Doctors and dietitians have been recommending a prudent low-fat diet for decades. Now there’s increasing evidence that a low-fat diet, which is necessarily a high-carb diet, may make weight control more difficult. Science writer Gary Taubes has sifted through the data and offers his views on why the usual calories in/calories out mantra is mistaken.
Guest: Gary Taubes is a science writer and author of Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007) and Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It (2011). He is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. His website is www.garytaubes.com/
The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. Podcasts can be downloaded for free for six weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. For a special offer of Gary Taubes’ book plus the CD at $7 off, click here.

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  1. LMF
    Reply

    Five + stars…..
    I have practiced this diet effectively for the last 20 years. You can feel great, enjoy great food, and not have to count calories for the rest of your life while staying fit.
    The science does support this diet. With regard to other cultures’ diets which may also work, well, there’s not necessarily only one diet solution which is effective. For one, note that the Mediterranean diet is also low in sugar.
    Keep on keepin’ on Mr. Taubes….would love it if you would contact Coast to Coast AM to interview with them also as they present several “diet” guests as well.

  2. s;,
    Reply

    The first few weeks of eating low-carb is not a good time to begin an exercise program; your body is shifting from running on carbs to running on fat. I don’t remember if I read this in Atkins or Gary’s books, but it matches my experience.
    After a few weeks of low-carb, I found my energy levels to be much more constant, muscle strength is good, and I never have “the munchies;” hunger might be assuaged with some nuts, an egg, salad, or a bit of cheese. Maybe it’s okay to rethink what is a normal amount of food?

  3. Aisan
    Reply

    There is no sugar in Asia dishes, sauces, or any other meal. Sugar only in food that labeled sweet only and Asian eats very little sweet stuff. In US, hidden sugar appears in everything, even in drug.

  4. Dan
    Reply

    Fascinating interview, however I wish there had been some discussion of the “Mediterranean” diet which has maintained many adherents throughout the modern discussion of diet pro’s and cons. Mr. Taubes touched upon “good” (complex?) carbs vs. “bad” (low glycemic, less processed) carbs – but made no mention of good vs. bad fats.
    I try to follow a diet with limited consumption of “good” carbs balanced with consumption of what I understand to be “good” fats from sources such as nuts, olive oil, salmon, and avocados. I’d love to know what Mr. Taubes (and/or you folks at People’s Pharmacy) would say about this approach.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE’VE LONG ADVOCATED THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET AS ONE HEALTHFUL APPROACH.

  5. Karen
    Reply

    For Ann: As above–formal Atkins is high fat, not high protein. All you need is enough protein. I understand, if you don’t like the mouth feel of meat, there’s not much high fat food that will serve any better. My experience with “vegetables” is that the good ones have low enough calories that they don’t change the overall ratio of my way of eating. Nobody gets fat on kale and collards.
    When Harvard studies “red meat,” it is unlikely that they are able to distinguish between grass-fed and corn-fed beef. Corn fed beef is, chemically, a very different food than grass fed. Bacon, IMO, is a condiment, rather than a meat. It’s far too processed, at least in the form sold in most supermarkets, to be considered a real food.
    Michael Pollan has a lot to say about the actual validity of most long term dietary studies that rely on self-reporting to gauge what people actually ate.
    I would recommend the book Holy S***, available from Amazon (took me three tries to get my review published there because I quoted the title in the review, which is why I’m not spelling it out here) as a discussion of the possible value of meat production to food crops. If the price of gas continues to rise, corn farmers will have to add livestock in order to produce affordable fertilizer to the land. Even now, some meat producers get a higher value from poop than from meat.

  6. Emme
    Reply

    I wonder how whole grain carbs fit in?

