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Old 12-04-2007, 11:18 AM   #1
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Good Calories/Bad Calories

[COLOR="Red"]Hello All... how many of you have read the Gary Taubes book (Good Calories/Bad Calories)? and Did YOU Like It? im considering buying it Today and i would LOVE to know all of your Opinions... PLEASE...
Good AND Bad ... What Did You Think About It...? [/COLOR]
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Old 12-04-2007, 11:33 AM   #2
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I think this will be a valuable purchase no matter what plan you are on. I will purchase it when I'm done with all of my text books I'm studying right now.

The reviews of some here I trust immensely. I say don't wait and spread the word!
The words "Junk Science" are so appropriate for the low fat era and this is the word I'm personally spreading with all that trust my advice in my world....(not just my virtual world)
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for all the links Shelly. I have read some of them, but not most of them. I am on chapter 6. I am really kind of frustrated at this point, becuase now i have no idea what lowers your risk of heart disease. I need to read the rest and I hope there are some answers becuase right now I just have more questions than when I started.
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Old 12-05-2007, 06:47 PM   #5
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Terrific book. Everything else now is BGCBC and AGCBC (Before, After) to me.

Kathleen, what I got from the book is that heart disease, diabetes, cancer obesity, and other "chronic diseases of civilization" were virtually nonexistent in populations that weren't exposed to refined carbs: starches and sugars. The evidence and data supporting this is suprisingly thorough, as missionaries and others around the world during the 18th and 19th centuries documented their surprise at the absence these ailments, and then, late, their onset. I'm oversimplifying, sorry.
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:04 AM   #6
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excellent book

great CHRISTmas gift
I've bought 4 so far.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:53 AM   #7
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[COLOR="DarkGreen"]Just picked it up from the library Saturday, and the prologue is in itself fasinating! I'm taking it with me to OK. later today so I can read on my trip. I am looking forward to reading further.[/COLOR]
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:05 AM   #8
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CBC Radio | Quirks & Quarks | November 17, 2007

This is a CBC Radio interview with Gary Taubes. It was the inspiration for my beginning a low-carb diet. He talks about his book and health benefits of low-carbing. Very inspiring.
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:08 AM   #9
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I highly recommend it. I read it twice. Second time with highlighter and post-it flags in hand.
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:57 AM   #10
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I highly recommend it. I read it twice. Second time with highlighter and post-it flags in hand.
Just finished it a couple weeks ago. I'm thinking about doing this too.

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Old 01-28-2008, 08:29 AM   #11
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I found it helpful to read his epilogue first, so I knew his point of view. Some of the text was a little too intellectual for me , but his research is remarkable.
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:27 AM   #12
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His book really helps me stay on track. I've eaten more meat and less veggies and I'm losing again.
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:14 AM   #13
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I found it helpful to read his epilogue first, so I knew his point of view. Some of the text was a little too intellectual for me , but his research is remarkable.
ITA about the text being much too deep for me in places! There's a lot of good stuff in there, though.
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Old 03-01-2008, 07:44 AM   #14
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A Great Summation of Good Calories/Bad Calories

By the author, Gary Taubes:

As I emerge from this research, certain conclusions seem inescapable to me,
based on the existing knowledge:

1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart
disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.

2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin
secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis - the entire
harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined
the carbohydrates, the greater the negative effect on our health, weight and
well-being.

3. Sugars-sucrose and high fructose corn syrup specifically- are
particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and
glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver
with carbohydrates.

4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined
carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart
disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer,
Alzheimer¹s disease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization.

5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating, and
not sedentary behavior.

6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter, any more
than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending more energy than we
consume does not lead to long-term weight loss: it leads to hunger.

7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance-a disequilibrium- in
the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism. Fat syntheses
and storage exceed the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its
subsequent oxidation. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the
fat tissue reverses this balance.

8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels
are elevated-either chronically or after a meal-we accumulate fat in our fat
tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and us
it for fuel.

9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and
ultimately cause obesity. The fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we
will be.

