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Taubes Tackles Conventional Wisdom ... Again


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#1 Christian

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:46 AM

Gary Taubes changed my life. He wrote a New York Times Magazine cover story several years ago, "What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?" He spent years expanding on the topic for this book, which released Tuesday:

Good Calories, Bad Calories

In a lengthy interview posted on the Amazon page linked above, Taubes claims to no longer believe 40% of what he wrote in the earlier magazine article, although the book's fundamental premise looks quite similar. I wish the interviewer had followed up and asked *which* 40% Taubes no longer believes, but that's for me to discover once I read the book.

For those who don't want to bother with the link, here's the Publisher's Weekly starred review:

Taubes's eye-opening challenge to widely accepted ideas on nutrition and weight loss is as provocative as was his 2001 NewYork Times Magazine article, What if It's All a Big Fat Lie? Taubes (Bad Science), a writer for Science magazine, begins by showing how public health data has been misinterpreted to mark dietary fat and cholesterol as the primary causes of coronary heart disease. Deeper examination, he says, shows that heart disease and other diseases of civilization appear to result from increased consumption of refined carbohydrates: sugar, white flour and white rice. When researcher John Yudkin announced these results in the 1950s, however, he was drowned out by the conventional wisdom. Taubes cites clinical evidence showing that elevated triglyceride levels, rather than high total cholesterol, are associated with increased risk of heart disease-but measuring triglycerides is more difficult than measuring cholesterol. Taubes says that the current U.S. obesity epidemic actually consists of a very small increase in the average body mass index. Taube's arguments are lucid and well supported by lengthy notes and bibliography. His call for dietary advice that is based on rigorous science, not century-old preconceptions about the penalties of gluttony and sloth is bound to be echoed loudly by many readers. Illus.

Taubes also wrote an interesting article in the current New York magazine: The Scientist and the Stairmaster: Why most of us believe that exercise makes us thinner—and why we're wrong.


#2 Christian

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:23 AM

I just discovered that Taubes has a new book on the way! From the product description:

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?

Can't wait for this. I'd been thinking of re-reading Good Calories, Bad Calories to jump-start a more disciplined approach to eating in the new year, but I'll read the new book instead.

BTW, I've been on a liquid diet for the past 24 hours and will be on one for another six, ahead of a medical test later today. I wasn't looking forward to not eating solid food for a day and a half, but I've surprised myself by being OK -- not starving, although my stomach did growl for a couple of stretches. However, the stomach growling happens most days whem I'm eating my usual diet, so it's nothing exceptional. All of which is to say that, although liquid diets aren't something I recommend, it's been enlightening to see that I can buckle down and follow a rigid structure of "food" intake for a day or so. I've been lax lately and was beginning to wonder if "getting back on track," which I've had to do many times before, without much trouble, was going to be more problematic as I enter my 40s. Answer: nope.