Friday, October 19, 2007

There's Been An Explosion Of Attention On Gary Taubes, 'Good Calories, Bad Calories'

Three weeks since its release, Good Calories, Bad Calories still hot

I've tried to keep you up-to-date on all the latest news and happenings with the explosive new Gary Taubes book Good Calories, Bad Calories since its triumphant release in late September 2007. This is an invaluable book that anyone involved in health and nutrition field should own a copy of (and distribute to their clients and patients) because the powerfully convincing message it conveys is just too important to be ignored any longer. Thankfully, we have seen some pretty good press for it so far as I noted previously here, here, and here.

In celebration of Gary Taubes MONTH, there's been plenty more activity in promotion of the book that I've found over the past week, so let's share some of that with you now:


On Wednesday, I told you about Gary Taubes appearing on CNN's Larry King Live. It was originally supposed to air on Wednesday, but breaking news pushed that show back to tonight. Interestingly, Taubes said the show was taped on Wednesday and described it as "something of a circus." He told me that Oprah Winfrey's diet guru Dr. Mehmet Oz went off on tangents and did not stick to the subject at hand--Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories book. Tune in for yourself and set your DVR to record this one.

By the way, Taubes added that the best part of the panel interview happens about 25 minutes into the show when Dr. Andrew Weil totally gets it from the perspective of a medical profession. That 5-minute segment "exactly what I would like an intelligent, open-minded physician to take away from my book," Taubes remarked. Don't miss it!


Ever since Good Calories, Bad Calories came out, I've been amazed by the amount of interest from people who have never really looked at low-carb diets seriously. That's one of the most unexpected, but gratifying reasons why this book was so important to livin' la vida low-carb. Once people are armed with the knowledge, they will come to no other conclusion than to at least respect this way of eating.

Here's a really nice comment one such reader sent to me this week:

Dear Jimmy,

My life changed after I read Gary Taubes book 2 weeks ago. Your blog has been very helpful as I navigate the scary low-carb landscape (I have gotten off sugar and refined flour, which given how much of it I used to consume, is a miracle).

I assured him that there was nothing "scary" about low-carb living and to embrace the science that opened his eyes in Gary Taubes' book. Getting past the fat-phobia that has been so ingrained in our heads for a generation is the single-biggest obstacle to the low-carb lifestyle. But it can and MUST be done.


Ingenuity from my readers never ceases to amaze me and what I'm about to share with you is no exception. After reading Good Calories, Bad Calories, an educated gentleman came up with the following heart disease map:

Click on the image to enlarge the map

This map is quite intricate and the creator of it said he will probably work on it some more. But it certainly illustrates the key principles of Taubes' book in a somewhat simplified way. ENJOY!


About a year ago, Amazon added a new feature that allows people to discuss books and the topics found therein with people who visit. I blogged about a thread I started about low-carb and it got quite an enthusiastic response.

Now there's a new one started under the Good Calories, Bad Calories book that asks " Do you think giving this book to my endocrinologist would offend her?" The person named Tiffany is an active low-carber as are several of her family members, but she's concerned about how her doctor will react.

Here's part of what she wrote:

"She is my endocrinologist and I think she is wonderful. I have hypothyroidism and PCOS and low carbing saved my life. She knows that I low carb and has never spoken against it and has seen the incredible impact low carbing has had on me. The thing is, I suspect that she is not a huge low carb fan either. We've never really discussed it before but I do go in every few months for my thyroid and I have been wanting to get her a gift since she has really gone out of her way to help me with a recent problem. I just wonder if she would take it as an insult or trying to tell the 'expert' how to treat diabetics etc. I considered putting the book in as part of a gift basket with some other things so maybe it wouldn't stand out as much but I have no idea what."

Tiffany then solicits suggestions from others, so share yours with her. I did.

"Hey Tiffany, I bet your endocrinologist would absolutely ADORE this book as a gift. It's a meaningful book that is related to her profession and it lays out the evidence for livin' la vida low-carb in a non-threatening, professional manner. She'll appreciate the nearly 200 pages of references in the back that back up everything Gary Taubes wrote in it."

I asked her to keep us informed about how well the gift was received. Others have been similarly supportive, although one person said she should just send the book anonymously. Hey, there's nothing wrong with giving the Taubes book as a gift. After all, he wrote it for people just like the endocrinologist to read and learn the truth.


