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 is good, but several times he makes reference to an attachment with photos etc. from the print copy of the book. I wish we could get that here as a download!!
This book came in the nick of time for me. In order to fix my cholesterol I was put on the wrong diet, and started gaining weight, increasing my risk of heart disease. Hopefully I can now control it correctly.
One irritating problem with this book: the narrator replaces "causal" with "casual" and "causality" with "casualty". It would be amusing if it wasn't so obviously wrong. -1 star for these repeated errors. Apart from that I think this book is great.
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.
I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
Gary Taubes' “Why We Get Fat” (WWGF) is an engaging summary of the science related to human weight gain. Taubes cites numerous research articles, case studies, and social/cultural situations to support the hypothesis that obesity is a result of our bodies inability to effectively digest select carbohydrates. The more complex the carbohydrate (bread, rice, potatoes,...) the higher the probability an individual will gain weight. This carbohydrate digestive processing program is also idiosyncratic, effecting some while not others.
WWGF reads like a doctoral dissertation attempting to support the argument that excess carbohydrates are responsible for excess human weight gain and corresponding health problems. Taubes espouses that diets high in protein and fat with restricted intake of complex carbohydrates not only results in weight loss, but are the healthier for the body. WWGF also reports that although exercising is beneficial to the human body, it relationship to weight lose is inconclusive at best. At this moment many readers may be saying “What the What”? According to Taubes you have been brain washed by the dieting industry and he has the research to prove it.
The strength of WWGF is Taubes debunking many long established weight lose myths. For example, the myth that weight lose occurs when calories consumed are exceeded by calories expended (called the first law of thermodynamics). For Taubes, the solution to society's obesity problem is not reducing time sitting on couch, but the replacing complex carbohydrates with copious amounts fat/proteins. Does this make sense? To Taubes the research is clear and Americans have been mislead into thinking dieting is an excess calorie problem.
There are two major drawbacks to the WWGF. Taubes arguments and theories are not independently verified. He does not conduct the hard scientific experiment to justify his claims. As a reader you keep waiting for him to discuss that well controlled study that will allow you to start eating steak for three meals per day. That study never materializes. A second weakness is WWGF does not provide any guidance on the types of carbohydrates you should focus on relative to weight lose. His best advice is to replace high insulin producing carbs with green leafy carbs. WOW and Thank you!
WWGH is a great book for readers interested in a more than passing interest in weight lose. The book is very well written, flows, and the information is easily digestible.
As far as audiobooks are concerned, it's good. I liked the performance. It wasn't stale and boring, even when getting into some scientific concepts
Exactly what I expected
He kept what at times was a dense topic light enough to follow
Disappointment at the way some of the arguments were made. It's definitely written to draw out people's sensationalism
He gives you the general premise of the book at the beginning and then spends a good bit of it using weak arguments to discredit people who may detract from the premise he's trying to express.
Yes, I have fought the battle for most of my life. At 50 yrs. old I am now 80 pounds thinner than I have been for most of my life. I have read every diet book and belonged to every diet program. Gary Taubes Nails it! I am one of the less than 5% who maintain my weight lost and have done so for over 5 years. There are many other good weight lose books. But this one covers them all without endorsing or laying out any one diet. With that said each person is different, but I do believe if you want to loose it for good most of us could do very well by simply giving up 3 foods....Wheat, Potatoes, Rice. Hard to do but turns out quite possible.
I don't say that a book is life changing easily. I minored in nutrition in university and thought I was pretty knowledgeable. I will be the first to admit that this book pretty much teaches you the exact opposite of what you learn in university nutrition classes (or at least what I learned). As a generally skeptical person, I appreciated the science based explanations and the attention given to the conflicting research that exists. I thought that the arguments it made regarding insulin metabolism made a lot of sense and some of the descriptions seemed to really match my physiology (excessive appetite, fat around the waist, sugar crashes). I figured that since the experts don't agree, I might as well try it out.
I was AMAZED at the results. I quickly started dropping weight and feeling better when I cut out grains, increase fat intake, and cut down carbs in general. I dropped 15 lbs within 3 months and have been at my ideal weight ever since with very little effort. In total it's been about 10 months.
