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

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Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) Cover

ISBN13: 9781400033461
ISBN10: 1400033462
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this groundbreaking book, the result of seven years of research in every science connected with the impact of nutrition on health, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong.

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 with more and more people acting on this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues persuasively that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates (white flour, sugar, easily digested starches) and sugars–via their dramatic and longterm effects on insulin, the hormone that regulates fat accumulation–and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number. There are good calories, and bad ones.

Good Calories

These are from foods without easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars. These foods can be eaten without restraint.

Meat, fish, fowl, cheese, eggs, butter, and non-starchy vegetables.

Bad Calories

These are from foods that stimulate excessive insulin secretion and so make us fat and increase our risk of chronic disease—all refined and easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars. The key is not how much vitamins and minerals they contain, but how quickly they are digested. (So apple juice or even green vegetable juices are not necessarily any healthier than soda.)

Bread and other baked goods, potatoes, yams, rice, pasta, cereal grains, corn, sugar (sucrose and high fructose corn syrup), ice cream, candy, soft drinks, fruit juices, bananas and other tropical fruits, and beer.

Taubes traces how the common assumption that carbohydrates are fattening was abandoned in the 1960s when fat and cholesterol were blamed for heart disease and then –wrongly–were seen as the causes of a host of other maladies, including cancer. He shows us how these unproven hypotheses were emphatically embraced by authorities in nutrition, public health, and clinical medicine, in spite of how well-conceived clinical trials have consistently refuted them. He also documents the dietary trials of carbohydrate-restriction, which consistently show that the fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.

With precise references to the most significant existing clinical studies, he convinces us that there is no compelling scientific evidence demonstrating that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease, that salt causes high blood pressure, and that fiber is a necessary part of a healthy diet. Based on the evidence that does exist, he leads us to conclude that the only healthy way to lose weight and remain lean is to eat fewer carbohydrates or to change the type of the carbohydrates we do eat, and, for some of us, perhaps to eat virtually none at all.

The 11 Critical Conclusions of Good Calories, Bad Calories:

1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, does not cause heart disease.

2. Carbohydrates do, because of their effect on the hormone insulin. The more easily-digestible and refined the carbohydrates and the more fructose they contain, the greater the effect on our health, weight, and well-being.

3. Sugars—sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup specifically—are particularly harmful. The glucose in these sugars raises insulin levels; the fructose they contain overloads the liver.

4. Refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are also the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and the other common chronic diseases of modern times.

5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating and not sedentary behavior.

6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter any more than it causes a child to grow taller.

7. Exercise does not make us lose excess fat; it makes us hungry.

8. We get fat because of an imbalance—a disequilibrium—in the hormonal regulation of fat tissue and fat metabolism. More fat is stored in the fat tissue than is mobilized and used for fuel. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this imbalance.

9. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated, we stockpile calories as fat. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and burn it for fuel.

10. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.

11. The fewer carbohydrates we eat, the leaner we will be.

Good Calories, Bad Calories is a tour de force of scientific investigation–certain to redefine the ongoing debate about the foods we eat and their effects on our health.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Gary Taubes is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine and a contributing editor at Technology Review. He has written about science, medicine, and health for Science, Discover, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Fortune, Forbes, and GQ. His articles have appeared in The Best American Science Writing three times. He has won three Science-in-Society Journalism Awards given by the National Association of Science Writers--the only print journalist so recognized--as well as awards from the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society. His book Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. He was educated at

Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Marija, January 28, 2011 (view all comments by Marija)
This book is amazing. I wish I'd read it ten years ago. I have been so confused about why we are all so unhealthy and Taubes book gives an insightful analysis of the history of nutrition research and politics, and then explains the science behind how fat and carbohydrates are metabolized by our bodies. I recommend this book especially to anyone struggling with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer -- or anyone worried about getting those diseases which actually... is pretty much everyone.
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Heidi Yorkshire, October 28, 2009 (view all comments by Heidi Yorkshire)
This is an astonishing book that turns everything we supposedly "know" about nutrition, fat and disease on its head. Cholesterol causes heart disease? (Uh, no.) Salt raises your blood pressure? (Not significantly.) Obesity is caused by eating too much and being sedentary? (Not at all.) Finally, a writer with the science cred to nail it has looked at the actual research -- not the wishful thinking, ego trips and bad leaps of generations of physicians and scientists -- and tells us what is really going on with the food we eat and the "Western diseases" like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's. Don't eat another mouthful before you read this.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400033461
Author:
Taubes, Gary
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Subject:
Diets - Better Health
Subject:
Nutrition
Subject:
Diets - Special Conditions
Subject:
Diets
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Diet and Nutrition
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20080931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
640
Dimensions:
9.16x6.32x1.27 in. 1.77 lbs.

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Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) New Trade Paper
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Product details 640 pages Anchor Books - English 9781400033461 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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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