Book Review: Good Calories, Bad Calories

by | Jan 6, 2010

good calories bad calories cover

Good nutrition advice is not easy to come by, but we have to start somewhere.

It is probably obvious to most of you that public education on diet and health is vastly inadequate. We learn virtually nothing in school, and what they do manage to pass on is less-than-useful or just simply wrong.

Advice changes from year to year, sometimes drastically.

Everyone claims to be a nutrition expert, but very few people are actually trained enough to understand the complex and sometimes contradictory findings made by scientists in the field.

But although there are few sources you can trust, some books do stand out as valuable for understanding the basics of health and nutrition. Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes is by far the most thorough I’ve found, and is essential reading for anyone who has an honest desire or need to understand how diet impacts health.

Taubes makes a detailed and compelling case that refined carbohydrates are the primary cause of weight gain and “diseases of civilization” such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. In my view, any honest and opened-minded scientist would have to largely agree with him.

GradeAGood Calories, Bad Calories is 468 pages and contains over 100 additional pages of references, which is nothing short of astonishing. Taubes explores every aspect of the science behind weight control including the most puzzling and frequently ignored evidence, which he argues is the most important.

Scientists depend on statistics, but have a tendency to ignore outliers which can make data difficult to interpret. Taubes instead points to these anomalies as evidence of flawed or incomplete theories, and suggests that isolated populations (outliers) such as the Inuit and Maasai tribes actually help the most in explaining diet-related health patterns.

Taubes argues extensively (sometimes a bit heavy-handedly) against lazy scientific thinking that relies too heavily on conventional wisdom and the appeal of simple ideas. This point is a major theme of the book and is exemplified by chapter 2, “The Inadequacy of Lesser Evidence.” He goes to great lengths to explain how our tendency not to scrutinize established theories breeds scientific closed-mindedness and can perpetuate flawed ideas for decades.

Ultimately Taubes uses this argument to directly challenge one of the most prevailing health theories in Western civilization: the cholesterol–heart disease hypothesis.

Taubes provides hundreds of pages of data and analysis to make the point that total cholesterol is not a good predictor of heart disease or mortality. Specifically LDL cholesterol is only loosely associated with heart disease (at best) and HDL cholesterol (the higher the better) is a much better indication of vascular health. (Read more: How To Raise Your HDL Cholesterol)

Once this basic premise of health is thrown into question, Taubes carries you through the logic of why a high-fat diet cannot be responsible for heart disease (remember the Inuit) and instead presents why quickly digesting carbohydrates are the most likely culprit.

Fundamental to this argument is the tie between heart disease and type 2 diabetes (along with other “disease of civilization” or metabolic syndrome), which are both inextricably linked to carbohydrate consumption. The logical conclusion from his analysis is that all calories are not created equal, despite what we are told daily by the nutrition community and the media. Understanding the logic behind this argument can fundamentally change the way you approach food and is the best reason to read Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Despite this, Taubes’ book is rarely the first I recommend to people who come to me for nutrition advice. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that Good Calories, Bad Calories is not an easy read. I’m a scientist and nutrition data junkie, and this book still took me months to get through (I normally read 4-5 per month). For your average eater, a book like this can quickly become a burden and many people will give up before getting to the good part (about half way through it starts to pick up substantially).

In the first few chapters I was put off by the book’s almost defensive tone. A large part of the first section is dedicated to discrediting the character of a pioneering scientist and father of the dietary fat–heart disease hypothesis, Ancel Keyes. Presumably this depiction is intended as background so the reader understands why Keyes so aggressively disseminates a theory that isn’t fully proven. However, I found the extensive character attack unbecoming for a book espousing science and experimental data, and it seemed unnecessary.

Another reason I resist recommending this book as nutrition advice is that it doesn’t offer much in the way of actual advice. Taubes certainly provides compelling evidence that carbohydrates are best avoided and that dietary fat is safer than presumed, but how much of this knowledge can be translated directly to daily life isn’t clear. For practical advice, I prefer Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food (based largely on the same data).

Scientifically I also have a few issues with Good Calories, Bad Calories. First, the vast majority of the experiments Taubes cites are early diet studies, many from the turn of the century. While these experiments are clearly important, most of them do not reflect long-term (more than 6 months), real life dietary habits. These studies were also almost entirely dependent upon self-reported dietary intake, which is known to be quite inaccurate.