Taubes has been making the rounds on the interview circuit spreading the message of his new book with everyone he can. In case you missed any of them, then LISTEN NOW:

The People's Pharmacy (Joe and Terry Graedon)
Stop SUGAR SHOCK! (Connie Bennett)
The Brian Lehrer Show (Brian Lehrer-WYNC)
National Public Radio (Madeleine Brand)

Each of these interviews reveals a different angle on Good Calories, Bad Calories, so you'll want to listen to them all. Whether you've read the book or not, these interviews are so informative. Soak it all in!


In addition to his radio and television appearances, Gary Taubes has also enjoyed some exposure in some major newspapers around the country, including this Miami Herald column. In typical fashion, though, the writer of the story brings on a whole lineup of "experts" from the American Heart Association down to dietitians condemning the book. But Taubes says this is simply "compartmentalized" thinking that is so typical of modern nutrition.

This quote is quite illuminating in typical Taubes fashion:

"The simple for 50 years we've been explaining obesity as a behavioral problem when here's this obvious physical disorder explanation. Carbs make us secrete insulin, insulin is driving fat accumulation; you eat less carbs you'll accumulate less fat."

Can we shout this from the mountaintop of every medical and health complex in America?! I like the way Taubes refuses to mince words, even as the "experts" continue lambasting issues like saturated fat consumption. And he remains undaunted.

"The goal is to find reliable knowledge. You can't get there thinking like a public health advocate."

Well, at least not like a traditional one, that is! :)


I came across this post from the "Your Health Educator" blog that acknowledged Taubes has a point in his book when he says that some calories are better to eat than others.

Here's how the author of that blog put it:

"If your 1500 calories are all from burgers and Twinkies in other words, you are screwed."

But she's not buying into his theory about exercise simply making you hungry and says Taubes will not be added to her "list of awesome health gurus" because of it. I know Gary Taubes must be so devastated! NOT!


You wouldn't expect an organization like the Wheat Foods Council to be very friendly to a book like Good Calories, Bad Calories and this blog post doesn't disappoint. Try not to hurl too much when you read what they had to say about the Taubes book. They even quote the infamous Dr. Glenn Gaesser who believes eating lots of carbs is important for weight loss. Riiiiiiiiiiigght!

The following excuse really gets me every time I hear it:

The Dietary Guidelines recognize it is not carbohydrates that make a person gain weight but eating more than the body needs of any food! who says the "Dietary Guidelines" are right? Why doesn't anyone ever ask THAT question? Anyone who believes carbohydrates have no role in obesity or disease by now are either delusional or ignorant. Either state of mind is as unhealthy as a high-carb diet!


Describing Good Calories, Bad Calories as a "book I didn't finish," book reviewer Janice Harayda shared what she thought about it in this blog post. After only reading about 100 pages of the Taubes book, Harayda said there was nothing new to her in it that she didn't already know from other books and columns. While she wasn't necessarily disrespectful about the book as some others have been, I really wish she would have finished the book and shared how this book is NOT the same old, same old. Oh well!


Here's a post from Reason Magazine that asked an interesting series of questions in light of Good Calories, Bad Calories:

Are we condemned to forever swing between these two extremes of nutritional wisdom (low-fat and low-carb)? Is it possible that the boring old advice about a balanced, omnivorous diet is closer to the truth after all? Or maybe it's just the safest course in the face of uncertainty.

I've never liked these either or propositions because that is what got us in the nutritional mess we currently face to begin with. Why not offer BOTH a low-fat and low-carb diet and let people choose their own preference? Sticking with a low-fat diet being the ONLY healthy way to eat is why we are STILL obese and unhealthy. PERIOD!


Finally, we have one of Gary Taubes' journalist colleagues and fellow authors Gina Kolata who gives this rather unenthusiastic thumbs down for Good Calories, Bad Calories. And it's not surprising since Kolata released her shortsighted Rethinking Thin book earlier this year. So her opinions about the "shortcomings" of Taubes and his book are not at all surprising.

To prove just how deeply entrenched she is in convention, Kolata makes the common mistake of blasting away at low-carb diets for a problem they didn't create.

