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Publisher's Summary

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' 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2010 Gary Taubes (P)2010 Random House

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Marsha
  • Eugene, OR, United States
  • 02-03-11

Eye opening, life changing book!

This audio book is about to change my life. I have struggled with being overweight all of my life. As most people like me, I have tried every diet, at least once. I'm here to tell you that they all work, as long as you stay on them. I have always had these nagging questions in my mind...Why me? Why do I eat less than my thin husband, and not lose weight, What diet is best for me and why are there so many of them? What is the actual reason that I get fat, and stay fat, and others don't, when their lifestyle and eating regimes are similar to mine? This book answers it all, and goes a step further, maybe more times than necessary. Just as there is a scientific reason and solution for many things, there is the same for obese people. The answer is might not be the answer you want, but it is here for you (and mainly me) to take it and run with it if you truly want to change your life enough to embark on it! Thank you Gary, for your hard work and passion, to put this extremely valuable information out there for me!

61 of 62 people found this review helpful

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  • Ed
  • POINT COOK, Australia
  • 01-04-11

Manage carbohydrate and not caloric intake!

If it is so obvious to reach a weight loss objective through a carbohydrate deficiency then why are there so many obese people that go to the gym, this to me clearly states that there is an obvious nutritional knowledge defecit that even personal trainers don't seem to understand or are reluctant to share with their clients. Day after day though these commited individuals will try to lose weight by burning calories and then try to restrict caloric intake through the use of will power.

Gary goes over many cases in which different societies have become obese and aludes to their adherence to more 'civilised' feeding habits as the cause for their poor health. I think that it is necessary to go into the detail of where we as human beings became more and more reliant on such a simple and non-essential nutrients and how this reliance has affected us as humans.

The book gets to the point very slowly, however, changing habitual behaviour for some does require research based evidence and this is about as close as you're going to get in an audio book format. I strongly recommend this audiobook to anyone that has been trying to lose weight through dieting or is struggling to stay on their strict caloric restricted regime.

Will power will only get you so far!

49 of 51 people found this review helpful

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Its more than stop eating and drinking carbs

I agree with the one comment about this book is just more or less stop eating and drinking carbs, but I am glad I GOT this book anyway because its more than that. It is nice to finally understand how the body really works around getting fat and why we get fat and the logic behind so many myths and other diets and why things don't work, fail or fall short of losing weight. So it was refreshing to get a handle on why it is a good idea and what happens when we eat and drink carbs along with our HDL and LDL levels and how that effects our cells and our problem with getting fat. This book is going to really help me and finally help me change my life around as far as why I am always struggling to lose the weight and I now see how I have been failing and why. Its worth the price, no problem. Thank you Gary Taubes.

61 of 64 people found this review helpful

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Are you looking for an attachement for the book?

You can find accompanying attachment on the bottom of "Publisher's Summary" which is on the top of the page for the book here on Audible. The link says "Download the accompanying reference guide". I have to admit it was not obvious place to look and took me few minutes to realize it was there.

117 of 124 people found this review helpful

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  • Meryl
  • EPHRATA, WA, United States
  • 06-19-11

Absolutely Loved This!

Finally a scientific explanation for why we get fat! I could not put this book down from beginning to end. Ultra informative. Ever wonder why the Adkins diet works? This book thoroughly answers all your questions in detail. I thought this book was life altering and a totally satisfied any questions about WHY we eat the way we do and what affect it has on us.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

This is a life changer

I read the book, but I wanted the audio version to listen to in the car and on the go. This is information all Americans need. We are eating a diet which will kill us in the end. What we thought as the normal American diet is going to be our undoing!! We didnt' know... but now we do. All the research is interestingly provided to us and one cannot listen to this without realizing a change has to be made. I have lost 30 lbs so far, and expect to reach the proper weight for my height paying attention to the research presented in this book: a low carb diet is the healthy way to go--- carbs are for special occasions, and great care should be taken to eat the right ones in the right amount. It's been fairly easy and I am so grateful I found this book when I did. I have heard the information before, but I never knew WHY we needed to eat low carb. I guess I am one who has be convinced, and convinced I am!

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Angela
  • Basingstoke, England
  • 03-08-11

Eye opener

I knew I had to change my eating habits - yes, I'm overweight and would like to lose weight but I wanted to stop the continuous eating and the amounts I was eating. I couldn't understand the constant need to put food in my mouth - sugary food, cakes, biscuits, sweets etc. Gary Taubes explains very clearly (albeit repetitively!) that what I am eating is slowly but surely destroying me and all I can look forward to as I get older is diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It's not going to be easy to change my eating habits but in order to get well and stay well I have to - it's not about the scales or my clothes fitting me, it's about living and feeling well. I now have the clarity and understanding that I was missing before and it's thanks to this book.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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The accompanying material is available

Lots of people have asked for the accompanying material. It seems to be very essential while going through this book. I myself am only at chapter 6 and decided to send an email to Audible customer support about the material. I can't say for certain that the material was available before I requested but all I can say is that it is now available towards the bottom of the book description area for the book on the website. The download link is Normally I can get by without any additional material but If you haven't read this book yet I encourage you to get the material as well and if possible refer to it before you start the book. I think it makes a big difference in this case.

