An eye-opening, myth-shattering examination of what makes us fat, from acclaimed science writer Gary Taubes.
In his New York Times best seller, Good Calories, Bad Calories, Taubes argued that our diet’s overemphasis on certain kinds of carbohydrates—not fats and not simply excess calories—has led directly to the obesity epidemic we face today. The result of thorough research, keen insight, and unassailable common sense, Good Calories, Bad Calories immediately stirred controversy and acclaim among academics, journalists, and writers alike. Michael Pollan heralded it as “a vitally important book, destined to change the way we think about food.”
Building upon this critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, Taubes now revisits the urgent question of what’s making us fat—and how we can change—in this exciting new book. Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get Fat makes Taubes’s crucial argument newly accessible to a wider audience.
Taubes reveals the bad nutritional science of the last century, none more damaging or misguided than the “calories-in, calories-out” model of why we get fat, and the good science that has been ignored, especially regarding insulin’s regulation of our fat tissue. He also answers the most persistent questions: Why are some people thin and others fat? What roles do exercise and genetics play in our weight? What foods should we eat, and what foods should we avoid?
Packed with essential information and concluding with an easy-to-follow diet, Why We Get Fat is an invaluable key in our understanding of an international epidemic and a guide to what each of us can do about it.
©2010 Gary Taubes (P)2010 Random House
This book changed my life. I listened twice. That was one month ago. Since then I have lost 15 pounds without doing anything differently except following the premise of this book. My wife is pissed at my success because she has been busting her butt in exercise classes and has only dropped 8 pounds. So there you go.
It’s been two years since I started Carb restriction and life has changed dramatically for the best, first Atkins and Yudkin, now Taubes. Well explained and researched. A must in your library if you decide to take this path, I was hoping to find more about the Sugar Lobby, perhaps future publications will reveal the big lie.
Taubes has made quite a stir with this and its more technical predecessor "Good Calories, Bad Calories" but he's not going away. Instead his arguments and logic only get stronger.
This book is perfectly accessible as it lacks the excruciating detail of "Good Calories" but still contains the meat of the information (no pun intended).
It is not a diet book, and Taubes is not selling a diet plan. And he's not a research scientist or a doctor with some academic dog in the fight. He's a renowned science writer with a history of credibility. He presents the history of how we came to the place where we're at now - an epidemic of obesity compounded by some very, very bad advice from the highest ranks of the medical community.
Taubes is a writer for the NY Times who has done in-depth research on the science of obesity for almost 10-years. He wrote a detailed book on the subject in 2007, but this slim volume is especially written for the layman and casual reader. He uses historical fact to prove that "fat" is not man's enemy, but refined "carbs" are.
Taubes documents how medicine, from the late 1800s up through the 1950s, had correctly identified overconsumption of starches as the principal cause of weight gain. Then, so-called "modern" medicine began to attack dietary fat as the chief cause of heart disease, and carbs (flour and grain products, especially) were pushed as healthful. Over the past 50 years, the campaign against fat has ravaged our nation's health, by unintentionally shifting humans away from even "good" fats to consume more sugar and refined carbohydrates. We now have a nation with obesity rates going from less than 20% in 2000 to more than one-third today, leading to rampant diabetes and other weight-related ailments. Taubes's analysis carries an important message for policymakers, educators, and our loved ones -- in order to stay thin and healthy we need to lose the carbs, not the fat.
This book changed my life and and my family's. I had heard of low carb diets but, like most close-minded people, I thought they were bad for your health. This book explains how wrong I was and provides scientific evidence to back it up. This is not a diet book (there is a sample diet plan in the back, though) but once you understand how carbs influence fat you really don't need a diet plan. I eat all I want, I'm never hungry, and I've never been healthier in my life. Any doubts you have will be assuaged - Taubes explains what your body will go through and what the ultimate result will be. It is amazing how many misconceptions I had about diets and weight loss.