10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and
decrease the amount of energy expend in metabolism and physical activity.
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Old 04-11-2008, 02:07 AM   #15
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I just finshed reading this yesterday (took me a while, I need to make more time for reading!) It goes up on my list of most important books I've ever read.

I was already a low carb convert of course, but reading this has helped to deepen that committment to low carb, plus given me the "if I never lose another lb, I'm still staying low carb" mindset. I'm a bit preoccupied with the fear of developing Type 2 diabetes at the moment, because someone I know who's my age was diagnosed recently and that got me thinking about it. Sticking with low carb for good has to be the right way to help me prevent that. I hope that one day HFCS will be viewed the way tobacco is now.

The evolutionary argument in DANDR was the thing that convinced me low carb made sense after all, converting me from the usual "you can't live on bacon and burgers, you fools" sceptic that I was before I understood the diet. So reading about the populations who only started showing heart disease, cancer and diabetes after they moved from hunter gatherer diets to "civilised" diets was one of the points that struck home to me most. After all, it's hard to be absolutely certain what humans were eating a hundred thousand or a million years ago. But if you can find populations that do still live a hunter gatherer lifestyle and are healthy, then that's got to give a clue!

I was also fascinated by the part about how in the midst of a widespread famine caused by crop failures, the !Kung bushmen of the Kalahari were perfectly fine, because they ate such a wide range of food they could easily adjust when some of it wasn't available for a while. Meanwhile, people who relied on agricultural products to feed them and their domesticated animals were starving to death.

Definitely makes me agree with Jared Diamond about agriculture being the worst mistake we humans ever made. I've just found that Diamond article, I'm going to print it. And I'll probably go and read Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel again too. I recall that having some non-positive things to say about agriculture. Guns, Germs and Steel is a very good book too, highly recommended.

I wonder what the world would be like if, instead of farmers, we had full time hunter gatherers to supply food to settled populations? Can there be settled populations without agriculture? Hmm. Anyway, that's getting away from the point and probably more towards a story idea.

I talked about GC,BC on my Live Journal last night, and gave a link to the "What if it's all been a big, fat lie?" article which covers the same territory Taubes expands on in the book. Maybe I can convert a few of my friends!

The book is actually called "The Diet Delusion" here in the UK. Possibly to somehow get good vibes from the success of Dawkins "The God Delusion", or maybe there's something else with the GC,BC title. But whatever the reason, it's a good title, because after reading it I can see we've all been deluded for a very long time.
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:17 PM   #16
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Junkfoodmonkey, great post!

I had a similar experience after reading GCBC -- I began to see weight control as just one reason to follow LC, rather than the central one.

In response to your "Can there be settled populations without agriculture?" -- not as far as I know. I don't think there's ever been one. Full-time hunter gatherers supply ing food: intriguing, but I don't see how the environment could support that.

I read Guns, Germs and Steel a few years before I read Atkins. It was in the context of GGS that Atkins made immediate sense to me. I think GGS belongs on every LC thinker's bookshelf. I wonder what Diamond himself makes of LC!
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:29 AM   #17
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Junkfoodmonkey, great post!

I had a similar experience after reading GCBC -- I began to see weight control as just one reason to follow LC, rather than the central one.

In response to your "Can there be settled populations without agriculture?" -- not as far as I know. I don't think there's ever been one. Full-time hunter gatherers supply ing food: intriguing, but I don't see how the environment could support that.

I read Guns, Germs and Steel a few years before I read Atkins. It was in the context of GGS that Atkins made immediate sense to me. I think GGS belongs on every LC thinker's bookshelf. I wonder what Diamond himself makes of LC!
Thanks, Weasel. It would certainly be a very different world if we never invented agriculture, or tried it and rejected it. We couldn't have become so numerous for one. Would we have become so advanced technologically? Hmm, I'm definitely getting all sorts of ideas going on in my head here. How long until NaNoWriMo? There's gotta be a novel in that.

