This conversation is part of a special issue on “Critical Nutrition” in which multiple authors weigh in on various themes related to the origins, character, and consequences of contemporary American nutrition discourses and practices, as well as how nutrition might be known and done differently. In this section authors focus on the hegemony of reductionism and quantification in modern-day nutritional knowledge by discussing the historical foundations and ethical dimensions, as well as the scientific absences, in this knowledge. Reviewing various challenges to the energy balance model, they all suggest that the promotion of good nutrition is far from simple. Some authors also discuss why various “invisible” nutrients and measures of good nutrition continue to hold so much sway in nutrition discourse.

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