  7. RLC
    Reply

    The diet isn’t a high protein diet. It’s a high fat diet.
    If you didn’t adhere to the fat part, it makes a great difference how your body would accept it. Minus the taste and texture issue. I understand completely for not wanting to eat meat based on that. I personally have issues with most cheese based off of taste and texture. If I had to eat cheese for the rest of my life I’d be bummed too. It’s no fun eating something that doesn’t give you pleasure out of it.
    I agree with you on the source of our meat. I believe if what the animal eats is rich in nutrients, will translate to good health for it, which will translate to a healthy source of food for us. Factory farming doesn’t do that.
    I would emphasize incorporating as much of the whole animal as possible into eating. The organs (especially the liver), the bones (great for the broths Taubes mentioned in the interview), the fattiest parts (tongue, brains, tail, belly – for example). Mind you, that the animal is from a good source.

  8. James D
    Reply

    JGS has a good point about “inherited” conditions — sometimes the data is merely a statistical correlation, and sometimes the data is from genetic analysis. Those are two different things, but they’re often lumped together under the “inherited” or “familial” labels. That’s OK when you’re just making an observation, but not OK when you’re talking cause and effect. “Statistics or genetics?” is a good question to ask in an interview.
    You may have inherited a dose of grandma’s genes, but you may also have inherited her recipe for fried chicken and biscuits. Either one, or both, could result in your family having a “tendency” toward high BMI, cholesterol, or what-have-you. This cuts both ways: my mom never deep-fried anything, I never learned how to do it, and I don’t do it today — and unless she develops a taste for KFC, my daughter is likely to “inherit” a familial absence of fried food from her diet.

  9. ebm
    Reply

    Eating a fat free cookie, even a “healthy” one MAKES ME SICK! So does your attack on TPP! People got fatter by the day when fat free foods were pushed by the industry because there was corn syrup and sugar added 10-20% and more salt to put flavor in the products. Even Cheerios have so much salt in them, my mouth stood open I ate them like cookies without milk.
    My partner was cut to 70 carbs/day, his insulin improved, BP went way down and so did his weight. He even cut his simvastatin in half!!!
    I hope you have a long life, maybe you’ll even be healthy YOUR WAY! Good luck. JOE AND TERRY are giving a lot of their time and effort to this site to educate all who want to learn!!!!

