• Good Calories, Bad Calories

  • Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health
  • By: Gary Taubes
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 25 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (121 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This groundbreaking book by award-winning science writer and bestselling author of Why We Get Fat and The Case for Keto shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong.

For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars, and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number.

Called “a very important book,” by Andrew Weil and …” destined to change the way we think about food,” by Michael Pollan, this groundbreaking book by award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong.

©2007 Gary Taubes (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“If Taubes were inclined to sensationalism, he might have titled this book The Great Low-Fat Diet Hoax. Instead, he tackles the subject with the seriousness and scientific insight it deserves, building a devastating case against the low-fat, high-carb way of life endorsed by so many nutrition experts in recent years. With diabetes and heart disease at stake as well as obesity, those ‘experts’ owe us an abject apology.” (Barbara Ehrenreich)

Good Calories, Bad Calories is a remarkable accomplishment. From a mountain of diverse scientific evidence Gary Taubes has drawn an amazingly detailed and compelling picture of how diet, obesity, and heart disease link together–and how some of the world’s most important medical researchers got the story colossally wrong. Taubes proves, I think beyond doubt, that the dietary advice we’ve been given for the last three decades by the federal government and the major medical bodies rests on, shall we say, a slender empirical base.” (Charles C. Mann, author of 1491)

“A brave and bold science journalist . . . Taubes does not bow to the current fashion for narrative nonfiction, instead building his argument case by case . . . much of what Taubes relates will be eye-opening.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Fascinating . . . Mr. Taubes has a gift for turning complex scientific principles into engaging narrative.” (The Wall Street Journal)

What listeners say about Good Calories, Bad Calories

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Long, Detailed, Useful

This was a long, involved, detailed report, and very useful. However, it is much closer to the end, in the additional section for the Anchor Publication, that the whole thesis is perfectly expressed:

Our government has spent time, effort and money to create a religion. It is clear it is meant for us to believe that carbohydrate rich, low fat diets are the only correct way to eat. The government coddles and supports industrial carbohydrate production and sale; it even takes documentation out of context purposefully with the intention of deception.

Ask yourself one question: Why are poor people fat? The opposite is, why are wealthy people thin?

In both cases, the answer is simple. Programs which provide energy to the impoverished masses provide no nutrition. Refined white flour, oleomargerine, and industrial chemicals packed into bags and boxes are the mainstay of these programs. Juice, yogurt and starch like boxed cereal are staples of the WIC program. Rather than provide financial support to enable mothers to stay home and raise their children, breastfeeding is discouraged, infant formula is given in the hospital, and before the baby is two, he's being fed applesauce, puree peaches, and baby cookies if mom has extra pennies, but, often, Graham crackers, which are actually cookies, and in no way the healthy food intended by its inventor. Even hot dogs are loaded with starch to make them cheap.

The wealthy, on the other hand, eat much more meat, and far more vegetation. Juice, soda and faux food is much less a factor. And the proof is in the compared waistlines.

A very long book to get to that point, but the narrative was at least mildly interesting.

7 people found this helpful

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Wish I heard this sooner

This book is so enlightening. I feel like I’ve been dupe by the medical society. As a physician I have been advising my patients incorrectly because I was taught incorrectly. I have been adjust my nutrition to resemble more like your research suggests and I see a difference in my energy level focus and waistline. It’s hard to unlearn something that you have been taught for over fifty years… I guess better late than never. Thank You Mr. Taubes You deserved some type of literary award!!!!

5 people found this helpful

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Wordy but good info

Very wordy for an audible. This book could conveyed same information in half the time. However this book did provide good content and compelling issues!

5 people found this helpful

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Way to detailed

Book has good information but it takes the author so long to get to the point every time he is sharing history or a study. This book is 23 hours but could have been done in half the time. It might be a great book for experts but not at all the casual reader or general public. I gave up after about 5 hours and skipped to the end

5 people found this helpful

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DNF

This is the most boring book I have ever listed to outside of college.

