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Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It Kindle Edition

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Length: 288 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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From Booklist

Award-winning science journalist Taubes follows his Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007) with this eminently more reader-friendly explanation of the dangers of dietary carbohydrates. If the USDA dietary guidelines—recommending that highly caloric grains and carbohydrates comprise 45 to 65 percent of daily caloric intake—are so healthy, why, he asks, has obesity among Americans been on the upswing? Why has this same diet, endorsed by the American Heart Association, not managed to reduce the incidence of heart disease? And, finally, he asks why mainstream health experts continue to promote the notably unscientific notion of “calories in/calories out” as the single focus of weight management? After explaining in layperson’s terms the science that debunks the idea that weight control is a matter of burning more calories than one consumes, Taubes offers an alternative viewpoint: no carbs. While his recommendation to eliminate carbohydrates (grains, fruits, sugars, etc.) from one’s diet is not necessarily a new one, Taubes does present compelling supporting evidence that many, if not all, people should consider at least severely limiting carbohydrates in their diet. --Donna Chavez


“Well-researched and thoughtful . . . Reconsidering how our diet affects our bodies, how we might modify it to be healthier, and being less harsh with those who struggle with their weight are all worthy goals. Taubes has done us a great service by bringing these issues to the table.”
            -Dennis Rosen, The Boston Globe
“Less dense and easier to read [than Good Calories, Bad Calories] but no less revelatory.”
            -Jeff Baker, The Oregonian
“Taubes’s critique is so pointed and vociferous that reading him will change the way you look at calories, the food pyramid, and your daily diet.”
            -Men’s Journal
“Important . . . This excellent book, built on sound research and common sense, contains essential information.”
            -Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen
“Aggressive . . . An exhaustive investigation.”
            -Casey Schwartz, The Daily Beast
“Passionate and urgent . . . Backed by a persuasive amount of detail . . . As an award-winning scientific journalist who spent the past decade rigorously tracking down and assimilating obesity research, he’s uniquely qualified to understand and present the big picture of scientific opinions and results. Despite legions of researchers and billions of government dollars expended, Taubes is the one to painstakingly compile this information, assimilate it, and make it available to the public . . . Taubes does the important and extraordinary work of pulling it all together for us.”

Product Details

  • File Size: 4517 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Publication Date: December 28, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003WUYOQ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,757 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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1,241 of 1,268 people found the following review helpful By Laura M. Bangerter on November 3, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I've read quite a few books that make some of the same points this one does about nutrition. I was already convinced saturated fat wasn't bad, and didn't cause heart disease. I was already convinced that sugar wasn't good for you--nor was a lot of bread and pasta. BUT I had never questioned the calories in/calories out theory. I knew plenty of people carrying extra pounds who exercised a lot and who didn't appear to eat any worse than I did (as a thin person), but I figured they must. I never questioned to think WHY do people eat more than need. The short answer is: glucose drives insulin drives fat. Taubes states that this is inarguable. I thought, well if it is inarguable than if I go read this Biochemistry, Fifth Edition: International Version (hardcover) book sitting on my bookshelf it will say the same thing. Sure enough it did, granted using a lot bigger words than Taubes does. Fatty acids will not be released into the blood stream to be used as energy if the glucose level is high. Thus it is logical to conclude that if you eat a diet that causes your blood sugar to frequently be high, all energy you consume that is not immediately needed will be stored in your fat cells and will not be released. You will not get to use all of the 800 calories you eat at one meal, only the 100 or so you need immediately, and thus you will soon be hungry again, and will overeat. And in contrast if your blood sugar is stable and you can access that stored energy you will not be hungry and won't overeat. Also it doesn't matter if you are eating fat or glucose your body will convert what its got to what it needs.Read more ›
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1,917 of 2,032 people found the following review helpful By maramaye on December 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The brilliant thing about science is that when something is disproved once, it's disproved forever. The not-so-brilliant thing about public health policy is that it has little to do with science.

Everyone in the developed world knows what's causing our obesity epidemic. BBC nailed it: "We eat too much, and too much of the wrong things," and Michelle Obama tells us "We have to move more." Clearly what we need is a balanced diet of lean meats, some good fats, and complex carbohydrates like fruit, vegetables and whole grain bread, and exercise of 30 to 90 minutes per day. Their prescription is completely reasonable and makes intuitive sense.

It is neat, plausible, and wrong. It has in fact been disproved, as nearly as "disproof" can exist in nutrition science.

In his previous book, Good Calories Bad Calories, respected science journalist Gary Taubes exhaustively researched and cited two centuries worth of research in nutrition. He came to the conclusion that none of those recommendations is supported by science, because the fundamental theory on which they're based is wrong. Why We Get Fat is an updated summary of that earlier work, much quicker and easier to read, with some significant points clarified.

The most important point of the book is that all those public recommendations -- the food pyramid, the "eat food, not too much" approach, everything we know about a balanced lifestyle -- is founded on the premise of Calories In vs. Calories Out. That we get fat because we eat too many calories, or we don't burn enough of them through movement. But this is nonsense. It's not just wrong, it is actually not a statement about what causes obesity at all (or heart disease, cancer or diabetes, for that matter.
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484 of 518 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Taubes' book is one of the most important books ever written on nutrition. There are thousands of books written on diet and obesity, and the overwhelming majority of them are deeply flawed at best. The so-called advice offered (and now even forcibly mandated by public and corporate powers) is also dead wrong, as will be most of those who trust said advice.

There are many thoughts on why this is the case, and many "conspiracy" theories as to how it came about, some with substantial evidence and outright smoking guns. This area of health is rife with disinformation, misinformation, ignorance, and outright lies.

Taubes does not deal with any of that directly. He does something quite different and important: he uses solid research from the hard literature to make his case in a very precise and focused way. The case he makes is airtight and irrefutable, even from the most hard-nosed skeptic's viewpoint.

The first thrust of this book is to show that the old "calories in - calories out" steam engine view of obesity is not only mildly incorrect, it is so very obviously wrong on so many levels as to completely defy rational thought. While he does not deal with the reasons behind this deadly myopia in the professional, corporate, and governmental world, he does systematically dismember this superstitious silliness with glorious logic and hard evidence.

From the misunderstanding of the application of thermodynamic "laws" in biological systems to the research on obesity and disease connections, he deftly leads the reader to a greater understanding of what the real research on obesity actually says, and what that means in terms of personal health and public policy.
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What about high-carb countries like India, Japan, China...?
This is addressed in good calories bad calories. Basically when the asians etc were perceived to be living on rice they were also living in a state of semi starvation and probably hungry most of the time. Also bear in mind that polished white rice is only a little over a century old. Historically... Read More
Mar 3, 2011 by Eli |  See all 20 posts
Seems like we cannot eat this way in a world of 7 billion people
We, as a species, probably can't, which is probably why the government continues to promote grain based diets. The corporations that lobby them make money selling you junk food and then make more money selling you healthcare for chronic incurable conditions. It's a win win for them. Too bad for... Read More
Mar 3, 2011 by Eli |  See all 10 posts
Is there an acceptable time to eat carbs?
For me, a diabetic, there is no good time to eat carbs ... simple as that.
Jun 27, 2011 by Maryann Watkins |  See all 8 posts
Dairy, calcium and carbs Be the first to reply
Is A Low-Carb Lifestyle Right For You? Be the first to reply
Statin Research Be the first to reply
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