I think I have to read GGS again, as what I've read since will make me see more in it now. I had a similar experience to you when first reading Atkins, in that what I'd read before, especially Dawkins, about evolution and natural selection, primed me to see that the central argument made perfect sense.
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:26 AM   #18
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I love the book it is really well done. It is a little dry at points and he really does his homework. I am about half way through. I think it is a must have for anyone in this country!!!
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:46 AM   #19
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GCBC was why I started low carb living.
My mom had done Atkins and was fairly successful, and while I thought she was a little nuts at the time (I was in high school and thought I knew everything...) I was somewhat favorable to LC. I got into fitness this fall preparing for a triathlon and a lot of the athletes I spoke to were on the Zone. They recommended GCBC and I loved it. Back in HS I read maybe two pages of Atkins' book and gave it back to my mom. Atkins sounds like a salesman with a "miracle diet" that will solve all your problems magically, and while he has many of the same studies and information and support as Taubes does, his *tone* turned me off. Taubes throughout his book refers to scientific method and the ways that scientific studies should be designed (I credit my univeristy stats class for a thorough understanding of how important this is) and his detail and rigorous treatment of the material impressed me. I've looked up many of his citations and done a PubMed search of my own to support his conclusions and decided this is how I need to live my life. The scientific detail was exactly what I needed to be convinced. If you sound like a half baked quack (Atkins), I don't care how valid your points, or how important it is for you to connect with "the layperson," I have a hard time believing that so many brilliant scientists in the mainstream medical community have been hoodwinked by Ancel Keys. GCBC however explains HOW the medical community came to its conclusions and cites his sources as well as goes into extensive detail about the politics involved, as well as the nutritional science to support LC.

I look forward to reading it a second time (as other people stated before I will have my highlighters and sticky notes handy this time).

BTW: after reading GCBC, I finished Atkins' book (swallowing my distaste for his writing style) and have based my LC diet off of his recommendations
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:24 AM   #20
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chelera, I had the same experience when reading Atkins. I had to force myself through the shameless product pimping to get to the real information, but I am glad I read it. I now recommend people read GCBC BEFORE they read any other books...and then I steer them towards Protein Power or Barry Groves.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:28 AM   #21
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I think one of the reasons that I chose Protein Power rather than Atkins was that Atkins seemed to be trying to sell something in every other paragraph (that may have been less of a problem with the earlier versions - I was reading in 2003). It certainly wasn't a problem with GCBC!
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:24 PM   #22
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I started low carb due to a Type II diabetes diagnosis and reading South Beach Diet. I pretty much live on Phase 1.5 - low carb plus some wine and rum and diet coke

I just recently finished reading the book, which I bought after reading the NYT Mag story.

I want to re-read it as I skimmed over parts of it. Overall, I thought it was wonderful.
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Old 11-25-2009, 11:13 PM   #23
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Gary Taubes should win a Nobel Prize for Good Calories, Bad Calories.

This brilliant book deserves much wider currency among physicians, dietitians, nutritionists, and obesity researchers. The epidemic of overweight and obesity over the last 30 years should make us question the reigning theories of obesity treatment and prevention. Taubes questioned those theories and pursued answers wherever the evidence led. He shares in GCBC his eye-opening, even radical, well-reasoned findings.

Ultimately, this tome is an indictment of the reigning scientific community and public nutrition policy-makers of the last four decades. That explains why, two years after publication, this serious, scholarly work has not been reviewed by the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (as of August, 2009).

In Part 1, Taubes examines the scientific evidence for what he calls the fat-cholesterol hypothesis. More commonly known as the diet-heart hypothesis, it's the idea that dietary fat (especially saturated fat) and cholesterol clog heart arteries, causing heart attacks. Taubes finds the evidence unconvincing. He's probably right.

Part 2, The Carbohydrate Hypothesis, revives and older theory from the mid-twentieth cenury that is elsewhere called the Cleave-Yudkin carbohydrate theory of dental and chronic systemic disease. In the carbohydrate theory, high intake of sugary foods, starches, and refined carbhohyrates leads first to dental disease (cavities, gum inflammation, periodontal disease) then, later, to obesity and type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, perhaps even cancer and Alzheimer's Disease. These are, collectively, the "diseases of civilization."

