- File Size: 3347 KB
- Print Length: 273 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: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,659 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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“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.”
“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.”
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Today my weight is down by 20%. My triglycerides dropped by 70%. I no longer have sleep apnea. I am exercising regularly and training for a triathlon.
This is not a diet book. It is a careful and compelling review of the science of diet and human biochemistry. It convinced me to change my diet, and this changed my life. I owe Gary Taubes a great deal.
If you want to learn once and for all WHY carbs are "so bad", and WHY we shouldn't eat sugar, and why "diet and exercise" doesn't actually work for losing weight, then read this book.
I did and made the changes he suggests and have lost 20-25 lbs, and kept it off. I'm 5'8" and now weigh 140-145.
And now I'll tell you all the rest of the story:
I haven't read any of the other "low carb" or "no carb" or Atkins/South Beach or All Meat diet books or plans over the years. I thought they were all just fads and not related to science and that only crazy people would listen to them.... Well, I'm a science teacher, and I like the science Taubes talks about in this book, so I guess I'm that kind of crazy now, too! He gives excellent examples, complete with some photos that seem to tell all... discusses nature vs. nurture, discusses historical changes in human diets in various ethnic groups around the world and the resulting changes in the populations' health. It's some pretty compelling information. I read the book twice before doing anything because I kind of needed to experiment on my own one last time and gather my evidence to be able to make arguments to convince both myself and those around me that this "stuff" about "carbs are bad" really is true!
However, it's also important to point out that for some people, carbs aren't a problem. If they aren't for you, then don't change a thing. But for people stuck in a rut of "trying" to lose weight (which really means: 'wanting to lose weight') but nothing is working, or things that used to work don't work any more, or if medication caused you to gain the weight (my case) (along with the other issues above!), then something needs to change, right? Well, this whole carb thing just might be what's hanging you up. And for people who are overweight and say, "But carbs are good for you, and I need to eat my carbs or I get low blood sugar and I feel bad", I say to you... "Really? And how is that working out?" Yeah, that was what I once said, too.... but seriously, read this book and see what you think then!
I had been a vegetarian for the past 25 years... I'm now 46. My family is also vegetarian, but incredibly picky. So we had fallen into a trap of eating pasta, pasta, and more pasta for our main meals. Sure we'd have salads (with caramelized pecans!) and veggies (cheese on top, please!) - plus French toast, coffee cake and banana bread for breakfast (or cold cereal), sandwiches (or fake meat burgers) for lunch and more pasta for dinner. Ice cream for dessert. And smoothies. Sure, it's all vegetarian, and my kids would eat it, but why did the pounds keep creeping on me?
I first read the book in the summer of 2013, and immediately was intrigued, grossed out, upset, puzzled, argumentative, in a state of disbelief and just plain confused. I ran a marathon that fall (at my heaviest weight ever... after having trained for 6 months and hardly budged a pound) and continued my path of eating carbs and sugar until I picked it up again in summer of 2014 (I'm a teacher, so my life proceeds in years bookended by a summer). I started making my plan. But could I do it as a vegetarian? I did the math, I researched products. I decided that in order to "clean out my system" of crazy carb-and-sugar-related hormonal issues, I'd need to just bite the bullet and chew the meat. I decided chicken was going to have to work for me. So I went for it. Once my vacationing days were over, I started going "extreme no carb" for 10 days.
August 12, I was 160 lbs. (I had been up as high as 165 a few months before that...I had already started cutting out some sugar just by virtue of re-reading The Book!)
August 23, I was at 150. A pound a day, not bad. This was, after all, the "phase 1" of the no-carb thing...eat as much as you want just no carbs! (no more than 20 g a day!) I had been eating chicken, and oddly decide that bacon was now "ok" to eat. Odd to go from vegetarian to "bacon-eater", I know, but it was, after all "for my health!" :)
I started adding back carbs to get to a more "normal/sustainable" diet and by Sept 14 I was 145.
November 22 I was 142
January 31, 2015 I was at 138. 20 lbs in about 5 months.
AND NEVER HUNGRY!!!!! That's the part that is hard to understand. I was eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Like a big 3 or 4 egg omelet with red peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and hollandaise sauce! Lunch would be a big salad (Like the Chicken and Rosted Beet salad from Trader Joes with less dressing than they give!) and dinner would be some kind of chicken... and veggies of course. I might have 2 or 3 thighs if I was was that hungry. No problem. For snacks, I'd have blackberries with real whipped cream with vanilla and a touch of stevia added in.
I am writing this in February 2016 and I am still right at 140. Some weeks I dip under, sometimes as high as 143, but usually after I had some pasta or a bunch of garlic bread. I still cut out extra carbs, but I do eat them. (Onion rings are just GOOD, you know?) I still eat chicken, because I still can't figure out how to get enough protein without the meat products.
Lastly, let me mention that I helped my 16 year old son follow this plan and lose weight from 225 lbs. in November 2015 to 185 lbs. now in February 2016. He was eating way too many carbs, way too much food! Now he understands that what he eats is important as is "how much".
The first book takes the time to lay out the case that low-fat diets (aka. high-carbohydrate diets) have been a problem for the past 100 years. The author takes this half of the book to explain WHAT has been happening. It's interesting in an abstract sense, but there's never an "ah ha!" moment, so if you already know about this, it is kinda boring.
