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
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.
I just finished this book after just a few days, and since I started it I've changed to a low-carb diet. In just 4 days, I've lost about 5 pounds! This book isn't a diet book per se, but it does give you reasons on why you should change your diet to be more healthy. Before reading this, I honestly didn't know that the bread and pastries I so loved were what gave me my gut. Now I know and I've cut them out of my diet, and I'm already feeling MUCH better! Read it. Believe it. Follow it.
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!!!!
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.
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. :-)
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.
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.
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'.
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.
all I want to do is buy 10+ copies to give it out to all my friends/relatives because it shatters the preconceived notions of what causes weight gain and thus what not to eat to be healthy
"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...
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.
"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...
"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.
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.
"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.
"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.
"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!
Absolute must listen, well researched and presented, well read. Loved it!
"Food for thought"
Makes me think about what I am eating, I now believe that sugar is the enemy and not fat.
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