Much of Taubes’ argument about calories is based on the premise that overweight people eat the same amount or less than lean people. This was once thought to be the case, but recently more thorough studies have shown that overweight and obese people do indeed eat more. The problem is that all people (both lean and obese) are poor judges of food intake, and this discrepancy is largest with the biggest meals consumed. This means people who eat the largest meals tend to underestimate their calories the most, and meal size is correlated with body weight.

This does not mean that I disagree entirely with Taubes’ theory on calories. I was more convinced by the rodent studies he presented where dietary intake was tightly controlled and measured. In some of these, obese animals did seem to eat the same or less than leaner animals (always be careful reading too much into rodent data). Interestingly, the difference in body weight was always accounted for by differences in physical activity, a point I find extremely fascinating.

Since mice obviously do not exercise for the purpose of fitting into skinny jeans, the activity differences observed between obese and lean mice is clearly a fundamental change in metabolism (balance of energy use and intake). If this is true and can be manipulated by diet composition rather than voluntary exercise (which causes overeating), as Taubes suggests, this has tremendous implications for treating obesity and disease through selective diets and metabolic manipulation. I think Taubes makes a strong case for this and it is a point that should be taken very seriously by the scientific community.

My final issue with the book is how the data was presented to seemingly support a diet of almost entirely meat and animal products. While Taubes does not come out directly and say “the healthiest diet is 100% meat,” people without a knack for thinking like a scientist can easily come away with this impression (I’ve seen it).

[note: My guess is this is why I get so many emails from people asking me to help them choose between this book and The China Study (click for review), which both come off as scientific but also as diametric opposites. Personally I do not see a huge conflict between the data presented in the two books, but see it as an issue of interpretation. On this point, my vote goes to Taubes for his superior logic and reasoning.]

My own interpretation of the data presented in this book, however, is not that all carbohydrates are the enemy, but rather that quickly digesting (processed) carbs are the real problem. Taubes never refutes this as far as I could tell, though he does glorify meat-based diets (again remember the Inuit) as the best for optimal nutrition, while belittling the case for a balanced diet. But there is an important difference between saying “meat is good” and “all plants are bad,” which he never directly asserts.

Yet many people still take from this book that a protein and fat-based diet is the healthiest option, which is a flawed interpretation. Vegan diets with no animal products whatsoever can be perfectly healthy, as can largely meat-based diets, and that both are perfectly legitimate is a point that is easily forgotten by the end of Good Calories, Bad Calories.

But while the value of eating plants is an important question for the practical implications of Taubes’ theory of calories, it is not fundamental it.

Summary

Taubes’ meticulous research and overly-thorough analysis represent both the strengths and weaknesses of this book. His case for the role of metabolism in health and obesity, and against the dogma that “a calorie is a calorie” is a tremendous contribution to the field of nutrition. However, this depth can make Good Calories, Bad Calories cumbersome and difficult to read.

Final Grade: A

What did you think of Good Calories, Bad Calories?


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37 Responses to “Book Review: Good Calories, Bad Calories”

  1. Steve says:

    Hey Darya,

    Stumbled across your blog via the discussion on Tim Ferriss’s saturated fat post. Figured I’d comment today as I’m currently sluggishly plowing my way through Good Calories, Bad Calories as well. I love to read, generally multiple books a month…but this book is taking me FOREVER to get through. Super informative, thoroughly researched, but good lord is it dense.

    Take care!

    -Steve

  2. Brandon W says:

    I found this book to be extremely enlightening and well-argued. It was recommended to me by my mother, who heard about it from her doctor. After reading it and using the knowledge gained to make diet choices, she has lost over 100 lbs in just over a year. This, while adding only 40 mins of walking on a treadmill, 3 days a week. Also of note is that she has a virtually non-functioning thyroid. She was dangerously overweight and unhealthy, on blood pressure and cholesterol medications. Her BP is now normal and the doctors have taken her off medications for both the high BP and the high cholesterol.

    The point isn’t that this is a “diet” book, or that it’s a miracle cure. I agree wholeheartedly that this is not a how-to book for would-be weight losers. It’s detailed, complicated, and highly academic. But the principles one can take from it, when applied, can be life-changing.

    One area on which I might have some contention with you is that I agree with Taubes’ condemnation of grain-based carbs. I think the science is strong enough to argue that our bodies can’t process it properly, and that it causes damaging insulin spikes. Add to that what we are learning about the damage gluten can do to the body, and I think we have a very strong case for eliminating grains from our diet.