  10. ann
    Reply

    Hi,
    I listened to most of the Gary Taubes show, but could not finish because I found it too depressing. I happen to know that I have insulin resistance and a strong genetic family history of diabetes. Why am I not on the Atkins diet? When I give my reasons I am not implying that everyone has my preferences or my circumstances. I do know people who have done well on the Atkins, Eade and Eade and other high protein diets. I think that as a population we may differ both in terms of dietary preferences and in terms of how we feel on particular diets.
    IF I have any point of strong disagreement with Mr. Taube it is with the implication that we all do well on the same diet. Ok. Enough talking around the issues. Here are my very personal problems with high protein diets.
    1. Palatability and the ability to stick to the diet long term. I personally dislike the taste and texture of meat, and I adore fruits and vegetables, so I am at the leading edge of the people who have difficulty with this type of diet. However, I have read that many people have a great deal of difficulty sticking to a diet that eliminates fruits and vegetables on a long-term basis. I actually tried to follow this type of diet twice– once in an attempt to lose weight (I did lose a bit– mainly because I disliked everything I was allowed to eat, causing me to cut back on quantity, but lost more on a balanced diet once I failed on Atkins). I suspect that although this type of diet is harder for me than most, that many people fall off the wagon after a relatively short time. Many of these people go back to whatever they were eating before and gaining back any weight lost.
    The second time I tried the diet I was urged to do so “for life” by a support group for people with insulin resistance. I could not tolerate it then, either, although that time in addition to losing pleasure in eating, I became depressed thinking that I would have to eat food I did not enjoy for the rest of my life. For people whose greatest pleasure is a big plate of steak with no veggies, this may not be an issue, so I am not claiming that everyone feels the same on this issue.
    2. Energy. Although some people report that they feel energized and healthy on high protein diets, just as many report feeling weak, low-energy or even having muscle cramps. This happened to me. Although I kept exercising (I am normally a very active person) I found exercise harder and harder the longer I stayed on Atkins because of fatigue and muscle cramps. Potassium supplements helped somewhat with the latter, but the exercise intolerance alone made me reluctant to stay on Atkins long-term.
    3. Environmental concerns. Meat production takes many more resources per calorie produced and causes more environmental destruction than does the production of vegetarian food sources, Furthermore switching to a higher meat lower vegetable diet encourages the expansion of factory farming, with concomitant poor treatment of animals.
    4. Kidney issues. There is some evidence that people who adhere long-term to high protein diets have a higher incidence of kidney disease than people who eat a more “balanced” diet. I have read only secondary sources on this issue so I am not 100% convinced, but am convinced enough to worry. Apparently the people most likely to get kidney damage while on high protein diets are the very people Gary Taubes is trying to help– i.e. people with either insulin resistance, pre-diabetes or diabetes.
    5. Inconclusive evidence. There are two very divergent ways of thinking on this issue, with credible and well educated people lining up on both sides. I would recommend that Peoples Pharmacy interview someone like Terry Shintani or John Barnard to give the other side of hte issue. Although I believe that vegan diets are also difficult to adhere to (especially the extreme low-fat vegan diet recommended by John Barnard) vegans are the group in the U.S. population who are least likely to become obese, and who have the lowest incidence of diabetes, as well.
    In addition, I just heard a report on National Public Radio that the Harvard School of Public Health released a very large scale epidemiological study indicating that red meat consumption was statistically linked with diabetes, regardless of weight or lifestyle (and yes, thin people do get type II diabetes if their genetic predisposition is strong enough, and this group includes several of my relatives.) They claimed that people who ate large amounts of red meat could reduce their probability of getting diabetes by replacing the red meat with whole grains and other vegetarian sources of protein. High fat meats such as bacon seemed to be particularly problematic.
    Why am I stressing diabetes when most of the population will never get it? Because Gary Taubes’ arguments seem to center around insulin release and insulin resistance– all of which are magnified once people actually get diabetes. Again I have not yet had a chance to read this study. I merely want to indicate that the evidence is not all on one side.
    Although I am strongly on the side of eating vegetables and even (gasp!) fruit in my personal life, having failed miserably on a high protein diet, I am not necessarily recommending that people who have successfully lost weight on high protein diets and who are feeling great give them up. I would merely recommend that they try as much as they can afford to source their meat from responsible sources, and that, perhaps they have their kidney function monitored occasionally. This can be, and often is, part of a regular medical check up, along with other blood work such as a cholesterol check. What I am recommending, however, is that people look carefully at both sides before making long-term lifestyle choices, and that they not beat themselves up if they fail at Atkins or other high protein diets. It has by no means been proven that these are the healthiest diets for everyone.

  11. JGS
    Reply

    Thanks, Joe, for the correction on familial hypercholesterolemia (about 0.2% of the population). I jumped to the conclusion that Mr Taubes was attributing a broader responsibility to genes.
    To clarify what I’m asking, I sometimes wonder if medical commentators attribute causality to genetics when they know that symptoms run in families, but they don’t know the actual mechanics. Families share as many traditions and environmentals and allergies and habits as they do genes. When there are data implicating genes, I would be interested to hear some (not a lot of) specifics and, when it only appears to run in families, I’d rather hear the medical professional admit that he or she doesn’t exactly know why.
    So, just a quick challenge: Q: Which gene? A: Chromosome 19. If there’s time, maybe even, “They aren’t implicated in 99.8% of the population.” It would make a great show just a little greater.

