It’s Friday again, which means I’m writing about another person I’m a fan of. Said another way: I’m writing about a person of whom I’m a fan. (There’s just no good way to write that sentence.) But you get the point – every Friday I rave about someone or something I love. All because I want to share more awesomeness with you.
Today I’m raving about Gary Taubes.
Gary Taubes is a true science geek. He writes big heavy thick books that have hundreds of footnotes. His writing is very very dense.
And very very important.
Gary spent 5 years researching and writing the book Good Calories, Bad Calories. This book goes back in time to examine the last 100 years of nutrition science to uncover the ground truths about nutrition science. And the conclusions that Gary comes to fundamentally challenge several commonly held assumptions about nutrition. One such myth: a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.
Gary doesn’t advocate or sell any diet plan. He doesn’t own stock in any food companies and he has no product to sell, other than his book. Instead of testing/validating any specific theories about nutrition, he set out to investigate: what is the absolute truth about nutrition?
* He found that all calories are not equal in how they affect our body. Protein, fat and carbohydrates impact our metabolism in very different ways.
* He found that refined carbohydrate intake is positively correlated around the globe with 3 first world diseases: cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
* He found that obesity is primarily a metabolic disease. The disease causes the obesity and overweight people frequently eat less than thinner people.
Here’s what I love about Gary’s writing: he is 100% singularly focused on finding the truth about nutrition, regardless of who disagrees. He has the rigorous mind of a scientist and he manages to write about science in a way everyone can understand. He tells stories about the science in narratives you can follow. Yes, you have to weed through a lot of footnotes and references but it’s all easy to track and it’s all worthwhile. And it’s all very important information.
If you would like to become healthier, fitter, have more energy, or lose weight, this is the 1 single book I would recommend. Not because it prescribes a diet, but because it’s important for everyone to understand the real science behind our nutrition assumptions.
This book will make you think and it will make you think twice about everything you eat.
But if you just don’t have the patience to read a 640 page book, well then there is another option for you.
A few years after publishing this ground breaking book, Gary Taubes took mercy on those people with a short attention span, and he published the “shorter lighter version” of his original book. The shorter book is called Why We Get Fat and it is the abbreviated version. It still covers the same topics, but in less depth and with fewer footnotes. It’s only 288 pages.
And if you’d just like to get your feet wet with Gary Taubes, here is the link to his original article in The New York Times in 2001 that kick-started his book. This will give you some basic insights into the fallacies of nutrition science.
The fact is there are zillions of nutrition studies happening every year. Unfortunately, the science behind many of them is often faulty. The conclusions are questionable.
And yet with the obesity epidemic we are facing today, we must unravel the science. We must understand the truth about nutrition in order to become healthier.
It’s only our lives that are at stake.