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Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health | [Gary Taubes]

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health

For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars, and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number.
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Publisher's Summary

For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars, and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number. In this groundbreaking book, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong.

©2007, 2008 Gary Taubes (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Easily the most important book on diet and health to be published in the past one hundred years. It is clear, fast-paced, and exciting to read, rigorous, authoritative, and a beacon of hope for all those who struggle with problems of weight regulation and general health." (Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize–winning author)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (360 )
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4.3 (294 )
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Performance
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  •  
    esinti 08-12-14
    esinti 08-12-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    Story
    "Good Scientists Bad Scientists"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was. It helped me understand the facts.


    Has Good Calories, Bad Calories turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mike Chamberlain?

    Yes


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    In this book, Gary Taubes did exactly what supposedly evil scientists in his book did. When he presented 9 studies that showed high fat diet is bad, he put every aspect of those studies under scrutiny and dismissed every evidence. However, when he presented 1 study that showed high fat diet may not be that bad, he didn't question the study at all, accepted all the claims, and twisted the results to "high-fat diet is good". There are several reasons why there will never be an unquestionable study that shows one kind of diet is better than the other, so I am not saying what Gary Taubes is defending is right or wrong. However, this book definitely isn't a scientific proof of his dietary advice. Mr. Taubes claims that the scientists had already decided that high fat diet is bad, and interpreted their data with bias to support their hypothesis, and they dismissed the data that didn't support their hypothesis. He does the exact same thing in this book. He has already decided that high fat diet is good, and he dismisses every study that contradicts with his ideas, and he accepts every study that supports his ideas. He should have titled the book good scientists bad scientists, because according to Mr. Taubes, every scientist claiming high-fat diet is bad is a bad scientist, and every scientist claiming high-fat diet is good is a good scientist.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Temple Portland, OR 07-23-14
    R. Temple Portland, OR 07-23-14 Member Since 2014

    mutex music

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    "Great Book. Might be more useful in print vs audio"
    Would you listen to Good Calories, Bad Calories again? Why?

    I might read the text version.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It has great information about history of diet science, and even more importantly, insight to how dietary recommendations have been wrong.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought this book didn't translate as well for audio format than other books due to how numerous quotes from various scientists would sometimes come across as the voice of the author (until the sometimes long quote was finished and then you hear the who said/wrote the cited text). I felt the narrator could have done a lot to improve this issue by affecting his voice more when reading cited/quoted passages. The narrator otherwise was clear and pleasant. There were also audio 'glitches' (random audio artifacts) throughout, but they were only slightly distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Higgins San Rafael, CA United States 06-30-14
    Laura Higgins San Rafael, CA United States 06-30-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "BEST read on obesity, food and science, evah!"
    Would you listen to Good Calories, Bad Calories again? Why?

    I have listened to it multiple times. This book is so dense with detail and exquisitely done research that I pick up new details every time I listen.


    What other book might you compare Good Calories, Bad Calories to and why?

    Why We Get Fat by same author -- that one is shorter and more direct, more geared toward a lay audience. Both are great.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hm... nonfiction research books don't really have "scenes" but a recurring theme that hits you hard is: researchers are totally biased; and by the way, there's really not been a lot of stringent research. Oh, and also -- a few of the biggest, most highly-respected, "Leading Lights" of obesity research never actually worked with a single obese patient to help them reduce. Therefore, we've got this whole "it's your fault -- you lack moral character" mentality that "everyone" agrees with.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, not possible. Too much data; you've got to chip away at this to let it sink in.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd love to see this or Why We get Fat in the hands (ears) of every personal trainer, dietitian, and any other medical or psychological professional whose knee-jerk response is "you must be a glutton and/or a sloth, there is no other reason you are obese."

    It's not true. The facts bear this out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bluealvarez Boston, MA 03-14-13
    Bluealvarez Boston, MA 03-14-13

    Bluealvarez

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    "Great information, a little too much conjecture"
    What did you love best about Good Calories, Bad Calories?

    The in depth research he seemed to do and the wealth of information on how insulin and other factors work in the body. I think I learned a lot from just listening to that if nothing else.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How much it taught me about cholesterol, trigylcerides, AGE's and a host of other terms that I had only heard of, but now feel like, for a layman, I have a decent grasp of how they work.


    What about Mike Chamberlain’s performance did you like?

    I was amazed at how he managed to emphasize and punctuate every sentence so well, as if he knew exactly what Gary Taubes was trying to say. It can't be easy to do with such dense, technical verbiage. His voice was easy to listen to and I was definitely impressed.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, although there were certainly some things that Gary Taubes said that I didn't agree with or found unnecessary to include because they weakened his argument. Particularly, I was disappointed with the third of the 3 sections, because unlike the first two, it seemed to be much less about dissecting the existing the science and much more about him extrapolating to all manner of ends what else the insulin response in the body might be responsible for, some of which seemed dubious.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica tifton, georgia, United States 07-18-13
    Monica tifton, georgia, United States 07-18-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dont wear headphones!"

    there is a weird, LOUD kreeeeechk sound here and there that will burst your ear drum if you are wearing headphones.

    I could not get through the first few chapters of this book. I guess I expected this book to read something like Dr. Oz's 'YOU on a diet", but that was not the case. This book was written by a journalist whose specialty is reviewing evidence of scientific hypothesis. In the few chapter I managed to get through, he goes on and on about the history of dieting.

    Not for me.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol in Chicago 05-21-13 Member Since 2009
    ratings
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    Story
    "Impossible to Pay Attention To"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If I were a doctor or a scientist, the way that the material was presented may have held my interest.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Gary Taubes again?

    No


    How could the performance have been better?

    Not sure, he did the best he could with an extremely boring book


    What character would you cut from Good Calories, Bad Calories?

    n/a


    Any additional comments?

    I know this wasn't a work or fiction so I wasn't expecting a thriller, & I have read several similar books which were quite good and interesting but this was incredibly boring and was more suited to a medical journal than something that people listen to on an audiobook.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Lake Oswego, OR, United States 05-29-12
    Barry Lake Oswego, OR, United States 05-29-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Six hours later and still not sure where its going"
    What disappointed you about Good Calories, Bad Calories?

    I've listened for hours and still not sure what this author is trying to get across


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Steve Jobs


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Covers a lot of research but not sure what the point is


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    confusion


    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    vicki Watkinsville, GA, United States 11-14-11
    vicki Watkinsville, GA, United States 11-14-11 Member Since 2010

    mysteryreader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Bad book"

    Bad science, tedious, author loves to hear himself talk, pseudo-science. Not only was the entire book hard to wade through, it was redundant, and full of "factoids" the author picked to support his misguided and poorly researched diatribe

    6 of 58 people found this review helpful
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