    Personally, I eliminated grains from my diet and added fats back in. I stopped looking for the (expensive!) lean cuts of meat and started eating the fattier (and cheaper!) cuts. I added meat to my morning breakfast. I do still eat a reasonable quantity of vegetables, daily (though I stopped eating potatoes, which I’ve never liked anyway!). I was not overweight to begin with, but lost 5 lbs, my pants fit better, I felt better, and I eliminated a lot of gastrointestinal pain and issues by doing so. I also find that my appetite is much better satiated, for longer periods of time, with the fats back in my diet.

    You’ve done an excellent job of reviewing this book. I think that anyone who wants to seriously examine the human diet and healthy ways to eat should take the time to read it. A much more practical book that is based on the same kinds of principles Taubes discusses is “Natural Health & Weight Loss” by Barry Groves. Be aware that Groves promotes more fats (and fewer vegetables) than I – and you – would. But taken with that little grain of salt, I think it’s a good, practical book.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Thanks for your comment, very insightful! On your point about grains, I think the most important thing to remember is that everyone is a little different (like different mouse genetic models). Some people can survive perfectly fine without grains, and that’s great. Some people actually do gain weight with more fat in the diet. Personally I die a slow and painful death without a small but significant source of intact grains in my diet (that I eat at breakfast). This is why we each need to find our own healthstyle.

      I also don’t think small amount of grains are dangerous to metabolism (especially when unrefined – try chewing on some raw oats, not quickly digesting!), especially people who are very active (I workout 5 days/week, because I enjoy it). But if you’re fine without them it doesn’t matter much.

      Thanks for the book tip, I’ll check it out.

  3. thomas says:

    would never recommend this book because it is too repetitive IMO.
    besides, it’s more of a history book than anything ;)

    in addition: i wouldn’t give an A to a book i wouldn’t recommend, but i guess that’s just me

    • Darya Pino says:

      I actually strongly recommend the book, just not to people I don’t think can stomach it (which is many). It gets an A for being the best and most informative, not for being readable.

  4. Thanks for providing the summary and saving me the reading of it! Have you looked at Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig? I’ve heard a lot about it and am interested to know if the science makes sense.

    • Darya Pinok says:

      I definitely wanted to provide a summary for people who can’t get through it, because the principles are so important. It even took me months to get to this review!

      I haven’t heard of Nourishing Traditions, but I’m always on the hunt for great books so will add it to my list :)

      • MB says:

        I know Nourishing Traditions is a popular book with great stuff but I know that the author’s run the Weston Price Foundation. They have some pretty wild ideas about food (i.e. homemade baby formula). There is some question about whether their research is just a loop of their own writers. Just wondering if you know about them and what you think.

  5. I STILL haven’t finished this book yet. I keep trying, but it’s a little too hardcore for my liberal arts mind. :-)

  6. I’d like everyone on weight watchers to read this book. Maybe there’ll be a sequel: Good Points, Bad Points.

    On the subject of Nourishing Traditions and Sally Fallon – yes, a must read. I find it hard to argue with eating real, traditional food.

  7. Matt Shook says:

    Wow, and I thought the China Study got a little dry! Thanks for the review and summary. I agree with your conclusion regarding avoiding absolutes that the author described. I know plenty of healthy carnivores and unhealthy vegans (and vice versa)…I believe the important thing is to find what “healthstyle” works best for your body/mind and run with it (literally and figuratively). With so many ST subscribers now I believe I’m pretty much preaching to the choir. ;)

  8. I seriously think Taubes deserves a Nobel Prize for this magnum opus – one of the old-school Nobel’s that really meant something. He shook up some things that needed a good shaking.

    My sense is that Taubes favors the Atkins diet, which of course is not 100% meat.

    I don’t recall Taubes in the book addressing the numerous studies on various continents associating fruit and vegetable consumption with lower cancer rates, and whole grain consumption with less coronary heart disease. Sure, those are observational/epidemiologic studies, and not proof of prevention. They can’t be ignored. Then again, the book was already over 600 pages!

    And wouldn’t it be great to see a modern-day version of the Stefansson/Anderson experiment in which they went on a medically supervised all-meat diet for a year? This time, randomize 100 subjects and follow them for 10 years.

    -Steve

  9. By the way, Darya, thanks for all your work writing this review. I can imagine how much time it took. No serious food or medical scientist can igore GCBC, yet it STILL hasn’t been reviewed in major journals like Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

    I can only imagine the Establishment hopes it fades away without fanfare.

