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Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs,…

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of… (original 1997; edition 2008)

by Gary Taubes

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Title:Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health
Authors:Gary Taubes
Info:Anchor (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 640 pages
Collections:Your library

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Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease by Gary Taubes (1997)

  1. 00
    Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink (infiniteletters)
  2. 01
    Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System by Alicia Juarrero (kukulaj)
    kukulaj: Juarrero's book studies the difference between a wink and a blink, developing a theoretical framework to help us understand that difference. Taubes's book is about whether fat accumulation is more like a wink or more like a blink. Obesity is a huge public health problem, so Taubes is doing a great service - but the book is missing a good theoretical framework, which makes its conclusions shaky. Juarrero could provide just the foundation that Taubes lacks.… (more)

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» See also 23 mentions

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This is probably one of the most important books to read regarding what we eat. It presents some incredibly compelling and convincing evidence for why the "conventional wisdom" on diet is flat out wrong. The impact of following this "common sense" advice has been quite tragic and goes far beyond obesity: diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimers are all affected as well. At the very basic level, Taubes argues that not all calories are equal, fats are not unhealthy, obesity is not the result of eating too much or exercising too little, and that most of our modern diseases are the result of the hormonal response of our bodies to our modern diets.

Unfortunately, the book is far from perfect. It's basically 450 pages of referenced studies and can only be described as "dense". Although it's fairly well put together and logically arranged, I suspect many people will be unable to get through it. Perhaps a "lite" version is needed to more effectively spread Taubes' important message.

Moreover, the book has some important commissions - such as the fact that in the same way not all calories are the same, not all types of exercise are either - and Taubes occasionally contradicts himself, so you have to read it critically. Nevertheless, the main points of the book and the studies that back them up are very solid and will likely change the way you look at what you put in your body in the future. ( )
  brikis98 | Nov 11, 2015 |
This is one of the first books I read after my doctor told me I needed to stop eating grains. It is a very informative book and I liked it. However It is written a bit above me. He later wrote another one "Why We Get Fat and What We Can Do About It" that was much more understandable to me. It seemed to be written more in "layman's terms". I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn how the body reacts to food and can also follow a bit more technical style of writing. ( )
  Mariesreads | May 8, 2015 |
Very beautiful and comprehensive book for all studies on the subject of nutrition and dieting and I retrieval more information from this book when a promising my project the author focuses on the why we get fat and focus on carbohydrates as the main cause of obesity and he shows previous scientific studies . ( )
  wedad3 | Jan 6, 2015 |
Some of this book rang true for me and then some I just couldn't get on board with. ( )
  bookqueenshelby | Sep 9, 2014 |
Science jouranlaist Gary Taubes looked at the science behind the FDA food pyramid and found it, er, unscientific. A little dry in stretches because it's so thorough. Taubes presents pretty compelling evidence that obesity, diabetes, and a host of other health problems stem from grain and starch based diets. ( )
  HenryKrinkle | Jul 23, 2014 |
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For Sloane and Harry, my family
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William Banting was a fat man.
In the prevailing wisdom, a simple caloric imbalance is the culprit: we get fat because we consume more calories than we expend. The alternative is that excess weight and obesity, like all diseases of civilization, are caused by the singular hormonal effects of a diet rich in refined and easily digestible carbohydrates.
Certain conclusions seem inescapable to me, based on the existing knowledge:

1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.
2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis -- the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight, and well-being.

3. Sugars -- sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically -- are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.

4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization.

5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating, and not sedentary behavior.

6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter, any more than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending more energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss; it leads to hunger.

7. Fattening and obseity are caused by an imbalance -- a disequilibrium -- in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism. Fat synthesis and storage exceed the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses its balance.

8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated -- either chronically or after a meal -- we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it for fuel.

9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.

10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.
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"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. In this groundbreaking book, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong."--Back cover.… (more)

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