Monday, December 10, 2007

A Little More Gary Taubes And A Video You Just Can't Miss

Gary Taubes gave an outstanding talk at UC Berkeley recently

Ever since the September 2007 release of his book Good Calories, Bad Calories, I have tried to keep you up-to-date on all the latest news I can find about Gary Taubes. Although it has slowed down considerably from a few months ago, there was one event in particular that you just can't miss.

It's making the rounds on the Internet right now, but Gary Taubes participated in a televised web cast at the University of California at Berkeley on November 27, 2007 entitled "The Quality of Calories: What Makes Us Fat and Why Nobody Seems to Care." If you can set aside the time to watch this from start to finish, then you will learn more about nutritional science and why it's so whacked out in our society today than anywhere else (he even shares a lot more than what was in Good Calories, Bad Calories). Taubes was brilliant despite being in the midst of the lion's den. THIS IS WELL WORTH WATCHING!!!

And the buzz around this webcast is still raging at places like Dr. Mike Eades' "Health & Nutrition" blog, Seth Roberts' blog (who quotes some rather damning information about the American Heart Association's bias against the Atkins diet!), and the "Heart Cipher" blog, among others. Gary told me that while there were a lot of skeptics in the audience at the beginning of his talk, several of them were open to the idea that carbohydrates play a more important role in weight and health than they realized. That's progress!

Here are a few more news and notes about Gary Taubes and his book:


The company whose namesake is the man who made low-carbohydrate living mainstream interviewed Gary Taubes in their November 2007 newsletter. Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. asked Taubes a series of questions about Good Calories, Bad Calories that you really should read in its entirety. My favorite part of the interview is when Taubes recounts how modern dietary recommendations became the way they did because of a few well-meaning doctors who had their mind set on one singular theory--fat makes you fat:

"I don't believe in conspiracy theories. But these people could not have done more harm or killed the underlying science more effectively had there been some grand conspiracy manipulated by the sugar industry behind the scenes."

I'm no conspiracy theorist either, but it does make you stop and wonder what else they could have done to totally confuse and befuddle the public about what a healthy diet looks like. Up is down and round is square in the world of nutrition these days!


The word is getting out about Good Calories, Bad Calories in no small part because of the enthusiastic response from so many bloggers all across the web. And these aren't just health-related blogs either which shows just how universal this book is regardless of how it may be pigeon-holed by those who disagree with it.

Here's an eclectic list of blogs commenting on Taubes:

- Herself NYC LiveJournal page
- Ashley Anne's "Life Tonic" blog
- The "Eating Disorder Talk" blog
- CrossFit Oakland
- Gretchin Rubin's "The Happiness Project"
- Matt Metzgar's blog
- Ashworth University blog
- Jared Yaple's "From Woodside Court..." blog
- "What? Yeah..." blog
- "Self Help Addicts" blog
- The Complete Running Network
- The "Lose Weight Feel Great" blog
- Slashdot


You might be wondering, "Who is Israel Ramirez and why do I care what he thinks?" Good question. But to Shangri-La Diet author Seth Roberts, who gleaned inspiration from Ramirez for his own book, this man carries a lot of intellectual weight. In this blog post he shared what Ramirez had to say about Taubes' contention that carbohydrate consumption leads to a rise in insulin which causes obesity and disease. Here's a brief snippet from what Ramirez wrote:

"There are clinical trials in people and lab rats showing that high protein, low carbohydrate, diets suppress intake. For people, the effects are modest in the long term, amounting to a few pounds greater loss than for people given a low fat diet at the end of a one year trial. There is some evidence that this weight loss might not be maintained after the first year. Trials showing weight loss on low carbohydrate diets required eating less carbohydrate than that consumed by 99% of lean people."

Is this guy on acid or what? First he describes livin' la vida low-carb as "high-protein" which it is not--it's more high-fat than anything. Then he repeats that all-too-familiar line that low-carb may be better for weight loss, but it's only for one year and not for the long term (how the heck are you supposed to eat beyond that year, hmmm?). But that last sentence takes the proverbial cake--who cares if I eat less carbs than 99% of lean people, Mr. Ramirez. At least I'm maintaining my weight while keeping my health in check! What a dope!


It's been neat to read some of the positive comments people have shared with me after they finished reading Good Calories, Bad Calories. You can tell people have had a light bulb moment and can't wait to share it with me. Here are a couple that were especially moved by the positive message of Taubes' book:

"OMG! I am about 150 pages in to Good Calories, Bad Calories. You're right, not only is it a lot to take it but I find I have to pick my jaw up off of the floor every few pages! It's so intense but fascinating reading.

You know what I love about it? Gary is not a doctor, not a registered dietitian but someone who is an amazing scientific journalist with nothing to gain (not tied to any big companies or pharmaceuticals) and his information is just down right solid research and journalism and that is something you can't ignore nor write off as fluff.

There's a part of me that's rather disturbed, though.

It's sort of like how Phillip Morris turns their back (and gets away with) the connection between cigarettes and cancer. The food manufacturers, nutritionists, etc. really are ignoring the correlation between obesity and "carbage"--this is so amazing to me. This book is really great--thank you for sharing about it on your blog! It's super and very much appreciated."
Dear Jimmy,

I want to thank you for your great blog. I am a happily married 43 year old man, proud father of two, but as I come upon middle age I've wanted to drop these 30 pounds that I have gained over the years. I am 5'11" and my weight over the last several years has fluctuated between 220 and 195 pounds.

