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
although in the beginning it felt whacky since it's going against the common teaching of a good diet. it just shows how badly we've been brainwashed, however this book has a lot of heart ('hard equations and rational thinking' - 30 rock, tv show) in it.
personally i don't need to lose weight, but i USED TO have a chunky fat in stomach which i've lost most of it since i limit the amount of carb consumption.
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 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!
"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!
"Great way to start a new year"
Brilliant - This book has changed the way I think about food. It makes such perfect sense.
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