  12. Curtis
    Reply

    I enjoyed the broadcast; but I would challenge most of us to adopt a go-carb lifestyle versus a low-carb diet. A go-carb lifestyle encourages people to learn how to reduce the time allotted for carbohydrate storage in the body. My analogy is that carbohydrates are a close relative that you must see once in awhile, but only in spurts of short visits.
    Once carbohydrates have over-extended their visit – bad things happen. The fact of the matter is carbohydrates aren’t meant to be stored in our bodies for a very long time. We only have enough room in our bodies to store a few hundred grams of carbohydrates. The body wants to burn carbohydrates rather quickly. Exercise, especially anything that requires high intensity movement (sprinting, jumping, lifting weights, getting out of the way of danger…etc…) are the leaders in the eviction of carbohydrates. Again, carbs aren’t meant to sit in our bodies. We are to consume them and use them, they become toxic when they are stored (obesity, diabetes & heart disease). It is as if carbohydrates are speaking to us through these diseases and we are choosing to ignore them.
    I’m not going to dump the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendations because our modern lifestyle makes the quick and efficient use of carbohydrates obsolete. When the AHA recommendation was issued to Americans to reduce fast-food fat intake; easy-access-processed carbs became the “food of choice” for most of us. Take a look in most American cupboards and you will see sugar filled snacks and high glycemic fruits and vegetables such as bananas and carrots. Even our “healthy” food has to be easily accessed and easily consumed.
    It seems as if our problem is time. We want food, and we want it fast. We eat fast, and we want inactivity fast. It’s interesting that we haven’t pursued “speed” when it come to exercise or activity. Fast (or high intensity) exercise or activity will demolish carbohydrate stores.
    I always tell me clients that a high-intensity workout is the best low-carbohydrate diet you can be on. In most cases, walking jogging, swimming, cycling and group fitness are so low in intensity that participants only put a dent in their carbohydrate stores. Getting on treadmill for an hour or two at a low-intensity doesn’t help much in terms of reducing the body’s carbohydrate stores.
    Unfortunately, nature has wired us so our view of eating and exercise are tainted. We view eating as a prerequisite to live, and exercise as an option to expending limited energy reservoirs.
    The Perspective of a Personal Trainer

  13. JGS
    Reply

    I enjoyed and resonated with Gary Taubes’s perspectives. Thank you for the engaging show. Gary Taubes made an offhand comment that some people have high cholesterol due to genetics.
    Joe, had Mr Taubes made a similar offhand comment that some people have high cholesterol due to environmentals or allergies or sleep deprivation, would you have left the statement unchallenged? Whenever you interview a guest who attributes something to genetics, please do us the favor of asking, “Which gene?” If he or she can cite the gene, move ahead, but if he or she doesn’t know but it must be genetic because it runs in families, that’s not science.
    That’s like saying People’s Pharmacy must be a great show because the theme music is written by B J Liederman.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE:
    Dear JGS,
    Yikes…I am somewhat confused. “Familial Hypercholesterolemia” is a well known condition. I can’t think of any physician or scientist who would challenge a statement that “some people have high cholesterol due to genetics.”
    Here is what the NIH has to say on the topic:
    “Familial hypercholesterolemia is a disorder of high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol that is passed down through families, which means it is inherited. The condition begins at birth and can cause heart attacks at an early age…Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder caused by a defect on chromosome 19.”
    We assumed that this was such common knowledge that challenging Gary Taubes on this point was unnecessary. Identifying the specific gene that is responsible also seemed like more information than the average listener needed.
    Please help us understand your discomfort with his statement a bit more clearly. We are missing something.
    Joe

