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on 1 March 2010
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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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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on 28 January 2013
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. I'm not entirely convinced that it was necessary to do in order for Taubes to effectively make his argument.

The second is the lack of illustrations. Taubes is often describing complex biochemistry. While he is a fantastic writer and his descriptions are always clear, he often spends several pages describing a process that could have been made clear with a one page illustration.

Those are both somewhat minor issues and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone with an interest in nutrition.
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on 22 November 2008
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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on 5 April 2009
OMG!! As a mother of a child with type 1 diabetes, this book was on the must read list!! It has made me realise the 'science' behind low fat diets is questionable, to say the least, and that the fad around low carb diets is political. Eat healthily, eat fewer refined carbs and as much natural fat as you like. Her diabetic control has never been better. GET THIS BOOK!
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on 23 October 2008
Garry Taubes' Good Calories Bad Calories (GCBC), also know as the Diet Delusion in the UK, is a brilliant book that promotes what Dr Atkins and others have been saying for decades. Taubes does not deserve a Nobel Prize for this work, however, as one ignoramus suggests, because Garry has simply picked up the baton from Dr Atkins. For proof of this, and for a flavour of Garry's brilliant writing style, you can Google for Garry's infamous article, titled 'What if it's all been a big fat lie?', published in the New York Times, in 2002. You will see that Garry is strong defender of the brilliant Dr Atkins (rip.)

GCBC is filled with masses of scientific evidence that will shock you into giving up breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit-juice and sugar-laden junk etc. It is a fascinating read that will change you forever -- and it will most likely add years to your life expectancy too! Do yourself and your family a big favour.


PS: I have been following a low-carb diet for more than 10 years now. In January 2008, aged 41, I had a full medical and full-body-scan (CT) -- my mid-life MOT I guess. And the result? I have an exceptional health profile for my age and the CT scan revealed no arterial plaque at all! Saturated Fat is bad for you? Bla! I am one of the healthiest specimens they've tested!
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on 4 May 2008
I had never had a problem with diet until I tried to assist an obese friend who was ordered to address the overweight or suffer the consequences, (loss of job, diabetes, death etc..) Under the supposed guidance of a medically trained nutritionist I changed our diets to what is generally referred to as a low GI diet. Never overweight myself, we both lost weight. My friend lost 85lbs and I fell to a weight barely in the safe range of low weight. I was constantly hungry and felt weak despite working out at the gym and other strength building activity. I even started to become sensitive to some of the 'good' foods that form part of this regime (in particular oily fish, oats, certain fruits and muesli). I knew something was wrong when I couldn't face my meals - despite raging hunger. I then went through a phase of binging on cakes and sweets - I put on weight rapidly and was still ravenous. Why had I of all people suddenly grown fat? I read Gary Taubes's book very carefully. He nails the problem perfectly. In doing so he is very even handed and appears not to take sides. If you pay attention however, the best diet advice is there. Just remember the name Banting and you can't go wrong. A brilliant resource for anyone prepared to take the time to digest it.
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on 20 November 2007
This is probably the most useful book on the impact of diet on health you'll ever read. Partly because Taubes succinctly overviews the diet-heart controversy, and partly because, generally, he manages to explain to the layman the research and its implications. The great value for me was his development of the alternative theory to the saturated fat/cholesterol hypothesis dominant now since the 1960s. Although the alternative carbohydrate hypothesis is not new, Taubes interviews scientists and their reviews the research since the 1950s to the present, showing how the specialists that are studying blood components in relation to the major diseases - cardiovascular, obesity and diabetes - demonstrate that by far the best predictors of any of these "diseases of civilisation" are certain fractions of blood lipoproteins and fats known as triglycerides - not cholesterol or total LDL (demonised in popular health policy statements). Guest what? These "VLDLs" and triglycerides are only produced in quantities associated with disease through a high carb low fat diet.... the very diet that the "experts" tell to use.
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on 8 August 2010
Great book! Quite chunky but a good read.its good to see the food industry from a different perspective too. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's serious about nutrition.
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on 6 June 2014
I would recommend this book without hesitation for all those with an interest in diet and food related issues. It reads more like an academic text than most books on the subject, which is a refreshing change. This is amongst the most intelligent of books on the market - and in reality i can't recommend it highly enough.
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