The Sociology and Marketing behind Diet Trends = $$$$$$

Sociology is a fascinating subject. After all, humans are interesting. We do some outrageous things that can’t be explained. We also do some seemingly boring things day-after-day for strange reasons. (Now, let us cue the bright lights on the word “DIET.”)

As you know, my family eats whatever I cook. This is because the other members rarely cook. I am the meal planner, grocery list maker, shopper, and cook/baker/chef all wrapped in one. They love it when my cooking experiments are delicious. However, they don’t necessarily complain when they don’t turn out as expected. I have been cooking since I was about 13 years old. When you are a “latch key kid” you figure out how to cook pretty early so I am no stranger to the kitchen.

Most recently, I have been eating a ketogenic diet. The reason behind this change is because I read tons of articles about it being the best way to beat the battle against haywire hormones that can cause belly bulge in the 40s. Plus, after the initial 2-week period on the diet, energy levels should go up and keto-dieters rarely get hungry. This all sounds good to me, not that I have been excessively tired but more energy can’t be bad.

So, in a nutshell (no pun intended), the keto diet is all about a higher percentage of fat, a medium percentage of protein, and a very small percentage of carbohydrates. In fact, the carbohydrates ingested usually come from the small amounts in avocados and other vegetables, but berries are okay to consume too. My “no pun intended” phrase was based on the fact that nuts of all kinds (walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans) are consumed quite often on this diet. The cool thing is when you eat a ketogenic diet, your body should begin burning fat for fuel. I purchased a book about this recently to understand more about the process. In fact, Ramos (2016) gives the percentage breakdown based on a 2000-calorie diet of approximately 70% fat calories, 20% protein calories, and 5% carbohydrate calories. While I am not going to go into too much detail about the book, I did want to mention to you in case you are interested in finding out more about this way of eating. There are a lot of resources out there for you to review, including her book.

Furthermore, my husband and I were talking about this diet the other day which prompted me to consider whether I was being duped into following this newest diet trend. After all, trends of any kind are fueled by society and are created by someone (in American society, it is typically created by someone wanting to make more money.) Diet trends could most definitely be considered fads that come quickly into our view (which can be very easy to do these days with social media). From well-positioned ads, retailers and advertisers can make us believe just about anything. If we see it enough, it must be good, right? This is not always the case. One of the things I like to point out in the classroom when we discuss media is the fact that marketing is very calculated. In fact, my dear friend Rebecca had a marketing book from one of her undergraduate classes. She and I compared sociology and marketing notes for us to contemplate the connection. Then, she let me borrow it to share with students. Can you guess what one entire section (multiple chapters) featured? You guessed it! It discussed sociology so marketing executives can understand people better to sell us more products. They want to understand us all regardless of our family situation, gender, race, religion, etc. They want to know what makes us tick, so to speak.

Sociology blog

Once you understand the marketing side of things, this can open your mind quite a lot. Watch those infomercials at night sometime. Don’t you think those people have studied us? The placement of these commercials, and any commercial for that matter, isn’t done haphazardly. Thus, my question recently was, “Is the keto diet a marketing scam?” It may be a well-placed strategy to sell more avocados and walnuts. I may be fooled, but I have done some homework. Let us not forget that we are also individuals who must do our own research about what is good for us because we are all unique. There are no two people who are exactly alike on a physiological and genetic level, and on top of that, we change. As we get older, we may not be able to tolerate the same things we once tolerated. So, for now, I laugh at the fact that I thought a fat-free diet was the best way to eat in the mid-90s. I may choke on these words in a year, but I don’t think the ketogenic way of eating is a bad thing since I am not loading my plate with processed foods and chemicals, but whole foods with quality calories.

Lastly, I have a surprise for you! Please look for my newest recipe for “Keto French Fries” later this week! I think you’ll love it. We sure do.


Ramos, A. (2016). The complete ketogenic diet for beginners: Your essential guide to living the keto lifestyle. Berkeley, CA: Rockbridge Press.

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