  14. Karen
    Reply

    >only high-protein diets are good.
    No, it’s actually high fat diets that are good. More protein, once you get “enough,” doesn’t add any value.
    Where I live, the fat people aren’t eating fruit. Follow them around the grocery store–it’s all boxed carbs, with SKUs and bar codes. If the only carbs we ate came in items with PLU # instead, we wouldn’t be as fat as we are, collectively.
    >fatty meats give me terrible heartburn
    Quit eating anything with gluten for a few days, then try high fat. Wheat is what drives my heartburn, and lots of Atkins eaters will tell you their heartburn goes away completely when they quit eating flour.
    >Each trainee had no energy to exercise and quit working out after only a few sessions.
    Workout stamina comes back in a bit longer than your clients are giving it. Suspect your clients quit working out because it was easier to quit than to defend a way of eating that promoted weight loss in the face of skepticism. There’s a market for PTs who can figure out how to help low carb eaters work out, rather than trying to convince them that low cal, low fat is the answer.
    >Taubes completely ignores research that has proven a plant-based diet reduces cholesterol and cancer growth. Meat and dairy are harmful. The Atkin’s Diet is NOT a healthy diet. Vegetables and whole grains, which Taube ignores, should be the center of a healthy diet.
    You can eat a ton of kale and leafy greens on Atkins. Whole grains aren’t good for an awful lot of people who can’t process gluten.
    >a lot of obese people will respond favorably to being told not to exercise, not to eat fruit, and consume all the bacon they want.”
    As long as they abstain from all refined carbs, they’ll probably be just fine, too. At the very least, they’ll be in no worse shape than they are today.
    Ever since Newton, we’ve understood the “clockwork” of planetary orbits; modern cosmologists make confident inferences about what happens billions of light years away. In contrast, scientists still can’t agree on what food is good for us. There is a real sense in which dietetics is harder than cosmology. (Sir Martin Rees)

  15. Julianna
    Reply

    Low carb definitely works in conjunction with understanding the emotional reasons we eat.
    I’ve been Type II diabetic for 25 years after a youth filled with Ding Dongs, Twinkies, Hostess Apple Pies and white bread. I was overweight when I was diagnosed at 21 then lost a bunch of weight working at a tough job. The weight would go up, then down 20 pounds or so several times over the next 10 years, with little time spent in the normal BMI range (I was mostly overweight) until I got serious about my food addiction, Atkins and physical activity.
    I dropped 20 pounds in 2003 (after which my cholesterol, blood sugar and bp were amazing) and have had one 10 pound gain/loss since. I’ve been on the low side of normal BMI consistently for the longest time in my life now. I watch portion control (I eat small amounts multiple times a day) and glycemic load of foods including fruits and veggies, and occasionally have the small piece of cake at a celebration or splurge on bites of my favorite Gorgonzola pasta and bread at a lovely Italian restaurant.
    I don’t miss the carbs. I don’t crave them.

  16. SMW
    Reply

    I did listen to this show, but did not hear anything new.
    I have tried lots of so called DIETS, but have found for me just eating smaller portions and only eating when hungry, I lost 18 LBS.
    It’s my opinion, people today in this culture just eat way too much.

  17. Gail D.
    Reply

    I have been studying nutrition as a hobby since the 1970’s. Even Adelle Davis back then talked about the dangers of highly refined white flour, rice , pasta, etc.., however she died of cancer. My husband and I tried a low glycemic diet for years, and didn’t lose a pound.
    It wasn’t until last year when I saw Dr. Neal Bernard on PBS that I started cutting down on the amount of animal protein we were eating, adding vegan protein such as beans, tofu and seitan to our diet. We also lowered the amount of fat we were eating. Instead of pouring on the olive oil we cut it down to a teaspoon on a salad, for example. We also started exercising more.
    I had been a complete couch potato and now walk about 10-15 minutes per day. My husband with metabolic syndrome, ie high cholesterol, overweight with diabetes, who had always gone swimming for about an hour every day, began doing exercises at the gym in addition to swimming. We have both lost weight without feeling hungry.
    However, my big concern about Dr. Taube’s diet is that he doesn’t talk about the quality of the food one eats, nor does he discuss eating for optimum health, which is the real goal for all of us. For example , I try to eat as much organic, local food as I can find and afford. I eat only grass fed beef, but we only eat it once or twice a month. We eat only free range chickens and their eggs. I don’t want pesticides running through my veins. I now eat only whole grains, bread, rice, pasta, pearl barley, quinoa, millet, etc. I also try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can enjoy cooking and eating each day. I agree that low -glycemic is better, but by itself, it’s not enough.

