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170 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know about diet, exercise, and losing weight
After several decades of complete confusion - thanks to the bumbling incompetence of the scientific community and our government masters - I am now beginning to understand the relevant aspects of human metabolism, through reading Gary Taubes' groundbreaking book "The Diet Delusion". Not only do I now know that your body weight does not depend purely on how many calories...
Published on 19 Mar 2009 by T. D. Welsh

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the feint hearted
This book is very hard going, repetitive, not for the feint hearted. The style is not to the point or succinct. I had to read, and re read much of it often as the author gets lost in his desire to enlighten us. It could be much shorter if set out better and so much easier to read and understand.

I agree with the content, I trained in Food Science, Nutrition and...
Published 5 months ago by S. Wills


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 4 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Diet Delusion (Paperback)
This is the best piece of research I have read since leaving university and I work in the field.
Beautifully and timeconsumingly researched over several years, this is an extremely comprehensive and well thought through selection overwritten to provide an extremely good read. I was unable to put it down for the 10 hours it took to skim it, and I am still working through the material at the moment.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Calories, Bad Calories, 4 May 2010
By 
Kindle Customer (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Diet Delusion (Paperback)
This book did massively well in the US under its original title "Good Calories, Bad Calories", but 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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This guy is incredible! Finally the truth about what really makes us fat and its not what you've been told!, 9 Mar 2010
This review is from: The Diet Delusion (Paperback)
Gary Taubes seems to have hit the nail on the diet head! This man is probably not well liked among those who fancy themselves as 'diet gurus' because he tells the truth which is the opposite of what nonsense they are peddling. Get this book if you want to know how the body really deals with food, carbs in particular, but especially sugar and how eating a certain way will make you healthy again! Read this book and learn the truth about what will make you healthy again!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last a book on nutrition that is based on science!, 2 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. Simon P. Whyatt (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Diet Delusion (Paperback)
This is not your typical diet book. In fact, if you are looking to loose weight/get healthy then this book alone is probably not going to help (I'd recommend buying the Paleo diet or Protein Power), but it is still definitely worth reading.

The field of nutrition is full of misinformation/conflicting viewpoints - Should we be eating a low fat diet with plenty of wholegrains, avoiding eggs and red meat for fear of heart disease, or should we be cutting out carbs and ditching the margarine in favour of good old fashioned butter?

Unfortunately most books on diet and nutrition seem to be based mainly on personal opinion and conjecture (or a catchy gimmick). The diet delusion on the other hand actually looks at the available scientific evidence and to a large extent allows you to draw your own conclusions.

Through personal experimentation and experience, plus a bit of common-sense I came to the conclusion some time ago that saturated fat is not the enemy, and that the key to health and a good physique is cutting out starch and sugar and following a diet similar to that of our hunter gatherer ancestors. It has long been a puzzle to me however, where this myth of healthy wholegrains and evil fats ever came from. The diet delusion answers this question, and its fairly shocking!

A fascinating (though fairly heavy) read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be compulsory reading world-wide, 21 July 2009
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This review is from: The Diet Delusion (Paperback)
What a brilliant book! Incredibly well researched, well presented, well argued, persuasive. It does help that I already agree with the philosophy presented - the current obesity epidemic started at the same time that we changed our diet advice away from 'starches are fattening' to 'base your meals on starchy foods'. Every dietician should be forced to read this and then explain how they plan to change their current advice in the light of the evidence presented.

ONE CAUTION: You don't need both "The Diet Delusion" and "Good Calories Bad Calories". They are the same book - the first for the UK and the second for the US. Having said that, I don't mind having a spare of this ground breaking epic. Go Gary Go!
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let down by his UK publishers...., 7 Feb 2009
By 
M. W. Ellwood "mwellwood" (Abingdon, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Diet Delusion (Paperback)
Of course this is still a great book, but why did the UK paperback version not include the interesting 8 page "afterword" that the US paperback edition (published under its original title of "Good Calories, Bad Calories") did? The implication is that it is also not as up to date as the US version - it is also printed on smaller sized and slightly less good quality paper.

