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Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health Paperback – 1 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 609 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books; Reprint edition (1 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400033462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400033461
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.2 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Gary Taubes, author of Bad Science and Nobel Dreams, is a correspondent for Science magazine. The only print journalist to have won three Science in Society Journalism awards, given by the National Association of Science Writers, he has contributed articles to The Best American Science Writing 2002 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2000 and 2003. He lives with his wife and son in New York City. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Dr. A. DEWITT on 1 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Taubes is considered as THE low carb hero, paving the way for good nutrition, and giving relief to diets such as primal, paleo, atkins and south beach. But not based on his opinion or his own research...based on a thorough, detail, systematic and objective review of literature from the 19th century to today.

I bought this book to learn more about how the low carb diet i have chosen affects my body, and as a teaching/introduction aid to my friends and family to explain why I eat the way I do. i got more than I bargained for, as the message of the book is not 'low carb is great', it is 'why have we been eating the way we have'.

The studies cited in the book examine the causes of obesity, the shift in cultures to the westernised diet, the details of biology such as HDL/LDL cholesterol, and the notions of calories in equals calories out. The book seems as unbiased as a book can be and really presents ideas in a way that let the reader make up their mind.

Its quite a tome to get through because of the number of new ideas in introduces, but I would consider it to be one of the most important books I have ever read, because for me, it confirms that the 'low fat high carb' diet that our government recommends is literally killing some people, and by choosing to eat less refined foods and more good fats I can positively impact my health.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE on 4 May 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the US version of a book published here in the UK as the diet delusion. Although his book did massively well in the US under its original title,for some perverse reason the publishers decided to rename it when it was launched here in the UK. Because of this all the word of mouth and momentum the book had built up in America was lost, and the book is fairly unknown in this country. This is not a 10 easy steps to losing weight book, although you will find Gary Taubes 10 easy steps amongst the 640 pages. This is a science book, detailing in a scientific way why we put on weight and why we fail to lose it. It's written by an excellent science journalist and so is easily accessible to all general readers. The only problem I have with this book is that it's really 2 books. If you have problems with cholesterol read the first half. If you want to lose weight, skip the first half and start the book half way through. This book is for everyone who has tried to lose weight and has failed.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Jim W on 22 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
My aunt bought this book but I decided to give it a read. It has taken immediate effect on my life, thus compelling me to right this review (which is completely out of character). Everything I thought I knew about diet, even from being taught in school, appears to lie on no other foundations than the whims of dogmatic scientists obsessed with being right. It is incredibly well written and often amusing. At points I have found myself in fits at some of the stupid and clever things that scientists have said. If I had one minor complaint it would be that in some cases Taubes will describe in detail the experiments that provided evidence for the carbohydrate hypothesis and merely say that another study did not agree, rather than say what, and how significantly the other study showed. Not to end on a negative note (which would be highly unjust) this is a must read, it could well extend your life as well as being an efficient use of your time. A quick comparison with other diet books I found around the house reveals that this one is far superior, both in the evidence for the conclusions it reaches and the readability of the text.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Van Campen on 28 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
read Good Calories, Bad Calories over several months. This book is incredibly well researched (Gary Taubes says he's spent over fifteen years researching the book), and very well written.

It examines the science behind the "carbohydrate hypothesis." The hypothesis is that excess carbohydrate consumption, specifically sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other refined carbohydrates (e.g. white bread and white rice) is behind the rise in obesity over the last twenty years.

In order to make this argument, Taubes shows how he thinks public health officials got it wrong, leading them to effectively recommend that we eat more carbohydrates (we're replacing the fat we stopped eating with something, usually carbohydrates). This is perhaps the most fascinating part of the book. Taubes documents how a hypothesis (fat raises cholesterol causes heart disease and obesity) that was based primarily on epidemiological studies became the basis of the recommended diet in the United States (and elsewhere in the world). In the tale that Taubes tells, this wasn't because this hypothesis was rigorously tested. The studies designed to test the cholesterol hypothesis were inconclusive. Instead, this was a battle of personalities, with careers and reputations at stake.

Taubes then reviews over a century of research. In doing so, he make a compelling and convincing defence of the carbohydrate hypothesis.

While the book is an impressive work, I had a two small issues with it.

The first is that Taubes effectively portrays some of the scientists mentioned in the book as the villains of the piece. This is not a dispassionate book, and you will leave with an unfavorable impression of a number of scientists.
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