  18. MP
    Reply

    Warren – I applaud your being open to another solution. Yes, I too was worried about eating more fat. Remember – it’s only worrisome because you and I have been brainwashed by the media, the medical establishment, and the drug companies for 50 years that fat is ‘bad’ for you. As Gary has more than demonstrated, nothing could be further from the truth. Good luck.

  19. Clare
    Reply

    I am appalled with Gary Taubes suggestion that fruits make people fat. I live in the mountains in Western Virginia. There are many fat people here. Many of them never have fresh fruit. One reason it’s too expensive. So, they are not overweight because of too many fruit calories. I suspect if they ate fruit instead of other processed items they would be far lighter.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE:
    You might want to go back and listen to the part of the show that dealt with fruit.
    Gary Taubes suggested that people with a weight problem might want to be cautious about fruit consumption. That is because of the sugar content of many fruits.
    He did not say that fruit makes everyone fat. He repeatedly stated that the culprit is sugar and highly refined carbohydrates. Please do listen again so you can clarify this for yourself.

  20. HJL
    Reply

    I can’t get TPP live, so I just heard the podcast. I heard it after reading the comments and was surprised by the misstatements in the comments.
    1. Never said don’t exercise.
    2. Never said eat all the bacon you want and never said could eat all the protein and fat you want.
    3. Did say that certain studies did tell people they could eat as much as they wanted if limited carbs and these studies demonstrated better weight loss.
    4. Suggested that if you are predisposed to gain weight, that fruits may not be a good food choice for you. Never said all people shouldn’t eat fruit.
    5. Suggested that the real culprit for metabolic syndrome may be sugar and fructose and explained that fructose is digested in liver which then gets fat deposits in the liver which may cause insulin resistance. Therefore, fruit may not be a good food source for anyone.
    My comment: all the vegans who commented are basically agreeing with Taubes since they are eating no processed foods, little sugar and minimizing the effect of eating fruit by eating it with foods that slow digestion and therefore minimize the insulin rush.

  21. Marti V.
    Reply

    I had every intention of getting up early Sat. to start my day but your interview with Gary Taubes had me glued to the radio. I have a couple of low carb cook books and the 2001 revision of Atkin’s book, but have never been able to buy into the whole concept. Mr. Taubes sound reasoning and scientific explanations have got me interested to once again start this method of eating. I’m going to swing into it more easily this time by omitting all overt sugar and sweets.
    My diet is pretty healthy already but I enjoy fruit and red wine and the thought of life without ever having another biscuit is pretty bad. The problem with this way of eating is that it seems so absolute, that there can be no modifications.
    If I miss the show I download it to listen to at a later time and always enjoy your guests.
    Marti V.

  22. MC
    Reply

    Thanks for this very informative program. I am a scientist who studies liver metabolism and can attest that Mr. Taubes is on firm scientific ground with his explanations of the role of carbs (especially fructose) on how the body responds. I have also adopted a mostly low carb diet and it resulted in substantial weight loss and correction of my plasma lipid profile.
    One misrepresentation that has been repeated in several of the critical comments- these diets do NOT recommend dispensing with exercise. In fact, many if not most include a combination of resistance and cardiovascular exercise as part of the program.
    At 61 on a mostly low carb diet I compete in distance running and bicycling events and maintain a body fat level of about 13% and am healthier than I have ever been.
    One caveat, though. If you are an athlete you will likely need to incorporate more carbs in your diet. You need the calories. Just stay away from sugar.

  23. RW
    Reply

    The low carb argument makes a lot of sense to me, but I have a sensitive stomach and fatty meats give me terrible heartburn. Any suggestions for folks like me who want to eat low carb, but who have a hard time with rich foods?

  24. steeleye1
    Reply

    Tony T’s link goes to what looks like a glorified Web site blog. don’t be fooled by sites that pretend to be something they’re not.

