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Food for Thought: Notes on Food, Performance, and the Athletic Body

Relatively little scholarly attention has been given to the theoretical and epistemological assumptions through which food and eating are implicated as vehicles to reproduce the athletic body. The purpose of this research note is to consider potential avenues for critical inquiry into the connections between food, sport, and athletic performance. More specifically, we will investigate the relationships of food to understandings of performance-enhancing technologies. While these studies tend to focus their attention on how certain substances and practices become classified as illicit or unnatural, we argue that much can be learned by examining the other side of this binary opposition and by considering why certain substances and practices are firmly positioned outside the realm of performance enhancers. We highlight food and eating as especially fruitful sites for this type of analysis and interrogate how food is firmly positioned as unquestionably more “natural” than illicit performance enhancers.