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Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It [Paperback]

Gary Taubes
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 27 2011 Vintage

Building upon his critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, Gary Taubes revisits the urgent question of what’s making us fat—and how we can change.
He reveals the bad nutritional science of the last century—none more damaging or misguided than the “calories-in, calories-out” model of why we get fat—and the good science that has been ignored. He also answers the most persistent questions: Why are some people thin and others fat? What roles do exercise and genetics play in our weight? What foods should we eat, and what foods should we avoid? Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get Fat is an essential guide to nutrition and weight management.

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Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It + Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health + Wheat Belly
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“Taubes stands the received wisdom about diet and exercise on its head.”
The New York Times

“Well-researched and thoughtful. . . . Taubes has done us a great service by bringing these issues to the table.”
The Boston Globe

“Compelling and convincing. . . . Taubes breaks it down for us from historical and, more importantly, scientific perspectives.”
Philadelphia Daily News

“Taubes’s critique is so pointed and vociferous that reading him will change the way you look at calories, the food pyramid, and your daily diet.”
Men’s Journal
“Taubes is a science journalist’s science journalist, who researches topics to the point of obsession—actually, well beyond that point—and never dumbs things down for readers.”
Scientific American
“Important. . . . This excellent book, built on sound research and common sense, contains essential information.”
Tucson Citizen
“This brave, paradigm-shifting man uses logic and the primary literature to unhinge the nutritional mantra of the last eighty years.”
“Less dense and easier to read [than Good Calories, Bad Calories] but no less revelatory.”
The Oregonian
“An exhaustive investigation.”
The Daily Beast
“Backed by a persuasive amount of detail. . . . As an award-winning scientific journalist who spent the past decade rigorously tracking down and assimilating obesity research, he’s uniquely qualified to understand and present the big picture of scientific opinions and results. Despite legions of researchers and billions of government dollars expended, Taubes is the one to painstakingly compile this information, assimilate it, and make it available to the public. . . . Taubes does the important and extraordinary work of pulling it all together for us.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Clear and accessible . . . Taubes’s conviction alone makes Why We Get Fat well worth considering.”
“[Taubes] is helping to reshape the conversation about what makes the American diet so fattening.”
“Taubes is a relentless researcher.”
The Washington Post Book World
“[Taubes’s] major conclusions are somewhat startling yet surprisingly convincing. . . . His writing reflects his passion for scientific truth.”
Chicago Sun-Times

About the Author

Gary Taubes is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and The Best of the Best American Science Writing (2010). He has received three Science in Society Journalism Awards from the National Association of Science Writers, the only print journalist so recognized. He is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. He lives in Oakland.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's All About The Science March 1 2011
You have to approach this book with an open mind. It is purely science based; although it is the author's interpretation of the science. It is very easy to read with short, sweet (pun) chapters. The editing is not the most polished, but it's not a novel. Who really cares if the word fat is overused or there's a few grammar errors.

I see so many negative reviews because it doesn't agree with their own concepts. In fact, objectively speaking, this book attacks this very approach -- that things work because they worked for me and therefore they should for you too. These people haven't read the book, no way, and they are not criticizing the facts, the science. They behave exactly like the current dietary gurus who are too stupid to see it's not working. Because you're a vegan stick person is not proof this isn't valid science -- insulin sensitivity has you covered

Put yourself in one of two camps. Either you look at all the fatties and think they are weak minded slovenly gluttons or you think there's something physiologically wrong with them. If you're in the first group, which btw includes my own doctor, you need to read this book and consider the science. Not because I want to convince you, but because I want you to convince me it's wrong. Don't tell me that CICO isn't valid when you don't even understand that's not what he's saying. If you think it's a personality weakness problem, I have no time for your own mental deficiencies -- read the book before you criticize! If you're in the second group, if you're a frustrated dieter -- all dieters are -- then this book will open up a whole new world of possibilities. Even if you think you know it all, there are ideas here that will make you say "ahhh!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eureka, the solution in a nutshell July 29 2011
By Charlie
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book has totally changed my view of food and what to eat.

