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Extended Audio Sample Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health Audiobook, 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: August 2011 ISBN: 9781470803919
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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.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne | 12/22/2013

    " This is an intense book. Taubes has won more awards from the Academy of Science than any other author. To write this book, he basically read nearly 100% of the information on health, diet, cholesterol in foods, fat in foods, the relationship (positive or negative) to health, carbohydrates, insulin, exercise and how they relate to health. For some this will be a great eye opener and for others it will either have too much information or challenge the current very much wrong Dogma or Mantra so much that it is hard to wrap you mind or food choices around it. But it really should be a must read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melva | 12/7/2013

    " Rethink everything you know about what is healty eating. Extremely well-researched, beautifully written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Polly | 12/4/2013

    " Excellent book - brings the science (rather than the hype) to the discussion about diet and health. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Reba | 11/28/2013

    " This is an excellent book, for anyone who may be interested in health and nutrition. I gave it only 3 stars though, because it is a bit "sciency" for the layman. Mr. Taubes later released another book, easier to read but with the same science "Why We Get Fat, and What To Do About It" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Natalie | 11/22/2013

    " For me, this book was just convincing me of something I already know is true of dieting and health for me. How it fares with skeptics is a completely different matter. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark Lofquist | 11/19/2013

    " Long, but good proof that science was not used when gov't policy about health recommendations were written. egos, bad science, power positions made our health worse as a nation. read this book and get very angry at the 'health' advice we've received. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie Hughes | 9/15/2013

    " Taubes is an exhaustive researcher, questioning the nutritional establishment and all that has been drilled into our heads over the past few decades about health eating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Darcy | 7/12/2013

    " Eye-opening! Almost horrifying, actually. I recommend this book to anyone who cares about their health. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed | 5/6/2013

    " This is a pretty mind-blowing review of cardiovascular, nutritional, and obesity research over the last century. Particularly good is the description of the carbohydrate hypothesis of disease and the details of how we all came to fear cholesterol despite decades of research showing it to be benign. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 3/15/2013

    " I want to eat steaks in a white, cool, fluffy hotel bed with Gary Taubes "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 2/10/2013

    " The best -- and only -- comprehensive review of nutrition research to-date. Think that sounds boring? Think again... this book will blow your mind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonathan Wheeler | 11/20/2012

    " Fantastic. Finally some science about nutrition that is consistent and makes sense. Everyone should read this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peg | 10/27/2012

    " Life changing. Dense and accessible. Science writing at its best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 6/30/2012

    " I made quick progress through this book, I believe because I listened to it as an audio book. This made the sense sections I statistics and scientific references easier to plow through, while leaving all the very important ideas intact. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Drewkosztyo | 1/8/2012

    " Which of the age-old dietary theories provides the scientifically valid nostrum for long life and good health -- a low fat diet or a low carb diet? Taubes spends 460 pages rigorously -- but not conclusively -- arguing the later. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 E.woerner | 10/24/2011

    " seems to have a great grasp of the size of the gulf of understanding seperating the defenders of the status quo and the investigations of the fielddoctors dealing with native populations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dr. K Reads | 10/2/2011

    " Of the early hypothesizors on this issue he does a great job of giving a good history of nutritional research practices in the US. Too bad he focuses on specific epidemeological research but the converse would lead to a longer manuscript. Now his views are more mainstream. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 9/15/2011

    " The most influential book I have ever read. It completely changed my mind about what kind of food is healthy by doing an extremely thorough review of the history of dietary research. As a result, I have lost 20lbs (and kept it off without exercise for 20 months) and have great blood test results. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Polly | 9/15/2011

    " Excellent book - brings the science (rather than the hype) to the discussion about diet and health. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 8/31/2011

    " Great book. It's the kind of book that flips your world upside-down and makes you begin to think (or realize) that everything you've known about obesity and weight control is wrong. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ophira | 8/29/2011

    " good read about the history of obesity. between the lines, it exposes the relationship between culture and science. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karolinaantonia | 8/28/2011

    " You'll never want to let your children eat anything sugary ever again. Ditto for white flour and white rice. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephwaters | 8/9/2011

    " Super boring though well researched as the author goes through a million medical studies to make his case. Overall, it was thought provoking. "

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About the Author

Gary Taubes, cofounder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, is an award-winning science and health journalist, the author of Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories, and a former staff writer for Discover and correspondent for the journal Science. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Atlantic, and Esquire and has been included in numerous “best of” anthologies, including The Best of the Best American Science Writing (2010). He has received three Science in Society Journalism Awards from the National Association of Science Writers. He is also the recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.

About the Narrator

Mike Chamberlain is an actor and voice-over performer in Los Angeles whose audiobook narration has won five AudioFile Earphones Awards. His voice credits range from radio commercials and television narration to animation and video game characters. Stage trained at Boston College, he has performed works from Shakespeare and the classics to contemporary drama and comedy.