  10. Tony K says:

    Hi Darya,

    I’m really glad to see a scientist’s review of GCBC. My own background has given me a pretty good general understanding of science, and it’s good to see that my overall impressions about GCBC and Taubes were pretty accurate.

    Gary Taubes changed (saved) my life. After a bout with gout in 2007, I stumbled across the lecture that he gave at Berkeley. It was the first time I had actually spent any effort understanding the lower carb approach bought GCBC and adjusted my diet. I lost 40 lbs and am in the best health in many years (generally).

    Here are a couple of his lectures. Not as much depth, but much more available.
    Stevens Institute of Technology
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4362041487661765149#

    Berkeley Video that changed my life
    http://webcast.berkeley.edu/event_details.php?webcastid=21216
    A little longer and less-organized, but it ihas a special place in my heart.

    Nice post over at MizFitOnline by the way. I did one for her in 2008.
    http://mizfitonline.com/2008/08/21/food-glorious-food-7/

    I really like your blog and approach.

    Thanks.
    Tony

  11. julie says:

    Generally, anytime anyone brings up Taubes or GCBC, I stop reading, as it’s often a body builder who eats an 80% saturated fat diet, and thinks it’s very healthy. I also find it irritating when someone goes off about insulin and highly processed carbs, yadda yadda, and that’s why a person should never eat fruit. Huh? I think Taubes cherry-picked his studies, as we all do, really. And I agree with you on the self-reporting inaccuracies, and volumes of food people really do eat. I do have to give him credit, though, I am more likely to eat some shrimp or a chicken skewer if I am hungry and need a little snack, and not a bread thing. Thus, I don’t totally disagree with all of what he says, though I feel awful if I don’t eat grains and see no reason to stop. I don’t believe anyone got fat eating fruit (or starchy non-fried vegetables), and I think if the Inuit and Massai had access, they would eat them too.

    • Tim K. says:

      Julie, you’re constructing a strawman argument. Taubes never says you shouldn’t eat fruit. He also doesn’t say you shouldn’t eat grains. His conclusion is that it has NOT been proven that fats are bad for you, not that the corollary HAS been proven. He reiterates this so many times in his book it’s almost irritating!

      The only hard conclusion that Taubes’ book comes to is that processed, refined carbohydrates are likely the cause of the many health issues. Anything else you infer from that is your own bias.

  12. Tim K. says:

    I actually came to a slightly different conclusion after reading Gary’s book.

    The best, most conclusive part of his book is demonstrating that we basically no very, very little about nutrition compared to other sciences. Part of this is that human health is a complex subject, and the other is there are big incentives to pretend you know what you’re doing based on very little evidence because of the complexity of running experiments on people.

    I think it’s safe to say that Gary has found compelling documented examples of very different diets that basically are pretty healthy. From total fat and meat eating, to almost starving okinawans.

    All told, what *I* took away from the book is basically, we don’t know anything. We need to do some *serious* research. All the things we think we know are probably wrong, and based on very poor evidence.

    The other message I take away from this, from reading all of the responses to his book, is that people in the business of doing health research have NO interest in changing the way they do things. Gary’s identified a huge problem with the business of health, and he doesn’t have any answers about how to solve THAT problem. So for the forseeable future, we’re not going to get any answers about what to eat, certainly not in my lifetime.

    So in some ways it is a bit of a relief. Most advice you get about why something is “good” for you is probably just made up. I personally believe I should eat unprocessed, fresh foods in low caloric amounts, much like what Darya suggests here on this blog. But honestly, I have to admit I have no scientific justification for it. It just *feels* right, and maybe I (and Darya) are really only healthier because it’s a really, REALLY good placebo effect. :)

  13. Christina RD says:

    As a dietitian, I have delayed reading this book as what I have heard about it sounded like an extreme, Atkins style approach.

    One of the main reasons Atkins and other low carb diets have declined since the peak in popularity is because they are extreme diets which do not fit with the way people usually enjoy eating. Although they can contribute to significant weight loss as so many foods are restricted, there is a high rate of relapse and dissatisfaction. Most culture’s diets are based around staples of wheat/rice/noodles etc.

    There is not a lot of research on long term use of low carb diets. Short term side effects can include fatigue, constipation, ketone breath, and low mood (carbohydrates are required to move serotonin into the brain). The brain and muscles run on carbohydrate. Low carb diets interfere with athletic performance.

