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Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It Paperback – December 27, 2011


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Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It + Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health + Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs,  and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (December 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307474259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307474254
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Taubes stands the received wisdom about diet and exercise on its head.”
The New York Times

“Well-researched and thoughtful. . . . Taubes has done us a great service by bringing these issues to the table.”
The Boston Globe

“Compelling and convincing. . . . Taubes breaks it down for us from historical and, more importantly, scientific perspectives.”
Philadelphia Daily News

“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
 
“Taubes is a science journalist’s science journalist, who researches topics to the point of obsession—actually, well beyond that point—and never dumbs things down for readers.”
Scientific American
 
“Important. . . . This excellent book, built on sound research and common sense, contains essential information.”
Tucson Citizen
 
“This brave, paradigm-shifting man uses logic and the primary literature to unhinge the nutritional mantra of the last eighty years.”
Choice
 
“Less dense and easier to read [than Good Calories, Bad Calories] but no less revelatory.”
The Oregonian
 
“An exhaustive investigation.”
The Daily Beast
 
“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.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
 
“Clear and accessible . . . Taubes’s conviction alone makes Why We Get Fat well worth considering.”
Bookpage
 
“[Taubes] is helping to reshape the conversation about what makes the American diet so fattening.”
Details
 
“Taubes is a relentless researcher.”
The Washington Post Book World
 
“[Taubes’s] major conclusions are somewhat startling yet surprisingly convincing. . . . His writing reflects his passion for scientific truth.”
Chicago Sun-Times


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Customer Reviews

This book is so incredibly informative and life changing, i recommend everyone read it.
Michelle
I would like to thank Gary Taubes for writing this book and getting this information out to the public.
erinc
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has struggled with weight loss and wants to understand why.
A. Erickson-Gault

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

970 of 990 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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1,750 of 1,855 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.
Read more ›
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389 of 416 people found the following review helpful By Jon Norris TOP 500 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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