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Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It | [Gary Taubes]

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2010 Gary Taubes (P)2010 Random House

What Members Say

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  •  
    Angela Ballymote, Ireland 03-08-11
    Angela Ballymote, Ireland 03-08-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Eye opener"

    I knew I had to change my eating habits - yes, I'm overweight and would like to lose weight but I wanted to stop the continuous eating and the amounts I was eating. I couldn't understand the constant need to put food in my mouth - sugary food, cakes, biscuits, sweets etc. Gary Taubes explains very clearly (albeit repetitively!) that what I am eating is slowly but surely destroying me and all I can look forward to as I get older is diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It's not going to be easy to change my eating habits but in order to get well and stay well I have to - it's not about the scales or my clothes fitting me, it's about living and feeling well. I now have the clarity and understanding that I was missing before and it's thanks to this book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katy Crumpton 04-26-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Life changer"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Tauranga, New Zealand 03-04-11
    James Tauranga, New Zealand 03-04-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "one of the best!!!"

    i started listening to why we get fat and it open up my eyes to what we should be eating. But it is not a weight lost book. Its an information book on why are are getting fat. It opened up my eyes. I hope it will open up others eyes and doctors eyes as well. 5 stars from me. Please people get this book!!!!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom MANTECA, CA, United States 02-18-11
    Tom MANTECA, CA, United States 02-18-11 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This book changed my life."

    I was literally weeping while reading this book. It described every single attempt I've ever made to lose weight, and then explained why it failed. Also, because if my mother had this information 30 years ago she may never had been obese, and may still be alive today.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nathan salmiya, Kuwait 02-02-11
    nathan salmiya, Kuwait 02-02-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wake up!! Carb lovers…"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dain Linder Castle Rock, CO United States 01-14-11
    Dain Linder Castle Rock, CO United States 01-14-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Very Compelling"

    I'm not all the way through the book but am very intrigued by what I have heard so far. My background is in Exercise Science so this goes against the conventional wisdom I was taught. However, conventional wisdom on more than one occasion in history hasn't been very wise. This note is for the location of the accompanying reference guide. It's located just above the reviews underneath the Publishers Summary section. :-)

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie BERKELEY, CA, United States 07-09-12
    Stephanie BERKELEY, CA, United States 07-09-12
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    "Scientific. Interesting."

    I found this an interesting read despite the heaviness of scientific data presented. Lots of good information to ponder. But be warned, it's big on meat as seemingly a cure to the issue of obesity. Gary appears to be a proponent of the Atkins diet and similar ways of eating.

    He was pretty convincing, though. And this is coming from a 20+ year vegetarian. Afterwards, I read In Defense of Food, which gives another perspective entirely, however, and I found great benefit in having read them both---as I felt I got a well-rounded view of today's science and perspectives on diet. In the end, my leanings are more toward that of Pollan's (In Defense of Food), but this is a very good and worthy read for that sense of well-roundedness.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 05-26-11
    Barbara 05-26-11
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    "Much more than a simple diet book."

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela T. Szpojda USA 04-12-11
    Angela T. Szpojda USA 04-12-11 Listener Since 2008

    angieszz

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    "An interesting factual reference to eating"

    If I had to write my review in 20 words or less it read like this:-
    You are what you eat, the quality of carbs impact our health, facts are everywhere but sometimes an author puts them together that just makes sense.

    Enjoy!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 02-20-11
    Mike 02-20-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not a Diet Book"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 172 results PREVIOUS12318NEXT
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  • Colin
    gillingham, kent, United Kingdom
    4/21/11
    Overall
    "I don't do this..."

    I don't do this... review purchases. This time I've made an important exception.

    WIth a keen interest in personal fitness and health, I've been interested in nutrition for the last twenty years. Although not particularly overweight, I'm very aware of the sacrifices that the majority (of which I am one) make to keep healthy and trim. I've read the magazines and followed the fads and routines over the years. I even qualified as a fitness instructor and particularly enjoyed the nutrition element of my training.

    Central to common accepted 'understanding' on weight loss is the tenet that if you don't burn off the calories you put in, you gain weight, and vice-versa. This book destroys this myth. With reasoned argument that is backed with research by world renowned academics and institutions over the past one hundred years, Taubes explores carbohydrate consumption, Glycaemic index, insulin secretion and their effect on the body.

    The result is knowledge which I've applied to the way I eat (not 'Diet') and followed for approximately two months. I've lost 12 pounds in weight ...easily. I haven't even exercised as much as I might. I've never been hungry, eaten as much as I want, and have enjoyed all that I've eaten - all in the knowledge that not only am I slimmer, but the information offered with have a positive affect on my risk of diabetes, heart disease and health in general.

    Please don't dismiss this. Please read/listen to this book first and base your judgement on an informed opinion. I'm spreading the word as much as I can; I hope you will do too...

    47 of 48 people found this review helpful
  • Joe
    Nottingham, United Kingdom
    7/7/11
    Overall
    "Essential Reading"

    Having read 'Protein Power' a number of years ago I already knew how bad carbs were and that it's them rather than fats that make us fat. However reading this book will completely change the way you think about food; or at least it did with me. Gary explains in great detail that we eat because we get fat, the conventional wisdom is that we get fat because we eat. If that doesn't make sense now then read this book; for those of you who are overweight maybe its time to stop blaming the obesity epidemic on gluttony or your own lack of willpower.
    Please note, this is not a diet book and I agree with Gary Taubes that diets just don't work, at least not in the long term. Having said that, I lost a large amount of weight after reading this book because I changed what I eat rather than how much I eat. I don't see that there's an end point or a target weight to be reached, after which point I'll go back to my old bad eating habits. This is the diet trap and one of the many reasons they fail.
    This book will debunk years of dietary myths and completely shatter the hypothesis that high fat, high cholesterol diets lead to heart disease and obesity.
    I was trying to think of a particular demographic for whom this book is essential reading but actually it's essential reading for everyone. Whether you're a parent trying to make the right food choices for your kids, suffering from obesity or just plain health conscious; buy this book and change the way you think about food forever.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • M.J.
    United Kingdom
    8/23/11
    Overall
    "Getting to the meat of it..."

