Everything you think you know about nutrition is wrong, says writer and researcher Gary Taubes. Billionaire John Arnold, ranked 129th on Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans, has taken notice of Taubes’ certainty, and is giving millions to find out what is actually true about how food affects humans.
His charitable organization formed with his wife, the John and Laura Arnold Foundation, is providing the seed money to fund the newly launched Nutrition Science Initiative – a non-profit dedicated to finding out definitively what constitutes a healthy diet.
As reported by NPR, NuSi’s mission is to discover what causes obesity and, through that, to reduce the epidemic of obesity in America. Its founders, one of whom is Taubes (pictured right), question the conventional wisdom that consuming less fat equals weight loss.
Taubes, author of the New York Times Bestseller Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories, says current federal dietary guidelines and recommendations about physical activity are based on flimsy scientific studies and may actually be making us fat instead of promoting a healthy lifestyle. Read Full Post >
Gary Taubes, a professional writer and journalist is the author of the critically acclaimed Good Calories, Bad Calories. Now his newest release, Why We Get Fat takes the long-held idea that the reason we get fat is the calories in/calories out hypothesis and debunks it. In essence, Taubes, through scores of research-backed evidence, suggests that it is not the amount of calories per se, but rather the carbohydrates in our diet that are responsible for fat accumulation.
Taubes proposes that in order to lose weight, we need to consume a very low carbohydrate diet. Protein, naturally-occuring fat, like those found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, avocados and oils as well as leafy green vegetables should comprise the mainstay of our diet. The typical American diet of starchy carbohydrates, grains, sugar, processed food and even high glycemic vegetables and fruit needs to be given the boot if we want to avoid being overweight or obese.
In today’s Health section ofThe New York Times, Dr. Abigail Zuger writes what is at first glance a review of Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat. Digging deeper, one realizes that Zuger has much more to say than a few comments on Taubes’ book, a shorter and more pointed follow-up to his earlier work, Good Calories Bad Calories. Zuger is crying out against the storm of contradicting nutritional information, which she likens to both a war and a cafeteria food-fight.
Low-carb vs. low fat, Atkins vs. Weight Watchers, it’s a familiar battle not only to those slogging through the literature, but to anyone who’s struggled to find sound advice on what to eat and lose weight. “At this point,” writes Zuger, “all eaters, fat or lean, could be forgiven for slamming the door on all expert dietary input, forever.”
Dr. Zuger goes on to discuss the arguments behind the low carb diet recommended by Why We Get Fat, prefacing the information by saying Taubes’ book is as much a “manifesto” as it a document of science journalism. She playfully worries that Taubes will soon introduce his own line of protein bars.
A mainstay in the “old school” cannon of dietary knowledge is that cholesterol and fat cause any number of common health problems (heart disease, substantial weight gain, diabetes, etc.), but Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, begs to differ.
Taubes spent five years researching his 640 page book, consulting 600 doctors, researchers, and administrators in the process. This is what he came away with:
He’s concerned more about the quality of calories we take in than the quantity. Instead of worrying about cholesterol and fat, make a point of avoiding refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars. He asserts that the best diet is one that is loaded with protein and fat, but very low in carbohydrates.
Has anyone read Gary Taubes’ controversial book “Good Calories, Bad Calories?” In the book, Taubes debunks the widely known theory that the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes in this country are due to an excessive amount of fat in our diets. Instead, he combs through thousands of research studies and data from all over the world and comes to the conclusion that these conditions are due to an excess amount of refined carbohydrates in our diets like sugar, white flour and other starches that digest quickly.
His book, although very scientific, is a fascinating look at how our emphasis on a low-fat, low cholesterol and low sodium diet may have been just a well-postulated hypothesis by the medical, nutrition and public health professions with no conclusive and definitive evidence by clinical trials to prove that these kinds of diets would in fact keep us lean and prevent heart disease.
So, if you’re willing to think out-of-the-box when it comes to what we’ve been told and preached to for years on preventive health and nutrition, this is a book that is definitely worth the mental labor put into reading it.