Various trendy diets characterize the foodscape today. This paper focuses on the low-carbohydrate (LC) diet, which gained large publicity in Finland in late 2010, affecting eating habits and food sales. In order to understand the factors affecting its emergence, we turned to the internet because it is a key environment where enthusiasts meet and new phenomena are forged. By analyzing the prevalence of keywords on carbohydrate-conscious eating in
a database of over one billion social media messages in 2001–17, we found two peaks of activity – in 2002–07 and 2011–13. We then used innovative computational text-mining methods to compare the language about the LC diet in the two peaks to seek an explanation for why it became trendy in Finland only in 2011. While the key semantic fields remained roughly the same between
the two peak periods on a general level, when the granularity of the model was increased, differences between individual cluster communities were detected that
attest to the growing importance and mainstreaming of the diet. The results and the presented method are significant to public health and food industry actors, who want to track emerging food phenomena in the current fast-moving media environments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood, Culture, and Society
Number of pages26
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Sep 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5200 Other social sciences

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