Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About ItWhy We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

wow, i am not sure what to think.

i am not a scientist of any stripe, nor a nutritionist, don’t know zip about biochemistry… but i thought he made a pretty compelling case.

the gist is: don’t eat carbs in any form. not even vegetable form. because it causes your insulin to spike, which causes you to lay on more fat, particularly abdominal fat. eat all the meat and fats you want. and oh ya, the calories-in/calories-out theory doesn’t work well. so just restricting your consumption will not cause you to lose weight.

i have never been a dieter–i was very lucky to be naturally thin as a rail most of my life–but alas, the older i get, the tubbier i get. and i loathe it! i read a NYT article of Taubes’ and decided it was time to dive in to the seemingly endless stream of food advice.

a couple of things bothered me in this book: Taubes seems to make no distinction between whole-grain and refined foods. like, brown rice vs white rice. yet as i understand it they do have radically different effects on insulin, his black-hatted culprit.

one sentence in the book also lit up every alarm i possess on this subject. in a survey of contemporary hunter-gatherer populations, he reports that those groups “…consumed ‘high amounts’ of animal food. In fact, one in every five of these 229 populations subsisted almost entirely by hunting or fishing.”

what about the other four? what did they eat? how did they fare?

still, i think Taubes makes some pretty good points, stuff that should have some medical attention paid to it. like, why most dieters fail. why exercise is not a cure-all. what happens at the nexus of aging/diet/metabolism/insulin resistance. and best of all, his debunking of the sin/sloth cause of fatness.

for myself? i don’t think i can do a meat/veggie diet (which he ultimately recommends) because i can’t stand to eat that much meat. meat is just kind of gross. but i will take the middle ground: cut out most refined grains (goodbye, bagels!) and sugars, and eat more veg. and enjoy possibly guilt-free bacon again 🙂