Having said all that, it is still a fantastically good read.

It is just a pity that this excellent author is not served as well as he could be by his UK publishers.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifechanging, 19 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Diet Delusion (Paperback)
This book was a revelation to me. It is factually dense and took me longer than normal to read.

I have always felt that goverment policy with regard to food went against common sense, but I am a conventional person and found it hard to question conventional wisdom. This book sets out to investigate all the nutritional scientific studies made in the last 150 years. It becomes apparent that the basis for the US Government's food policy on fat and carbohydrates lacks rigour. It is influenced by one charismatic man and his disciples and is factually incorrect. In parallel the book discusses human nutritional requirements that are actually supported by numerous scientific nutritional studies.

I recommend it to anyone who cares about their health and refuses to kowtow to the food industry.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insufficient Superlatives, 22 July 2008
Thank you, Mr Taubes, for presenting a critical analysis of the evidence published so far, for although my own researches had drawn me to similar conclusions as your own, you have argued the case more eloquently, thoroughly, and accurately than I can.

The only distressing aspect about reading this book is that if one has to deal subsequently with so-called professionals and experts - such as my wife's 'diabetes team' - one discovers what Mr Taubes illustrates so well, namely that most of them appear to be blissfully ignorant of either the historical facts or the latest research.

I could write at some length extolling the value of this book, but other commentators have done the job for me. Apart from which, I doubt that I could find sufficient superlatives to do Mr Taubes justice.

Suffice to say, for anyone who is suffering from a chronic, life threatening disease, such as Type II diabetes, I cannot stress enough that reading this book will be of more benefit to you than the advice you are likely to receive from your medical team, since they are still pushing the high-carb, low fat and low-protein diet that they know simply does not work for over 95% of their patients. Any other so-called 'scientist' who persisted in performing the same unchanged experiment that had proved itself to have only a 5% success rate (with a better than 95% confidence limit), yet proclaimed that this was the 'answer' to the problem, would have his claims dismissed out of hand.

Take control of your life. Read this book so that you can defend yourself from the ignorance, prejudice and political bias you will undoubtedly encounter from the medical establishment when it comes to dealing with your diabetes and its complications. After all, it's not their life they are jeopardising, it's yours.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Science that Underlies the Accepted Diet Wisdom, 27 Feb 2008
By 
Have you ever wondered about the advice on healthy eating we get?
First it was, Cholesterol is deadly, no eggs! Then it was, You only have to avoid the bad cholesterol. And finally it became, Actually, dietary cholesterol isn't really the problem: dietary fat is the problem.

First it was, margarine is healthier than butter. Then it was, Ermm, actually, guys, butter is healthier than margarine.

Have you ever wondered about the healthy diets we've been told to go on? The ones you've watched your overweight colleagues, friends or lover struggle with, to no avail? We all know they don't work. Even the authorities that recommend them admit they don't work.

Why is it that when the standard low-fat, restricted-calorie diets don't work -- and they almost never do --, it's politically incorrect to question the efficacy of the diet? It's always, the dieter is to blame; they lack willpower, they cheat, they're just plain lazy and gluttonous. And this, even when you can not lose weight on a diet that your lean friends would call meagre, and you're hungry and tired much of the day?

Have you ever wondered if the scientific foundation on which all these perpetually shifting and retreating and ineffective recommendations were made wasn't all that sound to begin with?

So, OK, I admit, I was already prepared to believe that there was something not quite right about the current dogma for low-fat diets with lots of exercise being the only way to lose weight. I followed this advice myself for much of my adult life, and, being fortunately lean, guess what? it worked, for me. But not for many other people. You might say I came to this book with an open mind.

I was not prepared for the revelations in this book. About how there are no large-scale epidemiological studies underlying the standard recommendations (and never will be because it would cost billions to do it properly). About how some of the science is not only dodgy but dreadful. About how some key recommendations rest on tiny studies. About how even the well-conducted studies support more than one hypothesis. About the large and well-conducted dietary studies that were quietly filed away because they failed to confirm earlier, smaller, less rigorous ones.

