Why We Get Fat
And What to Do About It
By Gary Taubes
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307272706, 272pp.)
Publication Date: December 28, 2010
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An eye-opening, myth-shattering examination of what makes us fat, from acclaimed science writer Gary Taubes.
In his New York Times best seller, 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’s 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.
Gary Taubes is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine, and his writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, and Esquire. His work has been included in The Best of the Best American Science Writing (2010), and has received three Science in Society Journalism Awards from the National Association of Science Writers, the only print journalist so recognized. He is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. He lives in Berkeley.
“Well-researched and thoughtful . . . Reconsidering how our diet affects our bodies, how we might modify it to be healthier, and being less harsh with those who struggle with their weight are all worthy goals. Taubes has done us a great service by bringing these issues to the table.”
-Dennis Rosen, The Boston Globe
“Less dense and easier to read [than Good Calories, Bad Calories] but no less revelatory.”
-Jeff Baker, The Oregonian
“Taubes’s critique is so pointed and vociferous that reading him will change the way you look at calories, the food pyramid, and your daily diet.”
“Gary Taubes is a science journalist’s science journalist, who researches topics to the point of obsession—actually, well beyond that point—and never dumbs things down for readers.”
-John Horgan, Scientific American
“Important . . . This excellent book, built on sound research and common sense, contains essential information.”
-Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen
“This brave, paradigm-shifting man uses logic and the primary literature to unhinge the nutritional mantra of the last 80 years.”
“Aggressive . . . An exhaustive investigation.”
-Casey Schwartz, The Daily Beast
“Passionate and urgent . . . Backed by a persuasive amount of detail . . . As an award-winning scientific journalist who spent the past decade rigorously tracking down and assimilating obesity research, he’s uniquely qualified to understand and present the big picture of scientific opinions and results. Despite legions of researchers and billions of government dollars expended, Taubes is the one to painstakingly compile this information, assimilate it, and make it available to the public . . . Taubes does the important and extraordinary work of pulling it all together for us.”
-Karen Bentley, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Clear and accessible . . . Taubes’s conviction alone makes Why We Get Fat well worth considering.”
-Lacey Galbraith, Bookpage
“An enlightening treatise that is meticulously researched yet approachable by all, this will captivate anyone interested in the science of diet and disease.”
-Starred review, Library Journal
“This is the book you can give to people who want to understand the science of why you’re finally losing weight . . . without being hungry and miserable doing it.”
-Tom Naughton, FatHead
“Why We Get Fat is nothing short of tremendous . . . This is a seminal book . . . What if the calories-in/calories-out hypothesis is wrong? What if we’ve spent two generations and billions of dollars re-engineering our food system and altering our eating habits away from fat . . . and making ourselves fatter and unhealthier as a result? That’s what Taubes convincingly argues with clear logic, specific evidence, and brilliant illustrations on every page.”
-John Durant, Hunter-Gatherer
“Compelling . . . Gary Taubes has done it again . . . [Why We Get Fat] takes a hard look at the commonly held belief that the reason why we gain weight is because we consume more calories than we expend and turns it upside down . . . Packed with eye-opening information and elucidating studies.”
-Diets in Review
“This is the book I knew was inside of Good Calories, Bad Calories . . . Why We Get Fat is the book to give to friends, doctors, congressmen, and anyone else who wants to understand the futility of our current nutritional advice . . . Clearly, obviously, succinctly, Taubes shows us how scientific theories that explained obesity as a hormonal rather than moral issue were abandoned during World War II for simplistic theories based on thermodynamics that work in physics, but make no sense when used to describe the behavior of complex biological systems.”