    Anything that does not even touch on the many benefits of the highly nutritious fruit and vegetable food group is suspect. Humans require vitamins and minerals for good health (to avoid rickets, osteoporosis, anemia, etc) and a multivitamin cannot replace the naturally occurring nutrients in these foods. Dairy products contain carbohydrate but are the main source of bone health nutrients in the North American diet.

    Fibre is the component that has been found to be more influential on weight management that percent of carbohydrate, fat, or protein
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/embrace-the-f-word-if-you-want-to-lose-weight/article1385126/

    The dietary reference intake reports have large volumes of data to support them and they recommend the following:
    Protein: Recommended range 10 – 35% of total calories
    Fat: Recommended Range 20 – 35% of total calories for adults and 25-35% of total calories for 14 to 18 year olds.
    Carbohydrate: Recommended range 45-65% of total calories.
    The reports are available on-line to read.

    Regulated health professionals could be more open to information from other sources but in this case as an example, often the entire body of evidence is not reviewed.

    I have read a variety of books and I find I learn something from each. However I most often recommend to my clients books by Leslie Beck, Elizabeth Somer, and Liz Pearson. I have had good feedback from clients about these books.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Thanks for your input! I do think this book is worth reading though. As one of the comments above points out, it is not really a diet book but more a history book. It is meticulously researched and though I tend to agree with you that severe low carb diets are not really an answer for most people, this book did help me step back and think–which is all I can really ask for from a book.

    • Tim K. says:

      Christina – Taube’s book addresses the science that led to each of your assertions in your post – the science that got us all to believe that a balanced diet is important.

      His assertions are that the science was done poorly, and the conclusions we’ve reached are based on very, very few studies which were flawed.

      For example, balanced diet – that was in comparison to a carbs-only diet, the “balance” was to bring meat back into the diet.

      For fiber – the theory was that bulkage helped with feeling full – it doesn’t.

      For vitamins – the theory was based on sailors who got scurvy because they were put on sugar and refined carb diets exclusively, and adding oranges helped them out. Turns out that scurvy can only be induced in people put on very refined carb diets.

      I think you’ll find it fascinating how many gems of wisdom we assume must be true because they “feel right” and seem to make sense, are in fact, not backed up by any correctly done scientific studies.

      That’s the point of the book – the very report you reference in your post is not based on sound science. He has references. Tons of them. Check it out, it’s an eye opener.

  14. Tony K says:

    Hey Christina,

    I was a huge low carb skeptic. I thought that the people who followed Atkins were foolish. Everyone knows the food pyramid, fat makes you fat, cholesterol is bad for you, etc. After all, the government, the newspapers writers, and most dieticians agree.

    I really did follow those guidelines and worked out hard. I could lose about 10 pounds, but always got weak and lethargic when I when I did that.

    I won’t bore you with my whole story. It’s here if you want to read it.
    http://www.emotionsforengineers.com/2008/11/diet-update.html

    In November 2007, I got gout and started researching that. I stumbled across the Taubes lecture that I mentioned above, and for the first time began to get an understanding of what was happening to my body, why I gained an average of 2-3 lbs per year, why my blood readings were bad, and why I got gout.

    I modified my diet and over the course of a year, lost 40 lbs (the first 30 were practically effortless). My blod work has improved a lot. I am an n of 1, but there are lots of people out there just like me.

    Taubes does not present a diet plan. As one of the other commenters noted, it’s really more like a history of nutrition science.

    If you don’t take time to read the book, I recommend you at least take the time to look at one of the lectures I linked to above. I am not sure that Taubes has all of the science right (which he admits), but it opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about health and diet.

    Cheers,
    Tony

  15. Sigrid says:

    The only thing I still couldn’t quite figure out is Taubes’ proposition to do a controlled study in which you put people on 3,000 calories per day, but according to his findings (low carb, high fat). In one of his lectures he would bet you that these people don’t gain weight (or maybe even lose some, I can’t remember).

    this for me is the missing link between Taubes and the cals-in-cals-out principle. Everybody gets along quite well apart from this 3,000-cals-idea.

  16. Great review! I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, but have put it off (I think due to the size of it), but will put back in my “must read soon” list.

    Though I have not yet read the book — I completely agree that all calories are NOT equal. And it is unfortunate that so many in the nutrition community keep touting this. Being healthy, losing or maintaining weight is not simply a matter of calories, fat grams, protein, etc.

    Too many in the nutrition community keep giving us a “formula” (as one RD did in the comment section). There is so much more to being healthy than: “consume X amount/percent of fat/carb/protein, etc per day.” So many other things have to be taken into consideration which is often overlooked.

