Hysteria: noun an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality
Current day Americans have skewed knowledge on what foods are beneficial to their health, leading to malicious dietary practices. While much research and many studies have been conducted on the subject, newer information continue to emerge, therefore causing a change in nutritional ideas and state of confusion amongst the populace. For example, it was once believed that margarine was a healthier solution to butter, however, now, the hydrogenated fats in the margarine are apparently more detrimental to one’s health. In addition, many people have a common goal of losing weight. However, the many radical diets that have formed as a result are actually more dangerous than the weight gain itself. With that said, it comes down to a lack of knowledge amongst the people, and until the people are able to recognize a malicious versus nutritional diet, societal pressures will continue to push the people in the wrong direction.
While other hysterias, such as terrorist hysterias, target a specific subset of people, the dietary hysteria affects all subsets of people. One of the main ways in which this hysteria targets the people is through societal pressures. Since every wants an ideal body shape, the common idea was to how to lose weight is to limit calories, but in limiting calories, other vital nutrients are limited as well. Furthermore, some groups of individuals take it one step further and take on radical diets that lead to rapid weight loss, which can in some cases be deadly. Another way in which the hysteria affects the people is through the passing of inadequate information, whether from person to person or the media, which in turns leads individuals to make skewed decisions regarding everyday nutrition. An example of this is that of gluten free food items. Gluten itself provides no real health benefit, but when gluten is limited, the other nutrients within the grains are limited as well.