The only thing that I don't like about this book is that it is so sure that low carb is the right way to eat for everyone. I have a hard time believing that, based on what I've observed in real life. However, what the book pushes is right for ME and I have completely changed my diet based on the information provided. I could not be more happy with the results and wish I'd been open to trying this years ago.
Even if this doesn't end up being right for you, if you struggle with extra body fat, I suggest that you read the book and learn about the approach. You can always try it out and if if doesn't agree with your body, try something else.
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.
Here is a compelling argument for eliminating sugars and processed starches from our diet. The correlation between eating sugars/starches, the development of insulin resistance, obesity, and subsequent heart disease, is frightening. This book does go into the biochemistry of glucose and fructose metabolism, but it really isn't necessary to understand each step of that process. Focus on the end result, and be very, very afraid.
The real shock is in the author's explanation of the disconnect between the scientific research and the established medical advice that we are given every day. "Calories in, calories out" has been the mantra for as long as I can remember, and it is still being touted in the recent HBO series "The Weight of the Nation" (May 2012). I had read the author's essay on this series in Newsweek and decided to listen to his book. I was simply amazed... and when I cut out sugars/grains (just to see what would happen) I lost eight pounds in four weeks.
Yes. There is a lot of information that I didn't know or understand before.
The connection of eating carbohydrates to insulin production and appetite elevation was illuminating.
He made the arguments much more compelling. The more senses involved in learning the better the lesson is learned.
The discussion of how eating carbohydrates elevates hunger was very important. So much of the book described my battles with hunger and weight control. I liked the fact the book did not advocate for one particular diet plan over another. It was left up to you as to how you would use the information to plan your diet.
I chose to listen to this book because of the high rating your website gave it. I'm so glad I did. Using the knowledge I learned from the book I am now losing weight and feeling wonderful. I've feared for years that I might be heading toward diabetes. Now I'm hopeful I can avoid that. In that respect this may be a life changing book for me. All this good news because I joined an audio book club. Keep up the good work!
"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.
I bought this book as a complete contrast to my usual genre. I listened to it on holiday over a couple of days whilst relaxing by the pool! I loved it and despite the scientific terms I found the information easy to understand and very informative. I listen to it regularly in the car to and from work to keep me on track at meal times. I am pleased with my weight loss progress and defintely feel healthier thanks to this audio book.
If you've ever wondered whether low fat diets are as healthy as they're supposed to be, listen to this book - you won't regret it... although it might make you change what you eat.
If you are interested in losing weight this is the best. you will never think about carbohydrates the same again.
I am definately going to try this out. I remember as a child, the whole debut of the diet "thing" was about carbs then, perhaps revisiting this theory is long overdue. I grew up on eggs, bacon, lard, meat, butter - but also lots of potatoes. Not very much fruit, only in season & limited on price & availability. It will be very interesting to see if this works, nothing else has! Caveperson here I come!
This is amazing and very informative. Makes one totally re-think the old school of nutrition,
and yes, it is not all our faults that we are obese, there's other factors involved.
"Excellent and Effective Advice"
This book sets out the cause of today's obesity outbreak with a detailed but understandable review of the scientific background. The author shows how the current government advice on diet is biassed by past errors and that the true problem is excess carbohydrate, not fat, in today's diet. The medical research that overwhelmingly supports a carbohydrate restriction diet as the solution to obesity is described and the accompanying notes include an example diet. This dietary approach really works, as many, including myself, have found. If you want to know how to lose weight and why you can easily do it with carbohydrate restriction, this is the book for you. Highly recommended.
"Brilliant - and it works"
This is an excellent book; I have recommended it to several people already. He introduces the key figures who gave us the now widespread views on nutrition, the calories-in calories-out arguments, high grain low fat diets etc. It then compares them with what actual scientific research shows and points out the contradictions. It is stunning to realise we have been so mis-lead by our so called experts. This book is refreshing in it's approach of using cell biology to explain the role of carbohydrates and insulin in producing our ever expanding waistlines. My wife and I have put into effect what he suggests and we are getting the results he says we will - we are loosing excess fat.
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!
"Not a good listen"
This is an interesting idea and obviously very well researched, but not a good 'listen' as far as I'm concerned. I didn't learn anything that I hadn't heard before. The author repeats the same idea or theory so many times that it gets plain boring and hard to follow. I gave up halfway through the book.
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