    Thanks for the great review and I will be reading this book in the near future!

  17. Christina says:

    Hi Dinneen,

    I did not intend in my post to advocate people to follow a formula for healthy eating. Everyone is different, and I agree that many other factors influence overall health than just your eating habits. It is worth noting that the largest body of evidence for general population health is for the ranges of fat/carbs/pro as as listed. These ranges fit a wide variety of healthy eating, from Canada’s food guide, to the Mediterranean diet, to the DASH diet, etc. It is quite flexible. The approach Gary Taubes is promoting is not.

  18. Christina says:

    For suggestions on which nutrition books are worth reading, check out:
    http://www.nutritionsolutions.ca/bookreviews.html

  19. Christina says:

    I’ve discovered that the American Dietetic Association has a comprehensive list of reviews of diet books
    http://www.eatright.org/Media/content.aspx?id=264

    Here is the review of Good Calories Bad Calories.
    http://www.eatright.org/Media/content.aspx?id=10466

    Thought the reviews would be of interest to you Darya and your readers.

  20. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the great review. I have read Gary’s new book and many of his articles. I find that a disturbing number of the book reviews I’ve read for his new book and GC,BC are very poorly written and misrepresent what he is actually saying. For example, Yoni Freedhoff’s review: http://www.weightymatters.ca/2011/01/book-review-gary-taubes-why-we-get-fat.html.

    I respect differences in opinion, but has a writer who has reviewed many books, I expect, at very least, that the reviewer will actually critique the book, and not their own misrepresentations of it.

    Thanks for a great review.

    Jennifer

    • Darya Pino says:

      Sorry you didn’t like Yoni’s review, I actually really respect him as a scientist and obesity researcher. He also mostly agrees with Taubes (a physicist), but just didn’t like the way he over-simplified the science in his manuscript. I haven’t read the new book, but I wouldn’t dismiss Yoni’s review out of hand. He has a lot to contribute to this discussion.

  21. Jennifer says:

    Well, here is a big misrepresentation from his review. Freedhoff states that Taubes is saying: “Carbohydrates make us fat and they do so independently of the first law of thermodynamics.”

    And here: “Why We Get Fat is certainly a book that will appeal to the masses as it pseudo-scientifically preaches that carbs are a magic food and that if you eat almost none of them – the diet he recommends includes 20 grams (less than an ounce) a day – you’ll magically lose weight.”

    Taubes is not pseudo-scientific in his approach, and does not say that any food or effect is “magic.” It’s backed up by science. If Freedhoff does not agree with the science, that’s great. But why not be specific?

    Many people thanked Freedhoff for his review, saying he saved them from wasting their time on Taubes, and it’s unfortunate, because Taubes is worth reading. I have reviewed many books, and the approach of misrepresenting the book you’re reviewing, and then dismissing it, does a disservice to your readers.

    I think Yoni Freedhoff is probably a great doctor. I just get tired of people writing rants and calling them book reviews! [End of MY rant] :-)

    PS, Freedhoff is a family doctor, not a scientist or an obesity researcher.

  22. I generally agree with Jennifer (above). I’ve read Yoni’s blog for a couple years now; it’s educational, entertaining, and nearly always reliable. His recent review of Taubes’s “Why We Get Fat” is the most emotional post I recall.

    It seems to me Yoni lost sight of the reason Taubes wrote WWGF: it’s a distillation of GCBC designed to be more digestible and accessible to the general population. It had to be written so that the average 8th grader could understand it. The heavy-hitting, mind-numbing scientific arguments are in “Good Calories, Bad Calories.”

    Interestingly, I can’t find Yoni’s review of GCBC, if there is one.

    -Steve

  23. jean says:

    I have to second the thumbs up for Nourishing Traditions, and a similar book, The Garden of Eating. And I *love* Dr. Lustig’s video!

    We call our diet produce and protein. We don’t worry about fats. We find that with the large quantities of produce we eat we rarely get too much fatty protein. But we eat them with gusto when we do have them. And we don’t exclude grains entirely, but they are a much smaller part of our diet and are generally whole when we do have them.

    I am thrilled with two shifts that your blog represents for me. One, that real science is getting out – like this book. And two, the sense that the individual has to be in charge of their own health.

    As one who was taught bad nutrition in public schools in the 70s, I know how ingrained bad info can be. Thanks so much for Summer Tomato!

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