For years I have sworn by the fact that a low-fat, high-carb diet has to work and is by far the most healthiest. In that light, I had every book by Dean Ornish. So various times during the year I would get on an exercise and Ornish kick, I would lose some weight, but it didn't seem worth it given the effort and lack of satiety on the Ornish diet. For years I have thought the Atkins diet was a scam! Seriously, how can anyone in their right mind call the Atkins diet healthy, or so I thought.

About a month ago, quite accidentally I saw Gary Taubes on the Larry King show where he was with Dr. Mehmet Oz (I have his books too) and Dr. Weil. I was very impressed with the case that Gary was making. But I just couldn't believe my eyes that our country's obesity epidemic could be correlated with our carb intake and that it wasn't simply an issue of too much fat in the diet. So with some trepidation, I checked out several of Dr. Atkins' books and decided to give Induction a try. The low-carb route is really the only thing I have not tried to get my weight down and improve my blood pressure.

I am on day 10 of the Induction phase and surprisingly I am down 8 pounds as of this morning. My impression is that I have eaten more food than I have ever in the past while being on a diet. However all the critics of the low-carb approach will say that I am simply losing water weight. I will keep it up though.

One concern that I have and would hope you could address this. I have noticed a dramatic increase in the frequency of my urination, especially at night. I am getting up 5-7 times a night to urinate. I am concerned about this, is this too much for my kidneys? It is clearly disturbing my sleep. I want to make an appointment with my urologist for some tests, enlarged prostate, etc. But the dramatic increase in my night time urination correlates with the begining of my my induction.

Is this a normal side effect of induction? Will it go away? Are there things that I can do to address this? Thank you again for the great Blog. You have been a source of great information and an inspiration.

Yes, drinking more water and the release of water stores in your muscles can happen when you start livin' la vida low-carb. That's a VERY GOOD thing to happen and is a positive sign that you are well on your way to being happy and healthy on the low-carb life. KEEP IT UP!!!


I don't know what's gotten into the Ottawa Citizen newspaper lately, but they have published some absolutely fabulous columns on saturated fat being healthy and promoting low-carb diets as a way for their readers to get healthy. AMAZING! They continue this trend with an article entitled "Good Food, Bad Food" which examines what Gary Taubes wrote in Good Calories, Bad Calories to see if it makes sense. A good breakdown of the book is included and I couldn't help but smile when I saw this quote from Taubes referring to our diet now compared with our early human ancestors:

"It's not about what you do eat, it's about what you don't eat. And what you're not eating is what we didn't eat as a species until at the very least 2,000 years ago, and for foods like refined sugar, 200 years ago. I can't imagine how that could be unhealthy."

In other words, if eating a low-carb, high saturated fat diet kept Mr. Caveman lean and healthy all those years, what makes us think in modern society that a high-carb, low-fat diet will suddenly do the trick for us? The answer is IT WON'T! Makes me glad I'm livin' la vida low-carb, baby!

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Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

The government rations that have been distributed to these Western United States Native People since about 1850 and even farther back and into the 1700's on the East Coast, consists mainly of 'wheat flour'(frybread)and 'corn meal' and 'potatoes' and 'beans' and 'rice' for staples. All 'hybrid concentrated carbohydrates'. The same thing is being done today on these reservations. All Americans eat all of these foods non-stop every day. HYBRID CARBOHYDRATES. We unknowingly addicted these people and we have unknowingly addicted ourselves. Sugar/Starch/Carbohydrates = Stimulants/Speed/Drugs -- all -- and this effects the minds and bodies of every one us profoundly.

12/10/2007 10:48 AM  
Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

The reason 'Nobody seems to care" is that we don't want anybody to take away our 'goodies'. We don't want to believe that we are addicted to these foods we love, so we just blow past or acknowledge this fact and then move on. Were not going to let anybody take away our goodies.

12/10/2007 11:01 AM  
Blogger Froilee said...

Loved this blog... I'm day 13 on induction again... and it is so helpful to have your daily blog... I love when I push play and it reads it to me... awesome job... Thanks Jimmy....

12/11/2007 2:32 PM  
Blogger TESS said...

Carbs make a person retain water so if you aren't eating carbs you do tend to go to the bathroom more often. this is one reason why blood pressure goes down some. Cutting carbs is a natural diuretic!

12/11/2007 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You tend to go to the bathroom more often because your body is using its glycogen stores in its muscles and liver. Each glucose unit is bound to two water units so it makes sense that you lose water. I still fail to realise how this is unhealthy. I would have thought that this water lost is not used by the body other than to form glycogen. Its not like you stop drinking water if you don't eat!

The low carb lifestyle is NEVER going to go mainstream. Think of all the money lost by the agricultural industry who built that outdated food pyramid based on grains. Think of all the pharmaceutical companies that will lose billions of dollars when people throw away their Metmorfin and Lipitor down the toilet. Spare a thought for the doctors who have devious affiliations with such companies.

You can see the whole sugar/obesity debate is not only a medical conspiracy but also political. Nations would topple if their grain exports topple.

1/10/2010 1:37 AM  

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