Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health

Gary Taubes

Language: English

Pages: 640

ISBN: 1400033462

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.

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by a factor of three. In 1999, James Levine from the Mayo Clinic reported that he had overfed sixteen healthy volunteers by a thousand calories a day, seven days a week, for eight weeks. The amount of fat these subjects managed to put on ranged from less than a single pound to almost nine; “fat gain varied ten-fold among our volunteers,” Levine reported. None of these experiments could explain what happened to the extra calories in those subjects who did not fatten easily, and why some of these

synthesis and oxidation of fat was quite rudimentary,” Bruch wrote in 1957. “As long as it was not known how the body builds up and breaks down its fat deposit, the ignorance was glossed over by simply stating that food taken in excess of body needs was stored and deposited in the fat cells, the way potatoes are put into a bag. Obviously, this is not so.” By 1973, after details of the regulation of fat metabolism and storage had been worked out in fine detail, Bruch found it “amazing how little

physical exams and come to what they called a “reasonable approximation of the truth” of what and how much each of these men ate. After four years, eighty-eight of the men had developed symptoms of coronary heart disease. Paul and his colleagues then compared heart disease rates among the 15 percent of the men who seemingly ate the most fatty food with the 15 percent who seemingly ate the least. “Worthy of comment,” they reported, “is the fact that of the 88 coronary cases, 14 have appeared in

Lancet. May 11; 272 (6976):943–53. Akinyanju, P. A., R. U. Qureshi, A. J. Salter, and J. Yudkin. 1968. “Effect of an ‘Atherogenic’ Diet Containing Starch or Sucrose on the Blood Lipids of Young Men.” Nature. June 8; 218 (5145):975–77. Alberts, D. S., M. E. Martinez, D. J. Roe, et al. 2000. “Lack of Effect of a High-Fiber Cereal Supplement on the Recurrence of Colorectal Adenomas: Phoenix Colon Cancer Prevention Physicians’ Network.” New England Journal of Medicine. April 20; 342(16):1156–62.

Edward Arnold. ———. 1956. “A Case of Coronary Heart Trouble in an African.” East African Medical Journal. 33:393. Trowell, H. C., and D. P. Burkitt, eds. 1981. Western Diseases: Their Emergence and Prevention. London: Edward Arnold. ———. 1981a. “Preface.” In Trowell and Burkitt, eds., 1981, xiii–xvi. ———. 1981b. “Contributors’ Reports.” In Trowell and Burkitt, eds., 1981, 427–35. ———. 1975. “Concluding Considerations.” In Burkitt and Trowell, 1975, 333–45. Trulson, M. F., R. E. Clancy, W.

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