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.
Called “a very important book,” by Andrew Weil and …” destined to change the way we think about food,” by Michael Pollan, this groundbreaking book by award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong.
Taubes's eye-opening challenge to widely accepted ideas on nutrition and weight loss is as provocative as was his 2001 NewYork Times Magazine article, "What if It's All a Big Fat Lie?" Taubes (Bad Science), a writer for Science magazine, begins by showing how public health data has been misinterpreted to mark dietary fat and cholesterol as the primary causes of coronary heart disease. Deeper examination, he says, shows that heart disease and other "diseases of civilization" appear to result from increased consumption of refined carbohydrates: sugar, white flour and white rice. When researcher John Yudkin announced these results in the 1950s, however, he was drowned out by the conventional wisdom. Taubes cites clinical evidence showing that elevated triglyceride levels, rather than high total cholesterol, are associated with increased risk of heart disease but measuring triglycerides is more difficult than measuring cholesterol. Taubes says that the current U.S. obesity "epidemic" actually consists of a very small increase in the average body mass index. Taube's arguments are lucid and well supported by lengthy notes and bibliography. His call for dietary "advice that is based on rigorous science, not century-old preconceptions about the penalties of gluttony and sloth" is bound to be echoed loudly by many readers. Illus.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book changed my life.
It sounds terribly cheesy to say that, but it did. Taubes' research is spot-on, and his writing, while quite technical, is excellent. I highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who (like me) have struggled with weight gain throughout their lives. It will inform you, it will enlighten you, and it will certainly anger you at the misinformation that we as consumers are fed (if you'll excuse the pun!).
The death knell to vegetarianism.
Those in positions of power who feel they know better than the common rabble have ignored vast tombs of data reaching back decades if not a century due to WWII. The science done by nutritionists turns out to be as bad as that cited by macroeconomists. Millions of Americans have died from 'diseases of western civilization', and millions more are currently suffering from metabolic syndrome. A calorie from a carbohydrate affects the human body's metabolism (fat storage or usage) differently from a gram of fat or protein. Fat storage is to a large extent hormonally (insulin) driven. This social engineering (the governments food pyramid), has resulted in the early death of millions, to say nothing of the painful slow death of millions more sipping sugar water daily. Had we as children shunned sugar, we as adults may very well have been able to eat potatoes without turning into them.
Read this book and you will never look at a loaf of bread or a government committee the same way. So well researched, his index of references in GCBC are thicker than some books.
Mr. Taubes should be given the Nobel Prize not for discovering something new under the Sun, but for most prolifically exposing that which has so expertly been obfuscated over a century by those suffering from 'cognitive dissonance'? If you've ever struggled with weight, reading this book will make your blood boil because those in a position to know better willfully turned a blind eye and condemned you for sloth and gluttony.
This book is not recommended for non Libertarians. If your sipping sugar water, avoiding sunshine, and voting red team or blue, don't come within one-hundred feet of a copy of GCBC, your head will explode.
It has a lot of useful information to give. Nevertheless, it seems like the information is so dense and long and repetitive that it sometimes is hard to read and move along