If you want to hit the ground running, you can skip to the second half of the book where the author slowly, but methodically introduces the reader to WHY we get fat (and what we can do about it.) And this part of book is rich with interesting information and lots of "ah ha!" moments. Makes for good reading.
My only real criticism in this book is that there really aren't any diagrams or charts and that makes it harder to visualize what's going on in places.
I found that the book "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living" much better (and cheaper) -- It's definitely more science-y, but in a good way. https://www.amazon.com/Art-Science-Low-Carbohydrate-Living-ebook/dp/B005CVV2AE/
Everyone should read this book!
Top international reviews
This book gives lots of detail about what is happening in our bodies, fascinating.
Some of the writing is a little technical, but generally not too bad - so I got through the book in only a few days (unusual for me).
The ultimate test is that having read it - and applying this methodology of what to eat, I have already lost weight. 4 lbs in week one and almost at the end of week 2 .... I'm sure more has come off but am waiting until the week is done to weigh myself. My clothes are looser still .... so happy with the way things are headed.
I've not gone hungry and still managed my twice weekly mountain biking, without any huge energy issue (having cut out carbs).
I am very interested to see if this book gains wider knowledge over time, to then change the usual advice given to those wishing to lose weight, since it appears we have all been told the wrong information for too long,
Gary Taubes also has some useful lectures on-line covering some of this material.
I'm now reading - The art & science of low carbohydrate performance - to see if it gives further refinements of what to eat to allow my mountain biking to further improve - but it seems this way of eating will actually provide athletes with MORE useable energy stores, than the traditional carb-loading option.
So - very happy to have discovered this book and it's recommended plan.
The data in this book seems well researched and I think you need to make your own conclusions and adjust or not your diet to how you live or want to change.
Get on board now or as the establishment treated Barry Marshall in the eighties ( He discovered antibiotic treatment for peptic ulcers ), you'll wait ten years before the truth becomes doctrine.
My personal life experience is somehow different. I grew up in a Communist East European Country where the main staples of food were white bread, sugar, pasta and occasionally white rice. Sometimes a meal would be a slice of white bread with two tablespoons of white sugar on top. We ate meat once a week (Sunday) and vegetables/fruits only during season. However, there were no obese people. Out of 300+ adults and children from my street only one adult was obese and he had a hormonal problem. If you look at our movies from that period the extras or simply the people on the street that happen to be in the frame, not one is obese and only a few over-weighted. I had two over-weighted colleagues in my high-school class (out of 36) and one in college (out of 34). And all three were also very powerful, they could run and kick like hell. All the while the caloric content of the diet was about 80% carbohydrates and the rest fat and protein. I found out what diabetes is when I was 20. But we had no computers and TV was 1 hour/day of propaganda, so we played outside 3+ hours. Each and every day. My father had to walk 30 minutes to the bus each day, 30 minutes back, as well everywhere else, as we only had a quota of 6 gallons of gas/month and few had a car.
I was 6'1" and 140 pounds when I was 18. That's a BMI of 18.5. And I ate everything I would set my eyes on, white bread mostly as my father worked in a bread factory. I remember my dream of becoming a hockey player so I would reach 200 pounds. But nothing I did seemed to work. And I was not the only one looking like a scarecrow. I had colleagues who were more emaciated than me at the same height. By that time Western products appeared (Communism fell) and I began eating tons of chocolate, pudding, Coke, McDonalds. I married at 25 weighting 158 pounds. Still walked everywhere daily, to work, to meet friends, to do shopping, at least 2 hours/day. And played soccer/tennis/basketball weekly. I loved moving, it was life.
Then I moved in another country and the problems started. I was lonely, I had problems with my marriage, I lost a child, then I didn't have a job. My energy levels dropped to the floor (stress) and I began stuffing myself every two hours while sitting on my couch and surfing the net (dopamine hungry?). I woke up when I was 217 pounds and couldn't climb two flights of stairs without losing my breath. I hated myself so I began training intensively but at the same time keeping my gorging habits (the problems where still there). After 2 years I did my first marathon in 4+ hours as I weighted 205 pounds. The next year I did a mountain marathon in 6+ hours but my weight didn't drop further, no matter how much I trained.
Then one day I realized I wasn't running for something but I was running from something. I stopped running altogether and began putting order into my life. Mending my marriage, 3 normal meals/day, a dog, social life, career, exercise lightly. I now weight 190 pounds and feel good to better.
So I guess what I'm saying is that losing/maintaining weight and being healthy is a holistic approach. The human body has an incredible capacity to adapt and deal with a lot of bad situations. It's just the accumulation of many negative factors at once that can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds in a self-reinforcing feedback loop. And unfortunately the Western civilization has reached a point where a lot of these factors converge and influence one-another: constant stress, overeating, refined sugars everywhere, meats spiced with hormones, drug abuse, sedentariness, loneliness, depression, social fracturing, moral relativity, dysfunctional intersexual relationships. And all these unfortunately are spreading around the world as the culture permeates toward East. My country now has one of the highest obesity rates in the EU.
I wish I could believe that the obesity epidemic could simply be treated by restricting/eliminating the refined carbohydrates and eating meats/fats, but I suspect the answer is much more complex than that.
Am thinking about adopting GT's recommendations more fully soon.
A good read nonetheless - I would recommend. It makes sense and it works!
This book is a must read for anyone interested in their health or looking for an unbiased real world method of weight loss.