  25. ETW
    Reply

    We were advised to begin a “South Beach” type diet to combat insulin resistance in a family member in March. We all have lost weight and felt much healthier. There are entire aisles of the grocery store we don’t even need to go down, because they contain processed and refined foods. I was initially skeptical about eating a higher fat diet, but we have all lost weight, particularly in our mid-sections. And, when we have gone out to eat and indulged in high MSG and/or fried foods, we quickly regret it because we don’t feel well, which recalls one of Michael Pollan’s food rules about remembering how you felt after you ate something.
    This “Why We Get Fat” information IS entirely contrary to the American Heart Association’s decades of advice, but you have to keep in mind the thin evidence that was based on, and in the meantime, the health of Americans has declined. Big Food with it’s “value-added” products in all of those grocery aisles, is also part of the problem, and we are bombarded with their marketing.
    Thank you for bringing out further scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of this lifestyle.

  26. JY
    Reply

    With no risk factors and at a healthy weight, I was diagnosed with cancer five years ago. After treatment, I followed The Cancer Project’s (PCRM) vegetarian diet. My protein sources changed to legumes and “healthy whole grains”, and my weight ballooned 60 pounds. One year ago I returned to a lower carb, higher meat protein diet as recommended by Gary Taubes and Dr. Westman, and have lost 45 of those pounds.
    Recent studies indicate that it is important to keep insulin levels low for cancer prevention; difficult to achieve with those “healthy whole grains”. I have always eaten vegetables and low sugar berries, both good sources of phytochemicals and minerals. And I continue to enjoy them on a low carb, Paleo diet, while avoiding all added sugars and grains. The “all bacon argument” is getting old, that is not low carb.
    The grains and legumes, not found in traditional diets, can contribute to increased insulin and are nutritionally empty compared to meat, fish and vegetables. The vegan diet recommended by the PCRM and Campbell may turn out to be what promotes cancer, not protect from it. Taubes’ recent article in the NYT, Is Sugar Toxic?, summarizes the concerns about the cancer and insulin (carbohydrate) connection. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html
    Thank you for having Gary Taubes on the show, an excellent interview. Your listeners can learn much to improve their health from his book if it is read with an open mind.

  27. steeleye1
    Reply

    It is exhausting trying to explain to people that fat does not make you FAT. Telling them that not only is “fat” an essential macro molecule that our body requires to sustain itself in a healthy way; it is used in making cells, which are then stuffed with “sugar” which actually makes us FAT. The only reason a low fat diet might seem like its working at first is because restricting fat will cause the body to shift gears in how it stores the sugar, because it is running out of building block to make cells.
    Now we have tons of sugar running around in our blood and the pancreas is going nuts with the insulin and the cells receptors are like: oh no you’re not shoving more “energy” in us, we’ll just shut down these receptors (so you feel tired after a meal because the cell is not letting the energy in) and now the body is like, well what am I supposed to do with all this sugar? I guess I’ll just store it in the fat-cells that I already have made, because I’m not letting it go, we may not have anything to eat for another month (because that’s how the body thinks). So yeah, it’s complicated and the average American person doesn’t seem to be able to handle complicated. They want something easy, like: oh, Fat = fat, well sorry, it’s just not that simple.
    So people get hung up on the word “FAT”. I think in order for people to “get it” we need to change the words to something else. What those words would be… I have no idea; I’m not a word smith. But I can see that the confusion for the average American comes because the two words Fat and Fat are the same but they are not REALLY referring to the same thing. And no I don’t have any degrees in this stuff, I just listen and learn and comprehend what is actually going on, I don’t take things on blind faith and if something doesn’t work the way Dr. or the Preacher says it’s supposed to work I don’t accept it anyway, because they’re human just like me and we’re all capable of making mistakes.
    What makes us smart is how we deal with those mistakes; by going out and making more observations, drawing new conclusions, and testing them. It is an ongoing process. So when I read a response like “Er, no it isn’t.” or “This guest made me ill.” or “Question: How does a vegetarian adapt to the Atkins diet?”. I know that I’m still seeing the average American who doesn’t want to think for themselves and I feel exhausted.
    PS: I really enjoyed this show.