Gary Taubes' book explains the biology and science of food and the human body. He cites observational and scientific studies to support his conclusion that most of the guidelines and advice we have receive about diet, excercise, and good health are most likely incorrect. The book will challenge what you've heard before, and what you probably believe. This book convinced me that many of the heart-healthy diet messages I've received and believed over my entire lifetime (I'm in my early 40s) is absolutely wrong. And Taubes did this by using facts, not suppositions and notions. However, this is not a diet book, nor does it prescribe Atkins, South Beach, etc. It simply explains the biological effects of carbohydrates, protein, and fat on the human body. I've researched new lifetime approaches to eating and consulted with my physician. As a result, I am effortlessly becoming leaner. I've lost 10 pounds in about 5 weeks without being hungry or exercising. My bloodwork just came in the other day, and everything is reading just fine. Read (or listen) and you'll come away enlightened.
Internet entrepreneur from the Netherlands.
Need I say more?
This guy knows his stuff. He has done a ton of research, but he presents it in a very orderly fashion, so you can follow easily. It shifts your paradigm and it makes perfect sense. The concepts you learn are easy to translate to others around you and they work.
Though you get a lot of data, it is well written and well read. Especially the narrator did an excellent job, making this research data sound nice to listen to. So thanks for that Mike.
This book is a basic cornerstone of all the knowledge a person can acumulate during life. It touches on a thing every person on this planet has to deal with every day of their life: food!
Why do some foods make us fat and others don't? And it's not what you think!
The headline of this review is true. I'm currently just under 300 lbs and still dropping. Its amazing to see the effects of following the nutritional plan in the pdf. I'm now reading Good Calories, Bad Calories and am a convert. I'm an Engineer by school and job and I love his scientific approach and that he can back it all up in GC,BC with evidence.
If you want to lose weight, read this book and follow the advice. It really is that simple.
I lost 20 pounds in two months following Gary's recommendations. I feel great and most of my ills are gone. My BMI is currently 25.9 down from 29.2 People say I look 10 years younger other more than that. Great book! Thanks!
This seminal book, written by a scientist, about a troubled scientific field will be a life saver for many. Gary Taubes has dug out some wonderful nuggets of information about nutrition science and the discoveries around it and presented them to us in a 'consumable' way. It is an important book, because it's not just about getting weight issues under control, it's about getting health under control. In his book, Taubes points to the metabolic outcomes of carbohydrate consumption through historical data, current research and documented accepted science. And the findings show that this issue is not simply about fat accumulation. Other consequences such as heart disease, diabetes, etc. and even possibly brain degenerative diseases, and certain cancers may be the result of our love affair with refined and even unrefined carbohydrates. This information may shock some, and many will reject it as unbelievable. But the science in this field has been so uneven and badly done for so long, that this is understandable. I have long looked for coherent scientific explanations for the increase in obesity and illness. Taubes spent seven years researching the research (and the established science) and that was exactly what was needed to begin to put a respectable face on the science of nutrition. My hope is that this book will inspire many more researchers and nutritionists to begin to look at this complex issue with new eyes. Hopefully they will continue to help define the diseases we have acquired using very good science as a basis for treatment regimes and prevention models that work. I am grateful for this book and for the courage of Gary Taubes. The low-fat, higher carbohydrate model is a bit like a religion for some, and there can be anger and resentment (even ridicule) when one's belief system/religion is challenged. Kudos and blessings to Mr. Taubes.
"For the patient listener"
I was very familiar with the subject of the audiobook, but even I needed self-disciplin to not to turn it off due to the lengthy descriptions and sentences. Keep it simple guys..
As for the subject - a few things I didn't know about the behaviour of fat cells and insulin spikes. A very good book, but not for a novice.
"Food for thought"
Makes me think about what I am eating, I now believe that sugar is the enemy and not fat.
"Really useable dietary science"
The author demonstrates that the doctrine of calorie counting is a recent and challengeable branch of the science of diet and weight management.
This work is a comprehensive review of scientific studies in this field followed by a robust challenge to the thinking underpinning calorie counting, and finally a restatement of more credible and older research that high glycemic index foods overstimulate the production of insulin which leads to deposit of fat regardless of amount of food consumed.
I found it academic in tone (it's a literature review and thesis) but fascinating and ultimately really usable information. It has certainly changed the way I eat and indirectly my weight.