I urge you to read this book. It is not always easy going, because despite the author's narrative skill there is a lot of science to be explained. It is not a rant or a polemic, and so there is little rhetoric to get carried away by. In the interests of evenhandedness, Mr Taubes relegates some of his keenest barbs to footnotes, as when he cites an American Medical Association critique of a low-carb, unrestricted-calorie diet (despite the fact that it worked) as having the "untoward side-effect" that the subjects weren't hungry. Even then, he doesn't call this critique perverse or bizarre: simply 'peculiar'.

I am married to a hobby-chef who cooks virtually everything from scratch. No tins, no frozen food, no packages of MSG-laden powder. We know with clarity what is in the food that we eat. When she started putting on weight at a rate of a kilogram (over 2 pounds) a month, she went to her GP. Fortunately, we live in The Hague, and not in New York, so she was referred to a European-trained endocrinologist, who diagnosed the weight gain as a metabolic problem, not an addiction to fatty foods. But in the accepted public-health wisdom, as Mr Taubes explains, unexplained weight gain is not a metabolic problem, but a failure of willpower. Biochemists and endocrinologists know better. In the US, they also know better than to say so in public.

It is very possible that the medical and public-health establishment will succeed in burying this book, just as they have succeeded in burying books with a similar message over the past 40 years. These books weren't perfect: they got sometimes important details of the science wrong (as we now understand it); just as there may be details of the science in Mr Taubes's book that in the future turn out to be wrong. Mr Taubes is a scientific journalist, not a scientist. He reports the science as it is known, he draws attention to where he consciously oversimplifies, and he quite clearly knows about the issues he writes about.

This book should earn him a doctorate: it is a masterful tour of a century-plus of science, and in its way as least as impressive as the PhD dissertations and journal articles he so clearly (and sometimes ruthlessly) describes.

I don't agree with another reviewer who says that this book ought to earn its author a Nobel prize. Nobel prizes are for new discoveries. Mr Taubes describes biochemistry that, however groundbreaking in its day, is no longer controversial: it's textbook stuff. Only problem is, it's texbook stuff for biochemists, and the public-health gurus haven't got around to reading it.

So, a Nobel prize, no. A Pulitzer prize, though: that's another matter entirely.

Please read this book, if you struggle with your weight. Once you've read it, you'll at least be able to make a rational decision about what body of diet dogma to believe.

Please read this book, if you don't struggle with your weight. It may help you to understand what someone you love, who is overweight, has to go through.

Especially please read this book if reviews have predisposed you to believe that it's wrong. Before you swallow the criticism, ask yourself if you believe the critics have studied the literature as deeply as Mr Taubes has.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a very comprehensive, well-balanced book; it deserves to be taken seriously., 6 Feb 2008
By 
M. W. Ellwood "mwellwood" (Abingdon, GB) - See all my reviews
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Gary Taubes is not a dietician or a medical doctor, but a journalist with a science background. He has a solid track record of serious, scientific journalism.

I had seen some of the publicity surrounding the publication of what I take it must be the American version of this book ("Good Calories, Bad Calories"), and also have read some of his articles in the quality press and on the web. I liked his articles, but based on the reaction to his U.S. book, I did wonder whether this one would be either a polemic, or possibly, well, a bit dull.

In fact it is neither, but is a solidly, good read. Sure it's quite long, but then it covers many years and a lot of material. If you really want to know the history, background and facts of "dieting", this is an excellent place to start.

If I could give it six stars I would.
Regards,
M.

p.s. Updated to respond to Tiger Lily's comments: Sorry to disagree with your analysis, but I believe GT when he says he didn't have preconceived
ideas. As for the EPIC study, even websites which are sympathetic to it
only seem to say that it might be suggestive of certain conclusions,
rather than definitive. This study on the other hand seemed to find no benefits in "healthy" diets:
[...]

Good luck to you on your vegan diet. It's very hard to get all the nutrients you need that way.

M.
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The Diet Delusion by Gary Taubes (Paperback - 1 Jan 2009)
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