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.
"I've been cycling six thousand km a year for the past four years, yet I've been bouncing between plus and minus six kg and never understood why, until listening to this book. Whatever weight I lost during the warmer seasons, I regained during winter. And then I started riding even during the winter, with the same result.
WHAT YOU EAT COUNTS! Give up fries and rice, eat less bread, but have all the meat, eggs and cheese you want. What's not to like about that!"
Ted (5 out of 5 stars)