"Tells you what it says - lightbulbs on!"
4 months ago thoroughly fed up at 13 1/2 stone plus (5'6), a female in my late 40's I searched for something that I could stick with and happened upon The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson - this started me on a 'paleo' food choice lifestyle (or as close as I could get to it with limited 'natural' food availability). Within a couple weeks of this I broke my leg and was completely out of action for 2 months, however eating this way the weight still fell off, and I was never hungry! I was curious and wanted to learn more and moved to recommended reading from the 'marksdailyapple.com' website which led me to 'Wheat Belly' by William Davis. By the time I finished that book I was totally fascinated by the science, and the volume of misinformation we have been fed (every pun intended). I went from that to a movie 'Fat Head' that sets out to counter misinformation from the award winning 'Super Size Me', and from that to this book.
This is the 'layman's' version of the much more deeply scientific 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' (which I have not read) by the same author Gary Taubes. It is a revelation! From the facts and research cited from the past 3-4 centuries no less, to the simplified (I am guessing, because I am no scientist and I understood) explanations supported with facts, pictures and examples that we can all relate to. Yes, this is an 'audiobook' and yes I did say pictures, because along with the book the download comes with a PDF file with pictures and text referenced thoughout - EXCELLENT! (though I confess to not having realised I had it until returning to check references made).
The author repeatedly states he is not 'breaking new ground', instead taking from a world of research and wisdom made 'unavailable' to us for decades. If you want to know what makes us fat and what to do about it get this book - you will never look at food the same way again, nor dare I say it the health institutions, medics, food pyramid, gym enthusiasts or diet experts.
4 months on from my first taste of this lifestyle with little or no exercise I am 2 stone lighter and tell you truthfully I have not even noticed it happen. I only wish I had been so informed all the years I was raising my 3 children - I believe this is the author's mission, to inform.
"2kgs/4.4lbs safely in 6 days"
I cannot believe 3 reviewers gave this one star. They should stick to Mills n Boon.
This book has quite probably changed my life for the better forever. I finally understand!! Everyone should read this. Every child should be taught this. Every parent should be forced to read it. It is so important and urgent that people understand the science of what is going on inside us. Otherwise all we can do is blindly follow fads.
The nitty gritty really starts in chapter 9. It's not too scientific for we non scientists. If you can do simple maths, you'll get it. I gave up biology at age 15 and it was pretty straight forward learning.
Please listen to this.
Great book that goes into some of the science of why we get fat, whilst still relating in layman's terms. Its a controversial message, but after listening has we won over. Great book!
"Very informative and convincing"
I loved the book. It made me both understand and believe in the idea of scrapping carbohydrates in favour of fat and meat. However, i instantly tried it for three weeks, whereafter I had my cholesterol levels checked, and they had gone worse. So I take the ideas less seriously now, with a lot less carbohydrates and sugar.
"Important work. Finally being acknowledged."
I expect to see a version of this book published by the WHO. presented in a very accessible way.
what if everything we know about calories is wrong. given the consistent failure of "diets" it stands to reason calorie restriction is not the way forward after all...
"Don't eat starchy Carbs or Sugar."
Mike Chamberlain makes this otherwise dull 'essay' on another theory of weight control endurable.
1. The structure. As he clearly states, he's not saying anything new, so why does he waste several hours outlining his 'argument' without establishing the very simple premise of it?
2. In addition, his argument that all other diets only succeed in the short term because they reduce calorie intake surely holds true for his own which he, unsurprisingly, doesn't go into - if you don't eat bread, potatoes, pasta and avoid all sweet things then, surely, you will also reduce your calorie intake? And, as all the other diets, he claims, fail because they are restrictive surely he can see the irony when states one must be prepared to make a sacrifice.
His argument still fails to address the fact that all diets aim to reduce a type of food intake but it is the inability of most people to stick to any restrictive diet which results in their failure to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight..
Because if you didn't listen to the whole thing you'd have missed the tiny point of this book - and it came at the end.
Read my title and save yourself the time and money.
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