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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

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  •  
    John Columbia, MD, United States 08-27-12
    John Columbia, MD, United States 08-27-12
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    "Bold Explanation of Real Dietary Advice"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It is a life-altering listen. The book is quite large, and this is the reason I decided to purchase the audio book. I would recommend this to a friend as it explains in detail about scientific nutritional information that affects not only the individual reading/listening but everyone on this planet.


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

    Why We Get Fat is a condensed version of GCBC. However, GCBC expands on that information and gives even more credence to the carbohydrate hypothesis claim. It also expands on the notion that the diseases of civilization all stem from diet, specifically in direct causal relationship to dietary carbohydrate intake.


    What does Mike Chamberlain bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His tone keeps the listener interested throughout. This is extremely tough to do when detailing scientific studies and nutritional science.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes. The fact that heart attacks, type II diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, gout, obesity and much more can be prevented solely by changing diet. The huge amount of evidence suggests the carbohydrate hypothesis is on the right track.Furthermore, other major unscientific claims are debunked:1)Cholesterol is a GOOD thing.2)Saturated fat is one of the most important nutrients you can ever ingest and should never be limited.3)Salt should not be limited.4)Exercise is not good for losing weight and can in fact have the opposite affect.5)Limiting food intake is not a good method for losing weight.Other interesting points the book makes:1)A lot of cause for infertility may be due to diet.2)Insulin resistance and future weight issues are determined in the womb.3)Nicotine affects fatty acid flow from the adipose tissue, which in essence is the hunger depressant associated with use. Once individuals quit smoking, they typically gain weight due to the re-regulation of fatty acid flow.4)A large portion of cancers are potentially due to diet alone. Therefore, they can be prevented. 5)It is hypothesized that rather than being a behavioral issue, anorexia and other eating disorders may be more biological than anything else.


    Any additional comments?

    A must read for everyone.

    24 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 02-05-12
    Mary 02-05-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Science, science, and more (fascinating) science."
    Any additional comments?

    There are two versions, one written with all the science (this one) and one written with just the principles laid out. I was afraid this longer version might be dry, but he draws all the scientific studies before in a masterful explanation. I was looking forward to the conclusions but sorry when it was over.

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nataliya United States 10-24-11
    Nataliya United States 10-24-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Good, though tough to get through."

    There really isn't a better resource out there for all the science that supports low carb way of life. The problem is that when you put all that science in to one book, that book becomes quite a task. It took me a few months to get through it in audio format, it probably would have taken a year to get through in hard copy.
    That being said, it's still the best book to learn all you want to learn about overweight and health and micronutrients and how you can't trust the food pyramid in your decision making process in regards to your nutrition.

    36 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Brown 04-29-12
    L. Brown 04-29-12
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    "What's with the "squeaks" in the audio download?"
    What did you like best about Good Calories, Bad Calories? What did you like least?

    What I liked best about Good Calories, Bad Calories is the content of the book. Broadly researched, no skimping and great analysis of the material covered. I don't have to agree with everything to say that. What I liked the least about the audio book are the distracting "squeaks" that occur in the audio at irregular intervals. It seems to be a fault unique to this audio book as the two books I have downloaded since do not contain it. It is annoying enough that I would not keep purchasing audio books if this is a common problem. When Audible gets this problem rectified I will re-download this book . . . I have already downloaded it twice in different formats and the problem persists.


    What about Mike Chamberlain’s performance did you like?

    Mike Chamberlain narrates at a pace and with voicing that keeps my interest even through somewhat technical "dry" material. If you can do that, you have to be better than some of my profs were. . . but I can't be to critical of them either, as keeping a receptive audience is no small achievement.


    Could you see Good Calories, Bad Calories being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Not applicable


    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark C Flynn 03-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "This changed the way I look at food!"

    The information in this book was completely new to me. The things that we take for granted about food are not true (or at least unproven). This book was an exhaustive look at food and health, in particular the diseases of civilization. Very interesting stuff, but it is exhausting to listen to. The amount I learned made up for the excessive explanation and evidence... On the other hand i am not sure I would have been convinced with less evidence.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Plano, Texas 03-16-12
    Mark Plano, Texas 03-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "This changed the way I look at food!"