  28. MT
    Reply

    I agree with LH. I lost 70 pounds on Atkins diet, kept it off for years, while gradually increasing the carbohydrates (have you been to the grocery store lately? 95% of food there is high carb/sugar). So the weight kept creeping back, despite intensive exercising.
    This spring I restricted carbs again, and lost 25 pounds so far, still 20 to go to get to my lowest point from 10 years ago. I am a big supporter of this diet. Exercise is great and very important, but it is not the way to lose weight.

  29. DrZhou
    Reply

    The show is terrific; I love it, not because everything Gary said was correct, but the fact that he is opening up people’s mind to ideas that might not be the most popular and ‘scientifically’ accepted. The research on obesity along with all the controversies are far from over. In fact, it is just starting, so I am not going to claim myself as an expert to tell you what is right and wrong. However, I do have a few words to say regarding the points expressed in the show:
    1. Regarding the claim that Chinese (or Asians for that matter) eat a lot of rice and other carbs, but never gain weight, it is just a perception. The reality is that the Chinese ARE gaining a lot of weight now. In fact, obesity among the teenagers has been reported as one of the major problems facing Chinese students now. I have visited China every summer for the past 8 years and have seen Chinese getting bigger and bigger in their waist. I gain weight too in China. My take on this is as follows:
    a. Chinese are eating more and more. Food is plenty in today’s China as compared to 20-30 years ago (I was in China at that time). In those days, food was typically rationed since there was a shortage of food. When you are worrying where is the next meal coming from, you don’t gain weight.
    b. Chinese are not walking or moving as much as they used to. China has become the biggest automobile market in the world. Instead of walking, people are driving in their cars. Instead of bicycling, people are using public transportation which is amply provided in China.
    c. people are not only eating more, but faster too. There is considerable medical literature to suggest that fast eaters tend to be fatter. The pace of life has accelerated due to the social changes and work pressures.
    To sum up. based on my personal experience and observations, if you follow the following advise which is based on the above discussion, you will lose or be able to manage your weight. 1. control the PORTION of each meal and the total intake of food each day. 2. do not sit down after the meal, but move around after the meal (exercise lightly after the meal) and 3. take your time to eat, as my mother used to tell me “you work like a slave, but eat like a king”. Try to enjoy your meal.
    2. Regarding the role of the salt. Over the past 20 years, I have defended the consumption of salt, entering into countless arguments with people who insisted that salt contributes to high blood pressure. I don’t believe it is a factor at all. In fact, I argue that lack of salt can contribute to obesity which can contribute to high blood pressure. I am a very heavy salt consumer, but my blood pressure has remained almost perfect according to my family doctor. In fact, it is so consistent that the nurse in my family doctor’s office jokingly told me that she didn’t need to take my blood pressure for each visit. My personal experience tells me that if I don’t eat enough salt, I feel weak and tire easily.

  30. Paul G.
    Reply

    Hi, In Biochemistry in college, we had to complete an experiment on alpha amylase, ptylin, that involved measuring its turnover number in forming glucose from starch. One person ran the experiment 3 times and got zero for his answer. His body is missing the gene for ptylin and he can eat and eat and eat and still remain skinny like the Chinese, maybe that’s the answer why the Chinese remain skinny, maybe not.
    In regards to salt, we are all halogen technology. Halogens, F, Cl, etc work by repelling water and also by an electron hopping mechanism. Their concentration is a graded one. It means too much is wrong and too little is wrong, but just right is good. Hydrocholoric acid, hydrogen chloride, does the same thing as sodium chloride, so it’s not the sodium but it is the chloride concentration that’s important. No one in medicine ran the HCl series and you have to do that to understand how it works. pg1246 o&o

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