It’s just the (nasally) narrator reading what the author considers bogus study after bogus study. Over and over again.

Listening to this felt like being stuck in traffic. I wanted to scream “hurry up” or “move”.

4 people found this helpful

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Great book!

Loved this book. It is very informative and well written and the narrator is excellent. I highly recommend this book to anyone new to keto or anyone struggling with metabolic syndrome.

4 people found this helpful

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Great book

Understanding my insulin levels and living that way has made me leaner, period. I hope this becomes common knowledge.

2 people found this helpful

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Great read and Insightful.

This really is a great book with tons of evidence to back up the claims.
It is very insightful for readers that agree and disagree with the information covered.
Only thing I would have liked is for the Author to read their own work, but I understand this cannot always happen.

1 person found this helpful

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Must read if you care about health

Deep dive into the different researches and reasons why scientists didn’t agree on best ways to eat leading to the nowadays successful low carb diet. Must read. Great insights. This book can literally change your life.

1 person found this helpful

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The conventional wisdom has let us down

This book gives anyone who is overweight or who just wants to stay health much food for thought (pun intended). Post-COVID, I ballooned to 325 pounds. I felt awful. I knew I needed to do something.

I started a diet program: restricted calories and exercise. I’ve lost 60 pounds so far. But I got to thinking about diet and nutrition. I found The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. That led me to this book.

I realized that in counting calories and going for less calorie dense I had cut out most sugar and bread (and beer, too, which was harder).

This book makes a great case as to WHY I have been able to lose the weight. I hope to make it a long-term strategy and keep dropping the pounds.

I have bought copies of this book for friends and family and am going to beg them to read it.

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  • Peter Chan
  • 01-14-21

Robust evidence

Thank you for the most informative and objective explorations around evidence, and justifiably criticised expert behaviour which might have contributed towards worse health outcome contrary to believe and expert opinion.

For critical thinkers and impartial decision makers, this literature is a valuable companion and invaluable guide.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-16-21

the no 1 must read

The summery of our food policy history is the best ever eye-opener. To know this all comes first. To get the powerful food-industries to move on this will be a different battle. Die soon or read this book!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-06-21

A difficult book to review

Hard going, but worth it. Thought provoking at least. Complex and confusing in places. Excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Iulian - Easy coaching? for men
  • 06-08-22

Great research. Thank you. It's not about health.

Even though I'm not a "scientist", I can understand some basics.
And I feel sorry for the people doing a lot of "wrong research", barking at the wrong tree.
Anyway, if you follow the money, you'll understand that the health system and research is not about keeping and making us healthy, but to bring more money on the table of the companies paying for that research.
If we are just alive, not necessarily healthy, that's great for the money making machine, called " The health system".

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  • Freneticmonk
  • 01-07-22

Brings to light some controversial questions

I decided to listen to this book after listening to “Why We Get Sick” by Benjamin Bikman. Both of my parents were diabetic and I was well on my way to becoming one as well. This really has opened my mind to the nuances of weight control, insulin and the conventional ideology.

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  • .
  • 11-06-21

comprehensive, contextual, informative

An excellent history and review of the literature and scientific development of our understanding of fat metabolism and the hormonal influence on how the body deals with calories. Much more interesting than the title suggests.

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  • Drew
  • 11-04-21

One of the best science books I’ve ever read.

For the layman such as myself, it gets quite ‘chewy’ in places but this book nearly sews up many previous assumptions about diet, obesity, health & nutrition into a single, unified hypothesis that makes them all make sense.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gregg couper
  • 07-23-21

Good book enjoyed while driving for work

Good book I enjoyed it , book was recommended to me .
and it sort of answers the questions I have , although I do wonder what ultimately has killed more people war or bad diet advice .
this unbiased book uncovers the facts and the motivation of so called diet experts .
ie funding of there cause by junk food industries, I would recommend.