Kellogg to Michael Pollan. What to do? We still haven't figured out how to keep our food appetites to reasonable limits."
— Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of What to Eat.





Six years ago my uncle and his girlfriend (both on diets) and my son and his wife (who is vegan) were coming to our house for dinner. Since this was late summer on the east end of Long Island, I had a lot of wonderful, local, animal free-options. I roasted Japanese eggplants for a tomato/eggplant casserole, made a big green salad, sliced some additional heirloom tomatoes, chopped garlic for a simple olive oil and basil pasta, baked some biscotti, and had a lot of fresh peaches, plums and nectarines ready to grill for dessert.

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