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
Say something about yourself!
As soon as I finished I bought an Adkins's diet book and began avoiding carbohydrates.
It worked wonderfully, I have lost around 10 pounds and the most amazing thing, I am eating more and feeling a lot better. So buy, and read the book. It is a miracle.
About 3 months ago, I weighed 206 lbs. Now I'm 186. I try to tell my friends and coworkers that they don't need the carbs, but they won't listen. All I can do is continue to follow the rules in this book and SHOW them what a low carb diet can do.
It helps to listen to the book more than once especially when I get the cravings for sweets.
This book can be summed up into 3 words.. stop eating carbs! But there's so much more to it. The science and historical evidence behind all the claims that Taubes makes is undeniable. The lifestyle benefits from following this book's advice cannot be denied, as I have adopted them myself to amazing results.
Having said this, I do wish Taubes got to the point a lot sooner than he did. He spends about the first 80% of the text presenting the problem of obesity and explaining in excruciating detail why all other solutions don't work.
All in all it is a superbly entertaining and informative listen.
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!
Gary Taubes does an excellent job poking holes in the conventional wisdom about dieting. It does seem the official medical theory of obesity fails to provide any advice except "have more willpower," and that advice is not very helpful. There are some questionable statements in the book's argument, such as the idea that humans have not genetically adapted to agriculture. The selection for lactose tolerance in cultures that have adopted milk products refutes this. Overall, the book is a solid refutation of what so many think is "common sense."
The words "causal" and "casual" are different words, and not homophones. Same with "causality" and "casualty." This repeated error in the narration seriously detracts from the credibility of the book.
I went to a dietician at our (huge) healthcare system in our city. I wasn't expecting too much, because I have been to a dietician before and got the message we all hear: watch your calories, eat low fat, switch to whole grains. The problem is: this has never worked for me, and I've been overweight my entire life. But this nutritional approach is so ingrained in my mind that the low-carbohydrate approach to eating always seemed ridiculous, outrageous (all that bacon!), and like just another fad diet. This book is beginning to really change my mind, and that is because I finally understand the science behind it. The book is challenging in some spots, and I will definitely give it another listen, but Gary Taubes uses science to make the case against carbs. Now that I am armed with my new knowledge, it easier for me to make appropriate food choices. Now, it's not about starving myself by saving "points" up to have a slice of chocolate cake.... now that I understand what exactly happens in my body when I eat the slice of chocolate cake, it feels easier to just say "no thanks." I have slowly been making changes in my diet after listening to this book, and I feel hopeful about the impact it will have on my health.
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.
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'.
"Along the right tracks but..."
The whole stay off carbs \ starches thing is a good idea from what I can see but being encouraged to eat fat? cheese? really? Replace these items with fruit and veg and I think it makes a bit more sense.
"Interesting ideas, poor narration!"
Yes I would, the content is interesting, The idea that it is carbs rather than calories that makes people gain weight is a hypothesis that is well articulated by Taubes.
n/a it is non-fiction!
No, the narrator was not enjoyable to listen to. Like others have said, mispronouncing 'causal' as 'casual' multiple times is a really stupid mistake! I also found his accent annoying!
Yes, the flow of the book was great. The discussion of different populations formed a good basis for the later recommendations in the book.
I think that Taubes' ideas about nutrition are interesting and well thought out. He discusses several different populations and the effect that carbohydrates have had on their health and weight. However, his arguments regarding exercise are weaker. He doesn't discuss the different types of exercise and the way in which they may impact body composition (more muscle, less fat with weight training, for example) rather than necessarily causing weight loss. I also think his idea that athletes are driven to exercise because of being lean has no evidence at all to support it.
"Repetitive and a dead loss if you are vegetarian"
You better like eating meat and you'd be better off reading Atkins. Vegetarians like me are according to this author doomed to obesity! I think I'll turn elsewhere for healthy eating advice!
So repetitive and laboured. If this is the shortened version of his previous book I shudder to think how dry that must be.
No-one was going to be able to make this one lively.
I would have cut 75% of the book and still not have lost any of his arguments.
"Great for anyone looking for more information!"
I engaged with the text more. I have always found it quite hard to get my head around the arithmetic and mathematical equations that go into the weight calculations, but listening to them made them make sense.
Non-Fiction, but it set everything right for me. The notions of how fat works had always intrigued me and this really made me think about it.
By narrating, he opened up the subject for me and made it interesting. He can be a little tiresome when the same material is being repeated but it still engages me.
An apple a day could keep you fat.
"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.
"The Most Important Book Ever Written On Diet"
Gary Taubes exposes the most outrageous thing to ever happen in modern science. Once you listen to this book you will understand why we have the current dietary advice, why it;s wrong and what the correct advice actually is to be slim and healthy :)
"Change your whole idea of eating healthly"
This was really interesting, understanding the whys of why we should or should not eat things, how your digestion works, makes slimming or just eating healthier easier. This changed my whole outlook on food, is easy to follow and I feel so much better for following it. It also reduces risk of diabetes and cholesterol levels. Eat as much as you want but just ensure they are the right things. Turns everything I understood before on its head. Eat fat and get slim!!!!!
Not the best, but I got used to it and was interested in the content
No you need to dip in and out, work out how you best use the information before going on to the next. In usual American style, lots of things are repeated but it is not to bad in this as there are some technical things which you need to understand.
"Evidence based nutrition advice? Tick!"
Finally a book about nutrition capable of explaining some fundamental scientific concepts easily. The book is to be commended for the evidence it presents in support of the many concepts put forward. Over the last three months I have followed the advice of this book to adjust my nutrition and have already achieved significant results.
"Really informative and helpful. However..."
Really informative book. I learned a lot of new stuff.
However, there is so much information here and so much of it is quite technical- easily explained here but still quite in-depth that it's hard to comprehend everything.
I found the narrator easy enough to follow, but not so easy to follow I could describe it as bedside listening, you need to be fully awake and aware when listening as it's easy to fall out of the loop and misunderstand entire chapters. I think it does at times sound a bit monotone and narrated rather then enacted or given more force- don't get me wrong, I've heard far far worse and some books are so terribly digitised they are inaudible but there are still ways which this book could have been improved on the reading out-loud side.
I think the price is very expensive- you can pick up the book for far less and actually with all it's technical stuff (for want of a better word) I think it may be easier to read this yourself then to have it read to you- unless your going to sit with a note-book to take down all the relevant information as it's easy to have all these facts and figures ride straight over your head.
A good book though- a great book and well worth a read or listen.
"the best most informative read of your life!"
This thorough account of the influence of carbohydrates on your body is fully backed by science. It is just the right level of biological explanation to fully appreciate why carbs are so bad for you. Well done Gary for bringing this complex subject to the masses. Anyone who takes this information on board can only benefit from a longer more fulfilling life. Thank you and thanks to Paul Thurrott and Leo Lapport for recommending it 12 months ago.
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