It is well written, concise, informative and supports its conclusions with detailed reference sources. Certainly the best book on food and weight control I have ever read. I am over 60 years of age and have tried other weight control regimes with success, however at the expense of feeling hungry most of the time and having to eat things that I don't really like. I now really understand the physiology of all this and realize that it is not simply a matter of calories in and calories out. This has been quite a revelation and has assisted me in focusing on the key elements of weight control.

I am presently reading his other book "good calories, bad calories" which is much more detailed and harder to read. If you want the quick and dirty read "Why we get fat" as is summarizes everything one needs to know in an easy to read and factual manner.

I now eat what I like, am not hungry, feel great and am able to easily keep my weight where I want it to be. Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! Jan. 28 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you haven't read Good Calories, Bad Calories, then this will serve as a good introduction to Gary Taube's survey of the research into diet and nutrition. If you have read GCBC then this still has some new things to offer, especially as GCBC wasn't specifically targeting obesity. Taubes demolishes the calories in/calories out model of obesity with cogent arguments, and brings up some new studies that came out after GCBC. Well worth a read!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep an open mind Jan. 26 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The debate over how we should is not over and we should not accept what we have previously been taught about how to eat. Whenever I talk about eating low-carb I have to deal with years of indoctrination that low-calorie is the way to eat to lose weight. This book and the previous book Good Calories Bad Calories have changed the way I eat. This book explains why after years of teaching that eating fewer calories and exercising, people are getting fatter.

Read this book with an open mind and it may change your life. It is well written and easy to understand. It follows a logical order and any questions you may have as to why we should eat low-carb are answered with convincing scientific research.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Science Writing Jan. 26 2011
This book lays out the basics of the current state of the science of fat metabolism, particularly the role of the insulin hormone in fat accumulation. Through excellent historical critical inquiry, it reveals how public health authorities and nutritionists managed to veer off on the wrong track some 30-50 years ago. Taubes's background was physics (Harvard) and he applies the rigor of sound scientific methodology to an area plagued by unwarranted conclusions derived from ambiguous data to justify public polcy interventions--well meaning interventions based on incomplete knowledge, but incorrect and causing more harm than good. Now there are a lot of vested interests at stake and Taubes's work illicits strong reactions from many (who avoid engaging with the research itself, rejecting the conclusions rather than providing a critique of Taubes's evidence and analysis).

This book is less detailed about the science than Good Calories, Bad Calories, but it is very readable and includes more up-to-date research that supports the themes in the earlier book. My daughter who is in high school and interested in science read Why we get fat in a day with excellent comprehension. Very highly recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Everyone should read this- it's not easy in sections, but your health is worth it
Published 2 months ago by Gregory Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Cuts thru all the BS of the last century.
Published 3 months ago by jeff mann
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very thorough investigation.
Published 3 months ago by Kevin Pedersen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Popular version of " Good calories, bad calories". Important book. Should be read by all dietitians.
Published 3 months ago by gerald roy
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
Gary Taubes has done his research, and proves that the low fat diet causes disease, while eating saturated fats is actually good for you and essential for health.
Published 5 months ago by Ursula Stouffer
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than good calories bad calories
Very dry reading, but better than the Good Calories Bad Calories book. This book tries to "dumb it down" for those of us that are not big into science. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Sheryl
4.0 out of 5 stars great
His theory makes sense and I have lost 8 lbs in the last month. Not an easy read though .
Published 8 months ago by KelD
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting book
Just another book to reinforce low-carb eating lifestyle. Author refers back to Atkins, who started this type of thinking many years ago. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Catherine R. Dunn
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a great big "Thank You" to the author
I am really taking what this book has to say to the bank. I do believe that the author Gary Taubes has figured out the reason for our epidemic of obesity and I for one am going to... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kitchen Bound
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth
I've spent years studying the different hypothesis that Gary talks about in this book. I've already read Good Calories, Bad Calories and I wanted to take a look at his newer... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Eric Gee
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