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The Soy paradox: The Western nutrition transition revisited, 1950-2010

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The article addresses the Western nutrition transition from the mid-twentieth century onwards through the lens of soy. The soybean and its products have mostly been neglected in accounts of the nutrition transition. If anything, the soybean appears as an antagonist of the nutrition transition. The article argues that soy simultaneously played an opposite - though less obvious - role as a protagonist of the nutrition transition. As both antagonist and protagonist, soy's role was quite paradoxical. Based on time-series and cross-section analyses of country-level data, the article sketches a more nuanced picture of dietary change in the past as a challenge of global society and its environment in the future.
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Keywords: Europe; North America; Western Nutrition Transition; margarine; meat; soybean

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2018

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  • The half-yearly journal Global Environment: A Journal of History and Natural and Social Sciences acts as a forum and echo chamber for ongoing studies on the environment and world history, with special focus on modern and contemporary topics. Our intent is to gather and stimulate scholarship that, despite a diversity of approaches and themes, shares an environmental perspective on world history in its various facets, including economic development, social relations, production government, and international relations.
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