"If low-carbohydrate diets are so wonderful, why is anyone fat? Most people who struggle with their weight have tried these diets and nearly all have regained everything they lost, as they do with other diets. What is the problem?"

Um, WRONG Ms. Kolata! For those people who actually READ THE BOOK, follow low-carb, and KEEP following low-carb like me and many others, we DO lose weight and keep it off forever. The fact that some people may have casually tried livin' la vida low-carb in the past is not the fault of the diet when people don't stick with it.

The problem is people like YOU, Ms. Kolata, who would rather keep pushing the same insane low-fat, low-calorie advice when very clearly decades of failure after failure after failure are proof positive that we should expect more from people claiming to be experts. I suggest you start looking in the mirror for the first to blame.

WHEW! That's a lot of Taubes news this week, but I'm happy to keep you in the know. Let me know if you see anything in the media about Good Calories, Bad Calories or Gary Taubes so I can highlight it here at my blog. And, for heaven's sake, if you haven't got your copy of the book yet, DO IT NOW!

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Blogger Senor Enrique said...

It's Saturday afternoon here in Manila and just caught The Larry King Show, guest-hosted by Joy Behar.

Although I read NY Times' "what if it was all a big fat lie?" years ago, I had no idea Gary Taubes would eventually publishe two books hence.

Right after the show, I googled Gary Taubes and your site came up. I have bookmarked it and will be returning to visit often. You see, I have to lose weight and somehow I feel this is the best way to go.

Thanks Jimmy!

10/19/2007 11:04 PM  
Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

Taubes may eventually receive a Nobel Prize for bringing this message forward. Al Gore did it with major global issues. It took awhile. Gore is not exact but he brought his message to hundreds of millions or billions of people and opened dialog and insight and discussion that will eventually lead to a better understanding of our environment as well as ours and our earths overall health. I wish the same for Taubes.

10/20/2007 5:33 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

The Larry King interview was interesting. Mehmet Oz at least was honest on the point that doctors (including himself) don't really understand the science, though given that, he was certainly eager to push his own viewpoint on what constituted a healthy lifestyle. Jillian from "The Biggest Loser" was quite humorous in her religious fervor for the "exercise more to lose weight" viewpoint. One other point I thought was interesting was when the guests told what they ate during the day. Both Mehmet and Jillian had a lot of supposedly healthy food that was highly processed, whereas if I remember correctly, Gary's was largely whole foods.

10/20/2007 12:55 PM  
Blogger size8jeans said...

Too bad I missed that interview. Is there a transcript somewhere?

My friend ordered the book for me from Amazon. Should be here by the end of the week. I hope it's not boring or too scientific.

10/21/2007 11:30 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Here's the transcript, Victoria:

The book is NOT boring, but the science is laid out in very clear language. We'll be doing a chapter-by-chapter look at this book at my forum starting on October 29th.

10/21/2007 11:41 PM  
Blogger Pot Kettle Black said...

Hey Jimmy,

Thanks for the Taubes interview links. The LKL appearance was a mess. Oz, Behar and Michaels are big cross talkers.

Kolata had to trash GCBC. She and Jane Brody and the rest of the New York Times health staff were pretty thoroughly trashed in the proceedings and since they've been making public health recommendations rather than doing real journalism for the last 20+ years, it's CYA mode (and cover Jane Brody's rising cholesterol, statin use and generally failing health despite extra efforts towards fat removal, salt control, etc).

There was a great response to Mehmet of Oz (since he's clearly from a fantasy world, and not this one) on YouTube by the FoodDude. Oz-ymandius was taken apart. So, since Ornish makes Oz look very mainstream and Oz makes Ornish look more marginal, does that make Oz a bigger enemy of the LC State.

Last thing: On the Either/Or, the thing is, we aren't even at the Either/Or. We're at the My Way or Your Nuts phase of the diet discourse. But your options for rapprochment, are like this:
1- Low Fat/Low Carb (AKA Kimkins deadly diet)
2- Moderation in all things (AKA The Zone, which no one seems able to actually do, probably because of a lack of emphasis on math education in people's youth).

FWIW: we'd probably all be better off it everyone moderated back towards a paleo diet, with cheese and dark chocolate.

10/22/2007 10:56 AM  

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