Purpose: Driven by the visible proliferation of marketing scholarship dedicated to the topics of food marketing and consumer well-being, this study aims to examine the prevailing meanings and assumptions around food and health in marketing research. Design/methodology/approach: Following the guiding principles of Foucault’s archaeology of knowledge and the methodological orientation of critical discourse analysis, the authors analyze a systematically produced corpus of 190 academic articles from 56 publication outlets. Findings: The study identifies three discourses of health and food dominant in marketing and consumer research. Each of the three discourses blends the ideology of healthism with market(ing) ideologies and provides a unique perspective on the meanings of health and health risks, the principles of appropriate consumer conduct and the role of marketing in regard to consumer and societal well-being. Research limitations/implications: The study contributes to research into ideologies in and of marketing by introducing useful concepts that help explain the role of healthism in marketing discourse. Practical implications: The finding of three dominant discourses could help reduce at least some of the existing complexity in regard to conflicting knowledge existing in the domain of health and food, and thus could inspire a more reflective body of work by researchers, policymakers and marketers towards improved food-related well-being. Originality/value: This analysis of assumptions and consequences of the meanings mobilized by the dominant marketing discourses contributes to a better understanding of the current state of knowledge about health in the market reality.