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Extended Audio Sample Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health, by Gary Taubes Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2,487 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gary Taubes Narrator: Mike Chamberlain Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes persuasively argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, sugar, and easily digested starches, and sugars, 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 are from foods without easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars. These foods, such as meat, fish, fowl, cheese, eggs, butter, and non-starchy vegetables, can be eaten without restraint.

Bad calories are from foods that stimulate excessive insulin secretion, thereby making us fat and increasing our risk of chronic disease—all refined and easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars. The key is not how many vitamins and minerals they contain but how quickly they are digested. Therefore, apple juice or even green vegetable juices are not necessarily any healthier than soda. These foods include 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—seen as the causes of a host of other maladies, including cancer. 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, Taubes 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.

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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Easily the most important book on diet and health to be published in the past one hundred years. It is clear, fast-paced, and exciting to read, rigorous, authoritative, and a beacon of hope for all those who struggle with problems of weight regulation and general health.”

    Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “[Taubes] tackles the subject with the seriousness and scientific insight it deserves, building a devastating case against the low-fat, high-carb way of life endorsed by so many nutrition experts in recent years.”

    Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A vitally important book, destined to change the way we think about food.”

    Michael Pollan, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A very important book.”

    Dr. Andrew Weil, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Gary Taubes is a brave and bold science journalist who does not accept conventional wisdom.”

    New York Times

  • “Taubes is a relentless researcher…Brilliant and enlightening.”

    Washington Post

  • “A watershed…It could also literally change the way you eat, the way you look, and how long you live…Lucid and lively.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Provocative…Taubes’ arguments are lucid and well supported…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.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Given America’s current obsession with these issues, Taubes’ challenge to current nutritional conventional wisdom will generate heated controversy and create popular demand for this deeply researched and equally deeply engaging treatise.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Beverly Carney | 1/29/2014

    " A life-changing book, this book details the development of the government's nutritional guidelines and demonstrates how these recommendations are based on poor science and politics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mackenzie | 1/25/2014

    " This is a fantastic critique of the collision of science and public policy. Anyone interested in health, dietary policy, or how science turns into public policy recommendations should read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jesper Benson | 1/21/2014

    " Packed with really interesting information. Covers little over a hundred years of research and paints a very different picture from what is recommended in a modern diet. Very technical though, if you have a less technical bent you might want to check out his current book (Why we get fat)...I've read that it has similar information (a little more updated) but less technical. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by David | 1/16/2014

    " Mind-boggling review of the medical research in nutrition and obesity. A calorie is NOT a calorie, and pretty much all conventional wisdom regarding diet and health is based on questionable science, or no science. "

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