Gary Taubes has written an interesting book which seeks to take conventional wisdom and turn it on its head. In general, we believe that the key to losing weight is eating less and exercising. We count calories all the time—in the food we eat and the exercises we perform at the gym. In our minds, eating fewer calories and getting off our butts has become synonymous with virtue and self-discipline. We think that people gain weight merely because they're too lazy to prepare healthy meals and go to the gym.
However, in Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, Taubes argues that it's not just the quantity of food eaten that's important; it's quality. A person may cut many calories, but this won't necessarily lead to weight loss if s/he continues to eat the same amount of carbohydrates. According to Taubes, there are many hormones and enzymes in the body which determine whether or not a person is going to gain weight. Many of these are outside our control but one isn't—insulin. The more carbohydrates you eat, the more your body produces insulin which in turn leads to a spike in hunger. So eating carbs leads to eating more carbs and things continue in this vicious circle. In the long term, eating so many carbs can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.
This is a wonderfully direct and scientifically researched book which will help you understand your body a great deal better. Once you know the ins and outs of bodily function, you can decide the best foods for you to consume. And eating more of the right kinds of food also helps you to get off the couch and get moving. So Taubes' theory tackles the problem of what to eat as well as how much to exercise, and it's written in an accessible manner which can be understood by a layperson.
Taubes was born in Rochester, New York and studied applied physics at Harvard before getting an M. S. in aerospace engineering at Stanford. He went on to get another Master's at Columbia's journalism school and thus began his career as a writer. He has written for Discover and Science magazines and is also the author of four books. At first, he wrote more about physics-related topics, but, of late, he has turned to diet and nutrition. He has won the Science in Society Award of the National Association of Science Writers three times.
In his New York Times bestseller, Good Calories,
Bad Calories, Taubes argued that our diet’s overemphasis on certain kinds
of carbohydrates—not fats and not simply excess calories—has led
directly to the obesity epidemic we face today. The result of thorough
research, keen insight, and unassailable common sense, Good Calories, Bad
Calories immediately stirred controversy and acclaim among academics,
journalists, and writers alike. Michael Pollan heralded it as “a vitally
important book, destined to change the way we think about food.”
Building upon this critical work in Good Calories, Bad
Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, Taubes now revisits
the urgent question of what’s making us fat, and how we can change, in this
exciting new book. Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get
Fat makes Taubes’ crucial argument newly accessible to a wider audience.
Taubes reveals the bad nutritional science of the last
century, none more damaging or misguided than the “calories-in, calories-out”
model of why we get fat, and the good science that has been ignored, especially
regarding insulin’s regulation of our fat tissue. He also answers the most
persistent questions: Why are some people thin and others fat? What roles do
exercise and genetics play in our weight? What foods should we eat, and what
foods should we avoid?
Packed with essential information and concluding with an
easy-to-follow diet, Why We Get Fat is an invaluable key in our
understanding of an international epidemic and a guide to what each of us can
do about it.
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