    The information in this book was completely new to me. The things that we take for granted about food are not true (or at least unproven). This book was an exhaustive look at food and health, in particular the diseases of civilization. Very interesting stuff, but it is exhausting to listen to. The amount I learned made up for the excessive explanation and evidence... On the other hand i am not sure I would have been convinced with less evidence.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James CHALFONT, PA, United States 10-01-13
    James CHALFONT, PA, United States 10-01-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Fantastic scientific support of carb-restriction"

    This book is a fantastic compilation of nutrition and metabolism research over the past century. Many studies are cited and described for the layperson as well as for the scientifically minded. Let me begin as stating that I went into this as being very skeptical, and even being on the side of our current dogma (low fat, low calorie as a healthy diet). As a scientist, I was looking for a book that would describe the science behind the idea of carbohydrate restriction, and this book is it. While it's important to note that the hypothesis of carbohydrates causing many of the "diseases of civilization" including heart disease, obesity, and cancer, is not scientifically proven without a doubt, this book opened my eyes to the fact that dietary fat and cholesterol as a cause is ALSO not proven without a doubt.

    As a scientist in immunology, I find it appalling that the obesity and nutrition research field has gone down this path of biased interpretation. I understand it is frowned upon to challenge conventional wisdom, but when this dogma is so poorly supported, there should be someone out there to challenge it! Based on what the author has laid out, these two competing hypotheses on nutrition (low fat/calorie restriction vs. carbohydrate restriction) should have academic and industrial researchers on BOTH sides working on studies that can definitively support either one. My hope is that this book has woken up this field to really test this alternative hypothesis of carbohydrates (via insulin) as the cause of our obesity epidemic. Currently, the United States government is recommending to the public to semi-starve themselves and eat a higher percentage of carbohydrates in their "healthy balanced" diet. If this is wrong, think about how many lives were lost and how many diseases could have been prevented, not to mention the ridiculous burden on healthcare to treat all of these diseases. In addition, it would be nice to turn around the public perception of overweight and obese people being gluttons and sloths.

    In addition to the science, the history of how we got to where we are was fascinating. The role of WW2 on this science alone is something people really do not think about.

    Lastly, the audio was also very good. The reader changes his voice when he is quoting something to the point where I could tell when quotation marks were present in the book without actually seeing the print! Overall, this was very well done.

    In summary, I highly recommend this book. Personally, my wife and I have switched to a low-carb lifestyle recently, and even after three weeks, we feel great. We're not nearly as hungry as on our prior calorie-restricted diets, and we've already lost 10lbs each. The author's description on how the diet works really has motivated me to stick with it. Additionally, with my family history of heart disease and obesity, I hope to curtail any risk by sticking to this new dietary regiment. My hope is that these hypotheses are eventually tested in an appropriate scientific environment and then interpreted in an unbiased way. Finally, once the science is there, the public health machinery really needs to ramp up its efforts to turn this obesity epidemic around.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    william naples, FL, United States 04-28-12
    william naples, FL, United States 04-28-12 Member Since 2011
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    "No other way to say it- The truth about FAT"
    What did you love best about Good Calories, Bad Calories?

    Extremely well researched book. It took 5 years to write and it shows. Debunks the diet myths. Killer focus on carbs and insulin as the culprit. Backup with historical and demographic and anthropological data.
    The science of fat metabolism is clarified. the compilation of sugar as the culprit is extensive. Long precise and detailed. A must read for anyone who plans to eat for the foreseeable future.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Good Calories, Bad Calories?

    Lab data about mice is particularly telling. Studies of other societies who contact the Western diet disease. MUSt read!


    Have you listened to any of Mike Chamberlain’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Most of it was great.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-09-13
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    "Fantastic"

    Nicely read by Chamberlain, but the real brilliance of this book is the quality and depth of the research described in the book. This is probably the best and most important book that I have ever read or listened to.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tee Clemson 01-07-13
    Tee Clemson 01-07-13 Member Since 2013

    My 2 hour round trip commute daily is made tolerable only by audio books.

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    "Excellent Book revealing how dogma trumps evidence"
    If you could sum up Good Calories, Bad Calories in three words, what would they be?

    Bad science revealed.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Good Calories, Bad Calories?

    How a large, often sited, study ignored their actual findings in favor of the accepted dogma which their findings contradicted.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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