Part 3 tackles obesity and weight regulation. Taubes writes that "...fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance - a dysequilibirium - in the hormonal regulation of adipose [fat] tissue and fat metabolism." Think of the transformation of a skinny 10-year-old girl into a voluptuous young woman. It's not over-eating that leads to curvaceous fat deposits; it's hormonal changes beyond her control. The primary hormonal regulator of fat storage is insulin, per Taubes. Elevated insulin levels lead to storage of food energy as fat. Carbohydrates stimulate insulin secretion and make us fat.

Although it's a brilliant book, by no means do I agree with all Taubes'conclusions. For instance, if carbohydrates cause heart disease, why is glycemic index only very weakly associated with coronary heart disease in men? It's way too early to blame cancer and Alzheimers on carbohydrates. Primitive cultures may not exhibit many of the diseases of civilization because their members die too young. Taubes is clearly an advocate of low-carb eating. Why didn't he directly address the evidence that fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the right amounts are healthy?

I have to give Taubes credit for thinking "outside the box." His search for answers included reviews of esoteric literature and interviews with scientists in the fields of genetics, athropology, public policy, physiologic psychology, and paleontology, to name a few.

Towards the end of the book, Taubes describes a Mediterranean-style or "prudent" diet that is popular these days. After five years of research for his book, he says that whether a very low-carb meat diet is healthier than a prudent diet "... is still anybody's guess."

It's hard for me to set aside numerous observational studies associating health benefits with legumes, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. So my "guess" is that the Mediterranean-style diet is healthier. Perhaps the answer is different for each individual. Heck, maybe the answer is low-carb Mediterranean. Both Taubes and I are prepared to accept either result when we have proof-positive data.

Taubes doesn't base his opinions on late-breaking scientific results. Instead, his research findings mostly span from 1930 to 1980, especially 1940-1960. Once the fat-cholesterol(diet-heart) hypothesis took root around 1960 and blossomed in the 1970s, these data were ignored by the entrenched academics and policy-makers of the day.

To be fair, I've got to mention this is not light reading. A majority of people never read another book after they graduate high school. Of those who do, many (like me) will have to look up the definition of "tautology," "solecism," etc.

I was taught in medical school years ago that "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie." Meaning: if you want to lose excess weight, it doesn't matter if you cut calories from fat, protein, or carbohydrates. I really wonder about that now.

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Old 12-08-2009, 08:54 PM   #24
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This book changed my mentality and got me started on the LC WOE again. I tried Atkins back in 2000, but wasnt' as informed as I am now. Taubes book was icing on the cake for me.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:53 AM   #25
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Sorry to necro a thread, but seriously, if you haven't read this book, you ought to. It could be a difficult read for some people, but just take your time, because it is worth it. Gary Taubes should indeed win a nobel prize for this book. My mother-in-law was reading it a few months ago and said I ought to read it. I got around to it finally, and you know what. It makes me so mad. The thing is, they're still spouting the whole low fat nonsense, and "you're fat because you eat too much" and the press laps it up. They refer to eating low carb as a fad.

We talked about why this was, and we think it has to do with the pharmaceutical industry. I know, a bit on the conspiracy side, but really, if we were all healthy and there was no heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, who would they sell medicine to? XD
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:22 PM   #26
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We talked about why this was, and we think it has to do with the pharmaceutical industry. I know, a bit on the conspiracy side, but really, if we were all healthy and there was no heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, who would they sell medicine to?
It is a conspiracy and money is certainly driving it. Remember, big pharma is for profit not health. The conspiracy is not just a theory and welcome to the forum!
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Old 02-27-2011, 03:36 PM   #27
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Just started reading it a few days ago and am really enjoying the book and I am really enjoying Low Carb Friends. There are a lot of people on here who I am learning a lot from!
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:31 AM   #28
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Excellent book with lots of science behind it. As an engineer it bothers me when folks say "research shows" and there is no citation behind it - like most media/newspaper are apt to do.
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