Why Fat Science is Fuzzy | Gary Taubes’ New Book

Posted on July 24, 2011


It’s extraordinarily simple why we get fat. Or is it? Researches & the companies that pay those researchers would prefer you think it’s a large problem with 1 single answer. “Americans’ get fat because of carbs!” “It’s because of fat!” “Fatness is linked to a gene!” “Fatness is linked to calories in/calories out!” There’s enough (ahem, ‘paid-for’) research out there to make your head spin. No wonder most people don’t know heads from tails about how to be healthy & fit anymore.

If you’re not in a health & wellness field, you may not know who Gary Taubes is. He did have a major book publication that made it to the mainstream best-sellers’ lists called Good Calories, Bad Calories that you may have caught however. If not, he’s got a follow-up, Why We Get Fat & What To Do About It . I was reading a great summary of the book from Gray Cook’s (a true innovator in Movement Science, which is what I use day in and day out with my clients) perspective & wanted to share the highlights with you.

Here is the “why we get fat logic” in a nutshell.

  • If you are not as lean as you want or need to be, what you are currently doing does not work.
  • Therefore you should change something.
  • Your first changes should be deletions, not additions.
  • Once all responsible and logical deletions are managed, add some stuff if needed.

In the case of why we get fat, the absolute deletions should be all refined sugars, most all starches and liquid calories. You might say, “OUCH! Not going happen!” And you’d be just like a toddler whining & moaning when you try to take the pacifier away…essentially, a brat.

Yep, we’re all a bit bratty when someone tells us we need to change what we’re currently doing for the sake of improving ourselves. Gray says, “Our society has grown up with habitual comfort on daily soft drinks and desserts, two things that were once reserved for special occasions and before that nonexistent. Some say giving up the sweet stuff seems almost un-American. Personally, I think childhood obesity and constantly lowering military physical intake standards are un-American. However that’s just me and I’m not running for office, so I’ll just leave it at that.”

“My point is that the solution to fat is simple in most cases, and it’s been overcomplicated to the point of absurdity. Delete foods that can potentially cause insulin fluctuations before you try to add any new diet foods or modify your exercises.”

See my articles on inflammatory foods here, and here. Careful, you could spend hours in those stacks of articles. You may become a changed person the farther you get into them.

If you’re willing to dive into Taubes’ tomes, go for it! But far too many people read books about how to change, then never implement those things they’ve read. Instead, search around this site, do some brief reading then go implement what you’ve read. Recipes, workouts, ways to grocery shop – it’s all in the archives on this site. Just DO something based on what you read! Don’t just read & then forget.

Did you know it takes several introductions of a new food to a child for them to develop a concrete palette for it? It’s going to take repeated efforts on your part to develop a taste for certain foods, especially if you’re addicted to the salt-fat-sugar layering technique of all junk/processed foods. Same goes for new exercise habits. Give new healthy habits a fair shake & do them for 30 days, then re-assess.

Mainstream marketers (including the scientists & doctors who are paid to come to a certain conclusion) want you to buy their product. So of course whatever they’re pitching is going to be ‘the next great health tool!’

One final reminder from food & cultural influencer, Michael Pollan: “If it needs to tell you on the label why it’s good for you…it’s probably not good for you. Food that is truly food (not a food-like product) doesn’t need healthy banners splayed across their fronts or million-dollar marketing campaigns to push their product.”

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