So far the anti "calories in calories out" argument is being beaten to death in this book, i say this because I never really subscribed to this approach anyway, but it is good to know that it can be beaten to death with real evidence as opposed to anecdotal evidence from my own personal experiences.

Very engaging book, so far. (I take one star off for the beating to death of the topic).

41 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • ann
  • Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
  • 12-31-10


If you need inspiration to get you going on dieting for 2011, this will do it! Although the basic principles are known to those of us who are avid readers on how to lose weight, and this book essentially covers those basics, this author is very good at explaining difficult material such that all can understand. Further, there is a surprising twist that leaves one with an "Aha" experience. We all know which foods we should cut out, but do we REALLY understand why? If not, then one is not really motivated to do what is necessary. This author motivates!

I really appreciated the narrator's slow careful enunciation of this difficult material.

69 of 75 people found this review helpful

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  • Barb
  • Silver City, NM, United States
  • 01-03-11

Excellent book

Very clear science and the person who said that his message is to stop eating carbs missed the book. This is not a diet book. The message was to reduce eating processed carbs like grains that cause people to get fat..which was just a small part of the book. He presented all the historical data and even what hapens to cultures that start eating a western diet what happens. Thanks to the author for more details and data on the subject.

46 of 51 people found this review helpful

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  • Colin
  • 04-21-11

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...

67 of 68 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • 07-07-11

Essential Reading

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.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Russell
  • 08-23-11

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...

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 02-25-11

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.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 03-03-11

Sound advice

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.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 04-07-11

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • DH
  • 04-05-11

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Carole
  • 08-14-11

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!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • CMoon
  • 03-07-11

Carmels Review

Absolute must listen, well researched and presented, well read. Loved it!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Christian
  • 01-20-11

Great way to start a new year

Brilliant - This book has changed the way I think about food. It makes such perfect sense.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 12-04-15

Very informative

i enjoyed this book. great information and having been on a high fat high protein diet with minimal to no carbs, i can agree that it works.

very factual and alot of reference to science. do yourself a favour and actually research the info yourself.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Secondglance
  • 07-14-15

Life changing!

This book was fantastic. Highly recommended! Lots of science but made interesting and easy to understand.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David A Lescai
  • 06-30-17

Takes ¾ of the book to get to the meaty section

It seems as though the book is written to convince those with 'old school' understanding of nutrition and fat gain, and reiterates the same message over and over. once I skipped through, I was pleased to find the later chapters informative and useful.

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  • Steve R
  • 05-15-17

Basically interesting

There were a number of statements I didn't agree with and the information and references are heavily biased, but it was a good listen and I definitely took something away from it.

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  • Sina
  • 02-23-17

No to carbohydrates, YES to fats and protein

In a nutshell the author suggests and backs it up with scientific data that if you wanna lose fat say No to carbohydrates and YES to fats and protein.

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  • Hugh D. Macfarlane
  • 12-31-16

get two copies and share one with your doctor

Taubes confronts the unscientific calouries in / calouries out doctrine of the last 40 years with more science than you can poke a stick at, and offers a simple alternative.

I'm an already-lean guy by dint of good luck, but managed to build around 20 lbs through the middle as I hit 50. I dropped it all in around 6 months and have kept it off by dropping carbs as fully as I could without being a pain to all those around me. I am now a 32" and about as lean as I was when 30, and in better health all around.

I love a great sourdough, a bowl of good pasta and do mean roast potatoes a la Heston Blumenthal, but I save those for treats as much as I do my wife's almond chocolate torte.

I eat the fattiest cuts if meat I can find and figure I'm not exactly hard done by. A fair trade.

I'm ready now to get a little more strength exercise to make sure I can stay strong into the next 30 or so years.

Thanks for your research, Gary, and for your book.

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  • Michael
  • 10-21-16

I needed this for a long time!

Finally feel a lot more comfortable in making decisions about carbs and now how to structure my diet a lot more efficiently! Wicked insights, loved it!

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  • Douglas
  • 02-28-16

How to Save Your Life: read this

Don't pay attention to any single line about fat and diets again. After reading this you will know the whole story. Question what you are told by others: are they parroting unscientific policy makers? Or are they showing a thorough, researched and professional report? Let's get smart and lose weight the right way.

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  • Christine
  • 07-05-15

Has changed my view of food

This book is excellent, it has taught me the reasons behind why we should be eating fewer carbohydrates. Learning the well researched evidence has made my decision to change my food intake so easy.
This makes sense. A MUST READ.
I'll be recommending this to my friends and family.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful