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' 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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2010 Gary Taubes (P)2010 Random House
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.
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.
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 began this audio book knowing roughly what to expect. I knew it wasn't a diet book per se, but that it aimed to be a thinking person's guide to the science behind carb reduction's benefits.
I am a skeptic by nature. I was predisposed to disrespect the book because it was written by a popular science writer as opposed to a PhD or endocrinologist. The first part annoyed me because the author lays out all kinds of anecdotes before attempting to explain the physiological mechanisms.
However, the longer the book went on, the more I could not deny its compelling argument. For myself, I decided to do an experiment on my own body and try the way of eating that Taubes espouses. I'll see for myself if I get leaner and what the diet does to my LDL/HDL numbers. But I consider it a rather long-term experiment, because I'm merely reducing sugars and simple carbs, not eliminating them.
Here are some additional comments:
1. The narrator pronounces "causal" wrong somewhere in the first third of the book. He repeats the error, saying "casual" instead of "causal," which is kind of funny because it has a rather opposite meaning in this context. I almost poked my eye out over the fact that no one caught this mistake. Towards the end he does it again... he says "casualty" instead of "causality"... I was on the plane listening and I think I said something out loud like, "whaaa???" causing my neighbor to look at me funny.
2. Also towards the end, the author just nonchalantly mentions that if you use coffee, diet soda or other artificial sweetners, you may miss the benefits of carb reduction. What? You can't just throw that in there and not tell us why. I'm just sayin'.
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!
"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.
"A Real Eye Opener"
For me, a 5'5" male, my life has been spent around the 14-16st mark. I can't remember the last time I wasn't on some sort of eating/exercise plan, my life has been dedicated to it. I've tried them all and stuck to them rigidly and most have been successful in losing me 2st here and there but when it came to keeping it off then that's where the real problems lay.
Eventually I got it into my head that only a sensible, varied and healthy diet would work for me as a way to gradually over the space of a couple of years lose the weight. Unfortunately this too did not work. Something just wasn't adding up. I went to the docs to have my thyroid checked, results came back normal.
Now I'm not one for giving into anything but as far as losing and keeping off the extra 4-5st I'm carrying, I felt it was a pipe dream. I prayed for an answer and the next day this book popped up as a suggestion in my Audible account so I thought why not!
Along with trying all the diets I've ever been on, including Atkins, I have also read numerous books and even college courses on nutrition and exercise and have a pretty good knowledge of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle but this book takes all that mainstream knowledge and blows it out of the water, however, things make complete sense to me now. I mentioned I had already tried Atkins which obviously failed in the past but the big difference now is that I understand the science behind it and trust me, it makes a huge difference.
Apologies for the long, self-indulgent intro. I'm simply trying to capture anyone reading this who is in the same situation. If you genuinely feel you have tried to lose weight, you've explored all the emotional and physical aspects and they don't apply, but no matter how hard you try to follow dietary advice it doesn't work then I definitely feel this could be your answer. It might not actually be your fault after all!
Bottom line is that carbohydrates, especially sugars, are responsible for why a lot of us are so fat, well technically it's our hormones ability to regulate and distribute them. And don't even get me started on the claimed health benefits, if even half of them are true the medical establishment should be hugely ashamed of their ignorance on this subject.
Don't get me wrong, for those who think "yeah, that's me" it means making a choice, what do I want more, sugary and starchy foods or to be thin and healthy? For me, I crossed that line long ago. I've started out with minimum carbs, <20g per day. It's been 3 weeks and I've shifted 11bs and dropped almost two shirt sizes, I'm eating more than I have in a long time and genuinely feel good. The reason I know I will keep this going is I now look at food completely differently and it's all thanks to this book. I finally have the answers I have been looking for.
I'm now on another book, living low carb by Jonny Bowden, which is a great follow up to this book. Once completed I'll review this too.
Seriously, I really hope this book could be the answer you have been looking for too.
"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.
I really learmed a lot from this listen and have been trying to put some of the key lessons into practice - it's early days but I'll see how I get on. The basic premis seems simple but what interests me is the complexity of the science behind Taubes thinking, which he goes to great lengths to explain. If he's right - and he has a lot of impressive validating evidence - following his advice could be a key factor in combatting the obesity epidemic.
There is a fair bit of repetition, but this is also possibly meant to be reinforcement; and finally, the narrator (not the author) had a mildly soporific effect on me so I am going to have to listen to it all again while engaged in some activity as I did snooze through some passages! not that it was dull - but his voice really is!
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.
"Altogether very good with some small "but"."
This book is very good, the scientific data presented in it is really robust and for me (I am a veterinary medicine graduate) it all sounds right, so I would really recommend this book to anyone interested in healthy diets. There is only one "but" - I tried a diet without carbohydrates with high GI for three weeks, meaning I didn't eat any bread, pasta, potatoes and sweets. And to be honest I haven't lost a gram. However, I didn't follow any prescribed diet, I just got rid of these carbohydrates; I am a vegetarian and this approach is strongly based on meat; plus I ate copious portions of my meals during that time. On the bright side, I had a lot more energy.
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