    This book would have five stars were it not for the narrator. The material is absolutely excellent. Insightful, well researched, carefully structured and unpacked I wish it had been available when I was growing up instead at the latter part of my life. I'm very fortunate not to be obese but there is no question that my body has paid a price for a life-time of dietary ignorance. Vulnerabilty to all the ills of the first world is the price, and I have the package - diabetes, prostrate problems, hyper-tension - I'm just lucky to have made it to 70! This is one of those books that will change your life and your attitudes to obesity - all for the better - thank you Gary Taubes. But now what of the reader? Mike Chamberlain is very strange. The American determination to pronouce certain words without an 'h' (as in urbs instead of herbs - OK I can live with that) is taken to extremes and he makes practically all 'h's silent! Its very funny - though I am sure he didn't mean it to be....Fortunately the material survives and its well worth putting up with the reader's quirk. However I have come to a decision - from now on I buy only books narrated by the author - Rob Lowe, Stephen Fry, Darren Bown, Michael Caine, Christopher Hitchens - all brilliant reads...

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Holmfirth, W Yorks, United Kingdom
    2/25/11
    Overall
    "Life Changing. Wow!"

    I had no idea. And now at least four of my friends are just as stunned after buying their own copies.

    If you've ever wanted to lose weight. If you've ever struggled to be slim, PLEASE try this book. I've listened to it three times so far and I'm still learning.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Pamela
    London, United Kingdom
    3/3/11
    Overall
    "Sound advice"

    This is a very informative book, I have read everything there is about health and weight loss etc but I found this one really laid it down in plain English while not skimping on any of the necessary science and information. It's not really a diet book as such however the advice on how to eat to deal with the issues you may have regarding insulin regulation is extremely helpful. I will definitely be recommending this title to friends and family as I think it's basic advice that everyone should know regardless of whether they have weight issues or not.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Carole
    United Kingdom
    8/14/11
    Overall
    "All makes sense really...."

    if you can just drop all you probably believe now about dieting (don't worry reasons are given on why you may wish to change your mind). So many of us (I'm definitely including myself) have tried every diet under the sun and beat ourselves up when it doesn't work or the effects last.
    I had a long drive ahead of me last week and thought an audio book (first for me) would be ideal - I wasn't wrong and in general would recommend audio books but I didn't expect the content of this one to be so facinating!
    Am trying the diet outlined - so far no craving of carbs (which is amazing). I used to think I was in a habit of eating every hour or so and that I was a 'grazer' however within only a few days I can now (with the knowledge of the book) see that I was only responding to my body's craving for carbs (the more of them you eat, the more you want) - whether you are hungry / need them or not. I feel positive with this level of control and we'll just need to see how things go re my inches / weight as time progresses. Far too early to comment on that one at present. I'd highly recommend a listen to this audiobook though - then you can make you own mind up on what you believe.
    One minor downside is repetition - which is generally across chapters and I suppose is to be expected if you want to be able to read each chapter in isolation - or it may be a method of pressing the point being made!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • DH
    UK
    4/5/11
    Overall
    "Do not diet without listening to this first!"

    A straightforward take on a really simple concept. I listened to this while on a VLCD and it makes more sense than virtually everything else I have heard - not so easy to follow but with the tools available you are then empowered! Definately worth listening to if you want to control your weight in the long term.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    watford, herts, United Kingdom
    4/7/11
    Overall
    "Listen to this again and again"

    I have listened to this book three times over already, It is quite simply a revelation and it gets better every time I listen. I have changed my lifestyle and I am losing weight because know I understand why i couldn't lose weight before, despite a whole number of different diets. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, everyone should have the chance read it or hear it. Awesome.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Carmel
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    3/7/11
    Overall
    "Carmels Review"

    Absolute must listen, well researched and presented, well read. Loved it!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    United Kingdom
    7/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No Idea what the fuss is about - Overrated"
    Would you try another book written by Gary Taubes or narrated by Mike Chamberlain?

    No


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The interesting part was the title. I bought it as I am very interested in all aspects of health, fitness and nutrition. According to other reviews it's amazing but all I got from it is that if you are really fat, then following this method will help you lose weight (including muscle mass I presume - but that's OK because you don't need it unless you are one of them exercise nuts like me). And you won't even need to worry about your health or the impact your new gluttony for meat has on the environment. It is full of scientific sounding theories and filler from ye-olde ancient texts but does not actually get to the point or lead the listener to anything other than a very simple conclusion which could have been summed up in one sentence.


    What three words best describe Mike Chamberlain’s voice?

    Dull. American. Condescending.


    Was Why We Get Fat worth the listening time?

    No. I gave up and started to chapter skip.


    Any additional comments?

    I really don't see why this book has so many high star reviews (although it is due to them I bothered to download it). It is dull, slow and cites many debunked theories as 'fact' by missing out vital information along the way. The whole book can be summed up with one sentence: Carbohydrates make you fat, especially white flour and sugar, so go buy an Atkins diet book and find out which foods to avoid and why.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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